Friday, March 11, 2011

*guest post* Homemade Laundry Detergent

Homemade Laundry Detergent


The laundry soap industry has made laundry mysterious. We laundry-doers wander wide-eyed down colorful aisles beholding seventeen thousand different brands (okay, maybe not that many) of laundry detergents, all containing six thousand (okay, maybe not that many) ingredients, most of which we don’t recognize and can’t pronounce.

The truth is that laundry is simple. Laundry detergent can be simple too, and it can be gentle on our clothes, skin, and planet.

The absolute simplest way to make your own laundry soap is to grate a bar of soap that you are comfortable with. This can be any soap, though most people use all-natural, fragrance free soaps, like the ones you find at your health food store. You can do this grating in a food processor, or by hand. Once you have shredded soap, you can mix it with Borax and washing soda in three equal parts. That’s it! (I told you it was simple.)

Borax is just one brand of sodium bromate, a compound that softens water while it helps to whiten and deodorize clothes. Washing soda is another name for sodium carbonate, a compound that helps the detergent get distributed evenly throughout the wash. It also helps dissolve stains and deodorize. Both Borax and washing soda (also called soda ash) can be found in the laundry aisle in large supermarkets and in most health food stores.

If you want to get a little fancier, you can add some coconut oil to the mix. Coconut oil is a fantastic degreaser. I also like to add essential oils. Orange essential oil helps remove stains, and if you or someone in your family suffers from allergies, try adding a few drops of eucalyptus oil to your laundry detergent.

Now, once you’ve added all of these oils, you’ll find that you’re dry powdered detergent isn’t so dry anymore. If this is a problem for you, add some clay powder, which will absorb the oils and help them to be evenly distributed throughout the detergent.

Another tip is to add a half cup of white vinegar to each load of laundry. It works as a fabric softener, helps prevent buildup on your clothes, and helps keep your washing machine clean!

That’s it. Too simple right? My clothes always come out clean, and my pocketbook is delighted. I’ve saved hundreds of dollars simply by making laundry less mysterious.



Robin Merrill is a freelance writer who can usually be found blogging at uBaby, a website dedicated to helping every woman enjoy a happy and healthy pregnancy.







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