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Making Small Changes

May 27, 2010

When S. Geek and I make decisions about our house we try our best to take into account what our decision will do to or for our planet.  We believe that in order to teach our children to care about the environment we have to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.  Of course some things make bigger impacts than others but in my mind every little thing counts.  One little thing that we’ve recently switched is our laundry detergent!  I figure I do 8 or 9 loads of laundry a week, and while we always buy the dye free, perfume free, whatever free bottles there are still lots of terrible things we are letting go down our drain every day into our water supply.  Not to mention the cost involved in using this detergent, HOLY MOLY!  So my alternative started at a simple google search for ‘Make your own HE washing detergent’ and I found lots of different recipes out there and after some additional reading and some figuring in my head I found a recipe that I was happy with and that does a super job cleaning our clothes!

I looked everywhere I could think of for fels naptha bars but couldn’t find it anywhere but I found several sites that suggested using sunlight laundry bars instead which our local walmart carried.  So start by finely grating 3 sunlight laundry bars.

Make sure you use an airtight container, I'm using an old cholrine bucket.

Then add in 3 cups Borax and three cups of Arm and Hammer Washing Soda.

all mixed together, ready to go!

Mix well and use 1/4 cup in each wash for your HE machine.  I think the next time I make it I’m going to add in some scents, I’ve got eucalyptus already upstairs but I’m thinking lavender or mint would be nice too.  Make sure you give the container a good shake before you use it because I’ve noticed the soap flakes tend to settle at the bottom.  Also for the really tough stains this won’t be as effective as your traditional detergent.  But, add in a bit of the oxyclean powder (which is really just washing soda and a hydrogen peroxide) or do a pretreatment.  Nay had some really nasty chocolate stains on his white t-shirt and after an initial wash that left it still a bit dingy I rewashed with the oxyclean and line dried and poof!  Chocolate stains no more!!  Oh, and if you like to use fabric softner, try switching to just plain vinegar!  I switched over months ago and couldn’t be happier, even the line dried jeans and towels feel nice!

Have any of you tried your own detergent, share your recipes!!


3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 28, 2010 4:01 am

    Hi! I’m stopping by from The Girl Creative. I buy the detergent that’s dye free etc and haven’t considered making my own before. I’ll have to look into that now! I toured the HGTV Green Home recently and have a few posts about it. If you’re interested, you’re welcome to come by.

    Enjoy the weekend!


  2. May 28, 2010 1:18 pm

    That’s really interesting. Can you share any links on how the sunlight bars are more environmentally friendly than the enzyme free, etc. free HE stuff? or is it that you’re using less? i always use half the recommended amount of detergent, which is something you learn about washing cloth diapers. i use 2 tablespoons for a whole load of diapers, and then wash them again with no soap and you should see the soap suds!

    be careful with the oils and your diapers, too much can cause build up. i use lavender in the fabric softener dispenser for our towels and sheets (when i think of it!) and that works well.

    i’m super interested in learning more if you have some links. laundry detergent is awful, they don’t list the ingredients and they change the formulas all the time. plus they ‘clean’ by adding stuff to your clothes, like optical brighteners to reflect light. yuck! and i am allergic to so many things, it’s scary that they can just change the ingredients without having to tell you, never mind telling you what’s in there in the first place.

  3. May 28, 2010 7:04 pm

    Good for you! I made our own detergent for awhile but I’ve been lazy lately. You’ve re-inspired me to get back to it! I ordered my Fels Naptha bars on Amazon. I used this “recipe” for mine:

    Found you at This Girl Creative and am now following! Come by and check me out when you have a chance! Have a great holiday weekend!

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