We’ve become so accustomed to buying household goods at the store, we are often unaware that it’s entirely possible
to make them ourselves at home. An eco-friendly, non-biological laundry detergent that you can use in your washing machine is a good example, and perfect for a green home. It’s so simple you’ll wonder why you’ve never thought of it before. Powdered laundry detergent is the best choice since it’s more compact to store.
Making your own laundry detergent has several advantages. You know what you’re getting and can adjust ingredients according to your personal preferences, such as fragrance. The basic ingredients for laundry detergent are simply soap, washing soda and borax. By buying these separately and combining them yourself you can save money on your laundry and cut out the additives that manufacturers include.
A particularly problematic additive in commercially produced detergents is sodium triphosphate, used to soften water. It can make up as much as fifty percent of store bought detergents and is known to cause environmental problems, especially eutrophication (unnatural enrichment). Your own eco-friendly version is a great improvement.
Borax and washing soda are chemicals, but they are safe to work with and require no particular precautions against hazards. Getting the right soap is key. The kind you need is the type marketed as laundry soap (or laundry bar). You don’t want soap that makes lots of suds so make sure you’ve got the right type. You can also use hypoallergenic and unfragranced soaps like Pure and Natural. If you make your own natural soap then you can just use that. Simply grate it up coarsely, using a cheese grater, so you have a pile of shavings or flakes.
With your ingredients all lined up, all you have to do is mix them together in the right proportions. Combine the shavings of one 4.5 ounce bar of soap, 1 cup of borax and 1 cup of washing soda and you’re almost done. To get the right powdery texture all you need to do is keep stirring it for a few minutes until the consistency is right – in a nutshell, just like the washing powder you’re used to. Store in a dry container with a well fitting lid.
It really is this simple. It’s safe for front-loading washing machines, and doesn’t produce too many suds or damage the environment. It’s also suitable if you use septic tanks for water disposal. Use a tablespoonful for an average, medium soiled laundry load, or double up for more heavily stained items. Remember that a lot of the work in washing laundry is done through the movement of water through fabric and the rinsing effect, not the quantity of soap.
For eco-friendly detergent for use in your green home, DIY laundry powder is the smart and economical way to go.