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By Jill York, Contributing Writer

The typical store-bought laundry detergent may leave your clothes smelling clean and fresh, but most of them also leave a toxic residue that can contribute to serious health problems.  

 Let’s look at some of the ingredients and their side effects in common laundry detergents.

  • Linear alkyl sodium sulfonates {LAS} – skin and eye irritant
  • Petroleum distillates (also called naphthas) – linked to cancer and lung damage
  • Nonylphenol ethoxylate – hormone disruptor
  • Quaternium-15 – releases formaldehyde, which is a known cancer-causing chemical.  This chemical also causes rashes and inflammation
  • Diethanolamine - can cause liver and kidney tumors, irritates the skin and eyes, and linked to developmental and reproductive toxicity
  • Artificial fragrances – irritates the skin and eyes, and many fragrances are linked to possible cancer
With cancer and many other health problems on the rise, it’s important to remove as many toxic chemicals from our lives that we can.  One way we can do this is by making our own laundry soaps!  The recipe I use costs me about $2 a month to make.  I prefer to use the liquid because the powdered detergent can have a hard dissolving in cold water washes.  I have included instructions for the powdered version also.

Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent:

Ingredients:

1 Bar of Fels Naptha Soap {or a handmade soap}
1 Cup of Arm and Hammer Washing Soda (not baking soda :) )
1/2 Cup of Borax
Hot Water

 Directions:

  1. Place at least 4 cups of hot water in a sauce pan and grate the bar of soap into it.
  2. Stir over medium high heat until the soap dissolves.
  3. Fill a 5-gallon bucket half full with hot water.
  4. Add melted soap mixture, washing soda and borax.
  5. Stir well until powder is dissolved.
  6. Fill to the top with hot water.  Let it sit overnight to thicken.
  7. I use 1 cup of liquid soap for an extra large load.  Washers hold different capacities, so experiment and adjust the amount for your washer.

Homemade Powdered Laundry Detergent

Ingredients

1 Cup Fels Naptha Grated Soap or handmade soap
1 Cup Washing Soda
1/2 Cup Borax

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients together and store in an airtight container.
  2. For each load of laundry use 1 TBS to the water.  If clothes are extremely dirty you can add a second TBS.

If you are not a DIY person, there are safer buying options you can purchase.  You can find these online or at a local health food store.

Method - plant-based laundry products

Seventh Generation - non-toxic, biodegradable

GreenShield  – certified organic

Eco Nuts - organic soap nuts

Do You Make Your Own Cleaning Products?

Source:
Mother Living Earth

This is the writings of:

Jill
Jill is a certified family herbalist, a child of God and a homeschool mother of 4. She is passionate about teaching others how to make and use natural remedies from the comfort of their home. You can find her blogging at Jill’s Home Remedies and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

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12 Comments

  1. I’ve been hearing lately that Borax actually does pretty poorly according to the database thing that rates stuff like that (skin deep? environmental working group? – you know…..the database….thing…..). I know it’s a traditional laundry booster, but is _it_ safe?

    Reply

    • Melissa,
      You are right that Borax doesn’t have a high rating with EWG. I do believe that it’s safer than the highly toxic detergents at the store though. Some of the “greener” detergents have questionable ingredients as well – these are great things to consider :)

      Reply

  2. Can this be used on cloth diapers?

    Reply

    • Susan,
      I’ve heard some say that the borax may be hard on elastic over an extended period of time, but I also have a blogging friend, Stephanie, {www.thecheapskatecook.com} who says she’s used it for 3 years with good results.

      Reply

  3. Does this work with hard water? I’ve got major repelling issues with my cloth diapers, and I’ve read that its because the hard water doesn’t allow the detergent to rinse clean. I’m looking for calgon to add to the water but I live in a remote area and haven’t found it. Any suggestions?

    Reply

  4. Have you used these for cloth diapers, have you experienced any build up or wear of elastic?

    Reply

    • Leslie,
      I have people tell me that they’ve used it fine with cloth diapers and others say that over an extended time it can wear on the plastic.

      Reply

  5. [...] Laundry Detergent — I like my soap nuts a lot,  so I see no reason to do something new!  Since everyone's water is different, homemade detergent may be a good option for you. [...]

    Reply

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