I started using natural laundry detergent 4 years ago. At first I was really skeptical of its proclaimed cleaning ability, especially since there were no bubbles. I mean, its common knowledge that if you want to make something really clean you have to create bubbles, right? Wrong. After a bit of research I learned (chemical) foaming agents are added to conventional detergents (and shampoos) to make them sudsy. I’m sure some corporate bigwig or mad-chemist came up with this great marketing scheme for adding bubbles to products to entice the public to purchase them. Clearly, it worked. In all actuality, it’s the agitation of the fibers that really gets the dirt out; you could wash your clothing, sans detergent, and it would still end up pretty clean!
Natural Laundry Detergent
2 C washing soda (sodium carbonate)
2 C borax (sodium borate)
1 C baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
2 bars of natural soap, grated.
Combine all ingredients and store in a jar. You can add a few drops of essential oil as well. I’ve been trading with Libby, of Maylee’s Graden, for years; it was her vegan soap that got me hooked in the first place! I’ve been using the above recipe for the past 3 years. You don’t need to add much; I use two scoops, which is probably 2 Tbsp per load. Obviously, I’m not a coal miner, so in reality, how dirty can my clothes get? I do wash my *garden grubbies* separately though, and that load sometimes gets an extra scoop depending on how much dirt I’ve been crawling around in!
As far as fabric softeners go, adding 1/2 cup of white vinegar and a few drops of lavender essential oil (my favorite and it’s antibacterial) to the rinse cycle is all it takes! The vinegar smell will disappear once the laundry is dry, it even makes line-dried towels softer! And since we are on the topic of laundry and chemicals, may I suggest checking out nontoxic.com. My friend gifted me a set of their dryer sheets about 6 years ago and I was instantly hooked! And yes, they really do stop static cling! They are a bit of an investment, so if you’re tight on funds I’ve heard similar results can be achieved by tossing in a piece of polly fabric in with your cottons and vice versa!