Typically – homemade laundry detergent isn’t the most popular solution for washing clothes.
This is probably because making homemade laundry detergent isn’t as easy as grabbing one of the 82 options available at the grocery store. And, frankly – the majority of people only associate the word “toxins” with hazardous chemicals such as formaldehyde, lead, and pesticides that are well known for wrecking havoc on the human body. So, why bother?
In reality, toxins are any substance that our body must detoxify – including everything from the caffeine in your cup of joe to laundry detergent you wash your clothes in.
In fact, modest estimates suggest we’re exposed to over 100,000 toxins regularly, which we absorb into our body through our skin, lunges, and mouth.
Sound impossible? A recent poll found that the average woman applies 515 synthetic chemicals on her skin each day. Many of these chemicals, which are slathered on in the form of deodorant, skin moisturizer and face wash have been shown to disrupt endocrine function, and have been linked to infertility, reproductive health and birth defects. 
Perhaps the most abundant source of synthetic chemicals are the ones we call “cleaners.” Most products we store under the kitchen sink are adorned with skull-and-crossbones worthy warning labels because they are poisonous if ingested or applied to the skin. Ingredients in common household cleaners have been linked to a number of health problems, including skin sensitivities, allergies, hormonal disturbances, infertility – and yes, even cancer.
That sounds like a lot of side effects in exchange for wiping the countertops.
In addition, there is no law that exists that requires cleaning companies to list ingredients or test their products for safety. The catch-all term of “fragrance” in your laundry detergent can be a combination of several hundred toxic chemicals alone.
If this just seems like a lot of bad news – never fear my friend. Simple, easy-to-make non-toxic recipes exist to keep your body, clothes, and household clean, and today – it starts with homemade laundry detergent.
Homemade Laundry Detergent
This homemade laundry detergent recipe uses four simple ingredients, and can be made in minutes. Because this is a very “low sud” detergent, it can be used for both regular and High Efficiency (HE) washing machines, saving you BIG money over high-priced “special” soaps that are sold for HE washers. (Note: I do not own an HE washing machine, so please test this out at your own discretion – and let me know about your experience in the comments!)
Process the bars of soap in a food processor until ground finely. (Note: You’ll want to cut the bars of soap into smaller .5″ pieces before doing so.) In a large bowl or directly into your storage container, add the ground soap, 4 cups borax, 4 cups washing soda, and 1/2 cup baking soda and mix well. If adding optional ingredient, add drops of essential oil before mixing. Store in a closed container. For each load, use 1-3 tablespoons per load depending on how soiled (or sweaty) your laundry is.
If you use cold water frequently for your cycles, I recommend allowing the water to fill the washer first, and adding detergent. Then, add clothes.
BONUS! For an even lighter toxic burden, use white vinegar in the rinse cycle instead of fabric softener.
The Cost Analysis
Purchasing through amazon, I pay the following price for the amount of ingredients in the recipe:
Washing Soda: $4.48
Dr. Bronner’s bar of soap: $3.50/each
Baking Soda: .78 cents
This is a total of $10.36 for my entire load. This recipe yields around 84 ounces, which comes to .06 per load (if using 1 tablespoon per load.) BOOYA!
If adding optional essential oils, it adds about a 1/4 cent per load.
Note: You can easily get all of these ingredients at your local grocery store for the same low-cost!
If you are concerned about the safety of Borax, read this. Please note, borax is not boric acid.
Want to see just exactly how many chemicals you’re coming into contact with in your home? I highly recommend trying out the interactive “Everyday Exposure” learning game. I had just a little too much fun with it for quite some time. (I mean come on, that dog though…)
I also recommend checking out the Environmental Working Group’s Healthy Cleaning Guide which you can use to search the products you have now – as well as find ones that are the safer option for your home.
I’d love to know – how did this homemade laundry detergent work for you? Let me know in the comments below!