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safe homemade laundry products


The ingredients in laundry our products certainly mean that our clothes are beautifully clean and fresh smelling but they could be making us chronically ill. Fortunaltely, you can make your own laundry products using natural ingredients.

image by polina kovalena at pexels

ingredients you'll need


Spray bottles: Store your products in unused, clean containers and make sure to label them. Never use bottles that once held chemicals.


Sodium carbonate (washing soda)

Sodium bicarbonate (baking Soda)

Magnesium sulphate (epsom salts)

Sodium chloride (unrefined salt)

Baking soda is a natural deodorizer that works best on proteins, grease, and animal messes. Since it's only slightly abrasive you can scour surfaces without fear of scratching.


Distilled white vinegar is great for coffee, tea, and rust stains. Don’t use it for cooking because it has a high acidic content, and never use it on stone surfaces, cast iron, aluminum, or waxed surfaces because the acid content will etch, pit, and strip these surfaces.


Hydrogen peroxide is a more eco-friendly alternative to chlorine bleach.

laundry detergent

According to Natalie Wise all modern-day washing machines are designed to use detergents and not soap. Unfortunately, making detergents involves some complex chemistry that can’t be done at home. Now, there are many recipes for homemade laundry soap on the Internet, but they are recipes for soap … not detergent. And there’s a big difference. Soap is made from fat, so over time it will become trapped between the fibres of your clothes making them scummy. You need a detergent, not a soap. Fortunately, there are two natural alternatives:


soap nuts

Soap nuts or soap berries are nature’s answer to doing laundry. When activated by water they give off a soap-like secretion that is gentle on the skin, antimicrobial, and cleans clothes wonderfully. Soap nuts are a bit expensive, but you can use them for multiple loads of laundry. To use place 5 or 6 nuts in a small muslin bag and zip it closed. Throw the bag into your washing machine along with the laundry. When the laundry is done, hang the bag to drip-dry, and reuse a few times until the shells of the nuts turn gray.


Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds is a biodegradable cleaner that is effective in hot and cold water, and you only need two tablespoons, undiluted, for an average size load of laundry. Technically the difference between a soap and a detergent is that soap is made from a fat or oil while a detergent is made from a surfactant (surface-active agent). As the name implies, surfactants stir up activity on the surface you are cleaning to help trap dirt and remove it from the surface. Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds is a detergent because it contains the surfactant known as sodium lauryl sulfate. This is a milder and less synthetic version of sodium laureth sulfate, so it’s safe to use for most people. 


molly's suds

After researching detergent formulas I found one that is easy to make and doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals. It’s based off Molly’s Suds washing power which is often rated as an effective eco-friendly and people-safe detergent. It’s a safe bet for babies and people with chemical sensitivities.


Sodium carbonate (washing soda)

Sodium bicarbonate (baking Soda)

Magnesium sulphate (epsom salts)

Sodium chloride (unrefined salt)

Stain remover: Mix 8 parts hydrogen peroxide, 4 parts castle soap, and 1 part baking soda. Pour into a spray bottle. Spray on the stain and let sit for a few minutes before scrubbing with a rag, brush, or old toothbrush. Let dry, then wash the item with the regular laundry.

lemon and clove powdered laundry soap

This soap only takes a few minutes to make but it yields a whole canister full of great-smelling natural detergent that can last for months. It’s natural, it fully dissolves, and it’s safe in a high efficiency (HE) washer. Rapinchuk says she rarely pretreat stains because this formula gets everything out. Makes about 96 loads


1 5-ounce bar castile soap

2 cups borax

2 cups washing soda

1 cup baking soda

20 drops lemon essential oil 

10 drops clove essential oil


Grate the soap finely. If you don’t have time to grate by hand cut the soap into chunks and grate in your food processor instead. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until they are completely combined. If you want nice smelling laundry add the essential oils but if you are sensitive to essential oils you can leave them out. 


Use 1 tablespoon for HE machines or 2 tablespoons for regular machines. Add 1 tablespoon of oxygen bleach paste or powder to any load that needs a little extra stain fighting or whitening. Store in an airtight container, about 1-gallon size, for up to 3 months.


Adapted from The Organically Clean Home by Becky Rapinchuk

fabric softener


white vinegar fabric softener

White vinegar makes a great fabric softener because it contains acetic acid, which dissolves dirt and grime from fabrics. It also has antibacterial properties, which means that it can kill off germs without damaging your clothing. This makes vinegar an excellent choice for people who are sensitive to harsh chemicals.


Add ¼ - ½ cup of vinegar to the fabric softener dispenser. Vinegar is very acidic so if you add too much it could break down the fibers of the fabric causing them to look faded and worn out.


If your washing machine doesn’t have a fabric softener dispenser don’t just dump the vinegar directly on your clothes because it can cause some damage. Dilute ¼ cup vinegar into 4 cups of water and pour into the washing machine during the rinse cycle. 


baking soda fabric softener

Baking soda works well as a fabric softener because it regulates pH levels in the washing machine thus preventing the load from being either too acidic or alkaline. Simply add ½ cup of baking soda into your washing machine while it is on the rinse cycle. That’s it.


epsom salt and baking soda fabric softener

Mix ½ cup of baking soda and 2 cups of Epsom salt together and then pour the mixture in an empty container. Add 1 tablespoon to your machine.

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