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Laundry detergent is one of the first zero waste/eco-friendly swaps I made. I was 19 when I made my first batch and I haven’t used anything else since. I started making it as a way to avoid chemicals, but turns out this recipe is great for saving money and avoiding plastic waste as well.
I have very sensitive and dry skin, even water can irritate my skin, but I’ve never had any issues with this recipe. My son is seven and his clothes have been washed with this since he was 3, he never showed signs of skin irritation either. There are MANY recipes out there for DIY laundry detergent, but this is the one I use.
- Washing Soda, 3lb box. $4.12
- Baking Soda, 2lb box. $2.48
- 2 Dr. Bronner’s scented bar soap $4.99 (any bar soap will do)
- Oxyclean 48oz tub. $4.69 (optional)
- Container to hold detergent, one time buy.
Making the detergent
- Grate up your bar of soap. I recommend grabbing a bowl and your not so favorite cheese grater and watching tv while doing this. It will take some time.
- Pour all of your ingredients into a large bowl or other container and mix.
- Start washing clothes!
I prefer using Dr. Bronner’s because they only use organic ingredients. This soap can be found on Amazon and at natural health stores. If you purchase from the Dr. Bronner’s website each bar is only $4.69, but shipping usually makes up for the difference. There are multiple scents. Right now I only use lavender, but you can be creative with scent combinations.
I HIGHLY recommend buying the washing and baking soda at Walmart. It is much cheaper than what you will find on Amazon. I try to apply zero waste to every aspect of my life, including the money I spend.
I no longer use the Oxyclean to avoid the plastic container and my clothes are still just as clean without it. The boxes from the washing soda and baking soda can be recycled. I shred them and put them in my compost, but sadly the soap paper has to be thrown away.
You really don’t need as much as you think when washing clothes. That is how the commercial detergents can be so wasteful, using the lid for measuring can be quite deceiving. I use about ⅛ c for each load, ¼ c if the clothes are really dirty.
I know some times there are set in stains that a normal wash just can’t seem to take care of, so here is a great stain remover recipe to help out.
Non-toxic Stain Remover
- 1 tbsp dish soap or Dr. Bronner’s
- 1 tbsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp hydrogen peroxide
Simply mix up your ingredients and apply directly to the stain with a toothbrush and scrub.