I always wonder what this world would be like if we didn't have to wear clothes.
Did I make you spit up your morning coffee? Sorry.
Seriously, can you imagine all the clothing related industries that would become obsolete if we were allowed to run around with our birthday suits on?
I say this to my daughter every time I iron her khakis, and she'd plug her ears with her index fingers and shouts, "La la la la la...", as she runs away.
But, really, if we didn't wear clothes, the fashion industry, of course, would be obsolete. There would be no pollution related to clothing manufacturing!
We wouldn't need to buy iron and ironing board.
...and you know how much I hate ironing - more than scrubbing toilets!
We wouldn't need dry cleaners...we wouldn't need dressers or armoires...we wouldn't need luggage to pack clothes when we travel...no hangers...
And no laundry detergents and all the other related laundry products. And imagine all the energy we'd save for NOT washing clothes. We consume up to 35% in energy using washer/dryer.
B U T ...
I can dream, right?
Well, I guess I have to stop day-dreaming and do some laundry. And iron. Grrrr....and *Sigh*
But you know what? As long as I have to do laundry, I decided that I am going to make my own, well, not really make, but come up with my own non-toxic laundry detergent recipe. Actually, this formula is nothing new. There are a ton of recipes like this on the web and I tried many variations and in different methods but this formula seems to work best for me.
Non-Toxic and Cheap Homemade Laundry Detergent
My front loader has a drawer that has four compartments: Prewash, Wash, Bleach, Fabric Softener, and Bleach. I put my powder mixture in the "Wash" compartment. I never use bleach so "Bleach" compartment never gets used. To make the laundry smell nice, I use about ½ TBSP. of Dr. Bonner's Rose Castile liquid soap in the "PreWash" compartment because I don't want to make the powder ingredients get all clumpy and get stuck to the drawer.
*For convenience sake, I scoop out the following and store in separate containers for use.
- 1 Cup of Borax Natural Laundry Booster
- 1 Cup of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
- One bar of grated Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castile Bar Soap or Fels Naptha Laundry soap. Castile soap is a little more expensive but it's vegan and organic; Fels Naptha is not. I heard some people use Ivory Soap too but that's also not vegan. If you want to use other types of soap, just make sure it's SOAP and not a CLEANSER like Dove.
*White Distilled Vinegar - ½ C per load (see Where do I put all this stuff section)
*Dr. Bonner's Castile Liquid Soap - ½ tablespoon (see Where do I put all this stuff section)
Directions on some websites say mix all three and use 1 tablespoon of the mixture per load. However, I found it hard to know if Borax and Washing Soda were thoroughly mixed. Also, when I added grated Fels-Naptha soap to the mixture, it stayed on top and I couldn't really get to the rest of the powder.
So, while it might sound like it's inconvenient, I use ½ tablespoon each of Borax, Arm & Hammer Washing Soda, grated soap, Castile Liquid Soap for one load of wash. That way, I know for sure I'm using all the ingredients in my wash.
And this formula is good for High Efficiency front loading washer too. Not only is this recipe cheaper than commercial detergent, it also cleans my front loading washing machine. Remember I posted a while ago how I had to 'clean' my washing machine because it smells like mildew? Since I've been using this powder formula, it smells less and I think it's cleaning the drum much better than the liquid detergents I used to use. It's so much better than the plant-based, non-toxic, fragrant free, phosphate-free detergents I used to use. The fragrant-free detergent was gentle on the skin but it didn't make my laundry smell fresh, especially when my wash machine started to smell mildewy. And using the Castile Liquid Soap and White Vinegar make my laundry fresh so I don't even need a fabric softener.
Where do I put all this stuff?
My front loader has a drawer that has four compartments: Prewash, Wash, Bleach, Fabric Softener, and Bleach. I put my powder mixture in the "Wash" compartment. I never use bleach so "Bleach" compartment never gets used. To make the laundry smell nice, I use about ½ TBSP. of Dr. Bonner's Rose Castile liquid soap in the "PreWash" compartment because I don't want to make the powder all clumpy. And I use ½ C of White Vinegar as a fabric softener in the "Fabric Softener" compartment. But your machine can be differently configured so you'll have to decide what to add to which compartment. Also, if you have hard water, you should use more vinegar.
So, as long as we have to wear clothes, I am glad I found this safe detergent formula to wash my clothes with. Oh, and to make my clothes even more pretty, I use these dryer balls I made out of orphaned socks. Can you spell fresh + pretty?
Now, only if I can come up with ways for me NOT to iron...
If you are sensitive to Borax, you can check out my "Borax-Free Laundry Detergent Formula" ---> here.
Forgive me for being an idiot. I should have put this cost analysis in the post. I don't know why I forgot to do that. But here is why this homemade detergent is cheaper than the commercial brands.
Ecover Laundry Detergent that I used to use was 100 liquid oz. I used to pay around $18 ~ $19 for 40 loads. So that equals 45 cents per load.
This homemade recipe costs as follows:
1 Box of Borax - ~ $4.99
1 Box of Arm and Hammer Washing Soda - ~ $4.86 - $8.99 (depending on where you buy it. I bought mine for $4.99. Or you can make your own!)
3 Fels Naptha Soap or Castile Bar Soap - ~ $4.50 (although my supermarket sells it for $4.19)
Total Cost = ~ $15 - $19
The above formula makes about 150 oz of detergent. And if you use 1.5 oz of combined powder you'll be able to do at least 100 loads of detergent.
So that means, even if the total cost is $19, you'll spend 19 cents per load.....less than half of any non-toxic commercial laundry detergent.
I'd say, that's cheap. Don't you?