Being Green and Squeaky Clean

Laundry Basket

I never thought I’d be the kind of person who makes her own Laundry powder; but I am. I’m at a point now where I don’t mind admitting it and I even tell people apropos of nothing, “Hello my name is Sarah and I make my own Laundry Powder.” You’d be surprised by the reactions I get; usually can I have your recipe? It seems that the Hippy-ness of embracing a green life style is now considered chic and well, rather sensible actually.

My reasons for making my own laundry powder are purely based on a desire to reduce the chemical load on my family. If I can limit the amount of harsh chemicals in the house then that can only be a Good Thing. It doesn’t take too long either – honest! My recipe is a mish mash of lots of different recipes found in magazines, books and the internet and they all contain all or a mixture of the following :

Soap: Cleanses
Washing soda or Soda ash: It’s a mineral that cleanses, fights grease and stains and softens water
Baking soda: Stain and odour remover
Citric acid: Water softener and colour brightener
Coarse salt: Colour stabilizer (helps prevent fading) and fabric softener.
Vinegar or salt – reduces soap sud build up in machine
Essential oil : lemon attacks stains and lavender is anti-bacterial

Dr Bronners Soap

I like to use Dr Bronner’s Liquid soap. It is made from organic extra virgin coconut, hemp, jojoba and olive oils and pure essential oils or unperfumed. You can use the solid bar soap and grate it but the liquid soap takes that extra effort away. If you can’t get hold of Dr Bronner’s then make sure your soap is a good quality pure soap. I discovered that Citric acid makes the powder clump together and go really hard so I leave it out now. My whites still look pretty white to me without it. I didn’t feel the need for vinegar or salt; vinegar does leave a vinegary smell and I thought that was just Taking The Whole Green Thing Too Far. Keeping my family in clean, non-toxic clothes is one thing; making them smell like last Fridays hot chip supper was another!

Powder Ingredients

This is hardly a recipe really but this is what I do :

2 cups Soda Ash
2 cups Baking Soda
1/3 cup Dr Bronner’s Liquid Castile Soap (or a coconut oil soap, grated)
a few drops lemon essential oil

Simply add the  two powders to a large bowl and gently stir with a whisk to get rid of any big lumps. Sit the bowl on a folded t-towel to stop it moving about and trickle in the liquid soap and essential oil whilst whisking gently. Make sure the soap gets evenly distributed.

Adding Soap

Decant into a container with a tight fitting lid. I use a tupperware box and a scoop (about a tablespoon) per wash. No need to add fabric softener.

Finished Powder

You might find you miss the heavily perfumed smell of your old powder but keep persevering and your nose will adjust! I know I’m sounding a bit crazy here but after a few washes with the homemade powder I started to smell a lovely, fresh “clean” smell on my clothes as I hung them out to dry. I now struggle to walk down the Household Cleaning aisle in my supermarket as the chemicals are so over powering. I much prefer the natural smell of “clean” than that of fake oriental lotus flower or a spurious spring meadow.

Give it a go and let me know the results. Perhaps we can have our very own Green Laundry Powder Challenge! You never know, you too might start waxing lyrical to strangers about the wonders of the homemade laundry powder. Go on….spread the word!

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5 thoughts on “Being Green and Squeaky Clean

  1. Pingback: Start Your Own Green Revolution | the fig tree

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