Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Green Laundry Room

I do about 12 loads of laundry a week. That's almost two loads a day, or an all-day marathon when we run out of socks, underwear, or towels. Let's be honest, it's usually the latter. With six people in our family, one of whom is in cloth diapers, two others who have night accidents at least once a week, and we have almost entirely replaced our disposable paper and other disposable products with cloth/reusable ones-We make a lot of laundry. For a long time, I was a die-hard powdered Tide user. It cleaned everything- including our cloth diapers- perfectly, and I was firmly of the belief, "Don't fix what's not broken." Then Tide had to up and change things on me. Their most recent formula that is "more concentrated with more stain-fighting power" was a disaster that gave those of us with sensitive skin rashes, and gave the baby straight-up burns in his delicate diaper region no matter how many times I rinsed the diapers. Okay, now it's broken.
After trying many different detergents, natural and otherwise. NOTHING rinsed clean enough to not leave build-up on our diapers, etc, AND not irritate our skin. Finally I started searching for homemade detergent recipes. I'd tried a homemade detergent years ago in 2008- one I purchased from a small business. It was fantastic. The maker had such huge success after only six months she had an opportunity for a buy-out and she took it. Unfortunately, they buyers clearly started using lesser quality ingredients, because the quality of the detergent immediately tanked. Boo.
Lots of Pinning and trial and error later, I came up with an awesome solution: A liquid detergent that is both strong enough for my filthy kids who run and play and stain clothes with furvor, AND get the baby's diapers perfectly clean without build-up or burns.
Here's our magic formula:


  • 1/4 cup Super Washing Soda
  • 1/4 cup Baking Soda(or Borax)
  • 1/2 cup Castile Soap
  • Boiling water
  • 10-20 drops Essential oils for extra deodorizing power(optional)
  • Gallon-size container
Boil a tea kettle or small pot of water. Put the Baking Soda(or Borax) into the receptacle, then pour in the boiling water while stirring. Add the Super Washing Soda and continue to stir until both powders are dissolved. Stop stirring and add the Castile Soap. Top off the gallon with hot-hot water from the tap, and add any essential oils you've chosen. I like to use deodorizing or sanitizing EOs with a pleasant smell that work well with whatever Castile Soap I've chosen. My favorites are Melaleuca(Tea Tree Oil), Lemongrass, and a Young Living blend called Purification. Use 1/2 cup solution per load of laundry. For a natural fabric softener or additional deodorizing, add 1/2 cup white vinegar to the rinse cycle(NEVER the wash- vinegar and Castile Soap don't get along). PRESTO-CHANGE-O! Clean laundry, no rashes or burns, and for pennies!
Separated Laundry Detergent
If you go several days without using the laundry soap solution, it will begin to separate into liquid and gelatinous layers. Just close it up and shake-shake-shake. The gel-like layer will break apart into chunks in the liquid layer and once in the washer will dissolve into the water. 

I have messy kids. Dirty kids. I swear, they love to be filthy. Dirt-throwing fights are a fave around here. Okay, really they're sand fights now that we live in Virginia. Still gross. So I deal with a lot of stained laundry. Super easy, inexpensive, chemical-free stain-remover using ingredients you very likely have in your cupboards:

//BONUS! All-Natural Stain Remover!\\
  • Peroxide
  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Peri Bottle
Mix equal parts of all three ingredients in the Peri Bottle(CVS, Walgreens, Amazon- they all have 'em). Shake it up. Use it. Yep. That easy.  
To use it, shake the bottle(it will separate between uses, but that has no bearing on its effectiveness), squirt it on the stain and let it sit for an hour or longer(overnight works well for tough stains) before putting it in the wash. If it's an old or particularly tough or set-in stain, after the solution has set on the stain, add a couple drops of dish soap and scrub the fabric together over the stain so the soap and remaining baking soda work up a lather. Seriously, I removed a week-old stain of dark chocolate melted into a light blue shirt with this method. There's nothing it can't do. Not that I've found yet, anyway. 

Care to follow my daily updates on holistic, healthy family life and every day essential oil use? See a Facebook page a fellow "crunchy" mama and myself manage called Essential Familes

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