Thursday, July 15, 2010


Fragrances, phosphates, chlorines and petroleums in most laundry detergents have adverse effects on the environment and on our health. Even for careful label readers, choosing non-toxic products can be tricky.

According to Investigator/Professor Anne C. Steinemann, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Public Affairs, University of Washington, laundry detergent companies are not required to disclose all chemicals including those classified as toxic or hazardous under federal law! Consequently, labels often read something like this: “Ingredients include surfactants (anionic and nonionic) and enzymes.”

My understanding is that Seventh Generation is one of few companies which produces truly safe products. Although, I’ve never used it, they offer a laundry detergent that is non-toxic, hypo-allergenic, free of chlorine, phosphates and petroleum-based ingredients, as well as artificial fragrances and dyes. A 50 oz bottle for 32 loads can be purchased for as low as $10.56 = $.33/load.

However, not only is it important to be good stewards of our bodies and the world in which we live, spending wisely is no less important. Thirty-three cents per load may not sound like much until you discover that…

you can make non-toxic liquid detergent
I’m not kidding!


1/3 bar Fels Naptha (1/3 bar Zote or 1 bar of Ivory will work)
½ cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (not baking soda)
½ cup 20 Mule Team Borax powder
*Note: All these are typically in the Laundry section

• Grate soap and place in sauce pan
• Add 6 cups water
• Heat until soap melts
• Add soda & borax
• Stir until dissolved
• Remove from heat
• Pour 4 cups hot water into a 2 gallon bucket
• Add soap mixture & stir.
• Add one gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir
• Allow to set for 24 hours
• Stir mixture – (Consistency - egg drop soup)

Use ½ cup of laundry gel per load. As a pre-soak, add ½ cup to enough water that just covers items needing treatment and soak over-night before laundering as usual.

Soap residue is what causes laundry dinginess and color loss. Its abrasiveness also shortens the life of our clothing. Vinegar is not only inexpensive; it’s amazing for many things, including laundry! Vinegar removes this residue! I purchased a laundry softener ball and fill it with ½ cup of vinegar. When placed on top of the clothes in the washing machine, this ball will dispense the vinegar during the rinse cycle. Since using this, I’ve noticed a difference in the brightness of our clothes!

Give it a try! It’s very easy, lots of fun and it works as well, if not better than any commercial product I’ve ever tried.

If you have questions, feel free to contact me. I’ll be glad to help!


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