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Two Ingredient Laundry Detergent

Things have been REALLY quiet here on the blog the last few months.  A few things have happened along the way, so here are two major updates since my last post on Sep 26:

  • I FINISHED my program at Nutritional Therapy Association!!  I loved the entire program and am beyond excited to say I am an NTP!  I’m planning to write up a review of my full experience in the near future.  I’m hoping to make some gradual changes to the blog where I can offer some sort of services, challenges, courses, etc.  It’s all a work in progress but I’m excited to see where it goes!
  • I can finally announce that we are expecting Baby #3 in June!  I found out literally a month before graduation so the news threw a wrench in my original NTP plans but it’s a blessing nonetheless and we are all thrilled.

Hopefully I can get back on some sort of track here on the blog to getting posts up, so let’s start with today.

I used to love the smell of fresh clean laundry.  That “mountain fresh” scent or “spring fresh” or whatever other concoctions they came up with.  I also used to love walking down the detergent aisle in grocery stores because it was like a little treat where I could get a whiff of that clean goodness.

Things change.  Now I can’t even get to the aisle next to it without getting a headache from the strong smells!

As I started my all natural journey years ago, I discovered the Environmental Working Group.  This was huge for me and really gave my path the push it needed.  I had no idea the amount of chemicals that were in my home even though I thought I was doing well.  I thought I had made changes that were beneficial but after a quick product look up, I realized it was just marketing.

EWG gives products grades based on the ingredients and their effects on both human health as well as the environment.  There are different parts of the website where you can check out foods, beauty products, and household cleaning products.  Check out the score on your laundry detergent on the cleaning products page.

You can only do as well as you know, and once I knew, I decided to do better.  I looked into making my own detergent.  First I kept seeing these gross-sounding liquid detergents where I’d need a big 5 gallon bucket and the consistency would be “booger-like”..no joke.  I passed on that.  I found some powder detergents that sounded much more doable.  However, some included baking soda and salt and borax, a laundry list (see what I did there) of ingredients….but here’s the thing.

Baking soda isn’t used in any commercial detergents.  None.  It’s actually weaker than washing soda at softening water and raising the cleaning pH, so washing soda would be a much better choice.  Some recipes include both, but why include the weaker product at all?

Salt has the same issue.  Some people include it in their powder detergents as a water softener, but it’s much weaker than washing soda.  So if you’re using washing soda, the salt really shouldn’t be necessary.

Borax is necessary in liquid detergents to help keep its “oomph”.  Powdered detergents don’t change or decline over time so borax isn’t necessary in powder.  It’s also most useful in hot water, but most people are washing in cold water today anyway.  I used to use borax in my powder detergent before I knew all this, but what really made me toss this ingredient was the fact that it scored an F on EWG with the highest concern being “developmental & reproductive toxicity”.  It just wasn’t something I was comfortable continuing to wash my young children’s clothes in every day.

So I kept tweaking my detergent and finally landed on just two simple ingredients.  All I use now, and have been using for years, are Arm & Hammer Washing Soda and Dr. Bronner’s bar soap.

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It’s super simple and I actually really like making this.  I know a lot of DIY products can look intimidating because it’s “one more thing to do” but this one forces me to sit down for a while to make it.  So every 2-3  months, after the kids go to bed, I’ll put on a show or a movie, grab a big bowl and my grater and my bars of soap, and grate away.  It works for me.

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The nice thing too is that you can make as big of a batch as you want, as long as it’s 1 bar grated soap to 2 cups washing soda.  Sometimes if I’m pressed for time or I only have one bar on hand, I’ll just make a single batch, but I typically do a double.

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Once the bars of soap are grated, just mix in your washing soda and keep it in a container of your choice.  I found that giant mason jar above at Target on sale for like $6.  To use the detergent, throw in about 3-4 tablespoons per full load.

I like to play around with different scents too.  Usually I’ll use 1 bar unscented and 1 bar scented.  Keep in mind this detergent will not leave your clothes scented like commercial detergents.  However, if you’re looking to reduce chemicals in your life and in your home, then fragrances are definitely one thing to do without.  And honestly, I don’t miss it and never have.  I immediately felt better about using this cleaner detergent.

And in case you’re wondering, both Washing Soda and Dr Bronner’s received A’s from EWG so I feel really comfortable washing my family’s clothes/towels/sheets in this detergent.  Give it a try!

In good health,

Michelle

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