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3 ingredient laundry detergent

Let me start by saying that I never thought I would make my own laundry detergent.  I've seen people, and by people I mean the Duggars, make theirs on the stove and that has always seemed crazy to me. Intimidating and extreme. But as I have been learning more and more about toxins in the home, I started reading about how laundry detergents can contain harmful chemicals.  Then I came across a study from Air Quality, Atmosphere, Health that found:
 In a controlled study of washing and drying laundry, we sampled emissions from two residential dryer vents during the use of no products, fragranced detergent, and fragranced detergent plus fragranced dryer sheet. Our analyses found more than 25 VOCs emitted from dryer vents, with the highest concentrations of acetaldehyde, acetone, and ethanol. Seven of these VOCs are classified as hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) and two as carcinogenic HAPs (acetaldehyde and benzene) with no safe exposure level, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Carcinogen=something known to cause cancer.  Yikes! So I came to the conclusion that it wouldn't hurt to look into making my own detergent, and found out that it is easy and saves us money.
There are so many resources online for just about anything these days, and of course there are a ton of homemade laundry detergent recipes.  These are the ingedrients and the amounts that I found work for us. 
Just a few things (because who doesn't love bulleted lists?!):

  • Ben sweats a lot at work in his uniform, but his clothes always come out smelling fresh.  This detergent does not have a strong scent to it, but everything still smells fresh.
  • I have also stopped using fabric softener sheets, and use 1/4 cup of white vinegar in the rinse cycle and 4 safety pins attached to an old rag in the dryer and I have yet to fold anything that is stiff or static-y.  The vinegar does have a strong smell when pouring it in, but our clothes have never come out of the washer smelling anything like vinegar.  Plus, vinegar is a natural odor absorber and since we keep our kitty litter in the laundry room, it is perfect for us.
  • I found all of these ingredients at Publix, the local grocery store.
  • This recipe does include Borax--a naturally occuring mineral that has received a bad reputation when rats ingest large amounts (almost equalling their body weight).  After reading all that I could find on it, I have decided that we will include it in our detergent, and will be sure not to eat pounds and pounds of it (what it would take for a harmful side effect),  just as I wouldn't do with salt. If you are interested in learning more about Borax, I found this post that includes a lot of resources and does a great job of explaining the research out there on it.

This is too easy not to try!! And your spouse/roommate/momdad/cats are bound to be impressed when they see this jar of homemade laundry detergent sitting on top of the dryer.  You can pretend you worked all day making it, just to save $$, when really it takes about 5 minutes.
    I made the first batch small to see if I would like it--a week later I made a double batch and it filled the rest of this container!
 Homemade Powder Laundry Detergent

1 gallon jar
1 bar natural soap (I used Dr. Bronners)
2 cups Borax
2 cups Washing Soda

  1. Grate bar of soap--either by hand or in food processor.
  2. Mix grated soap with Borax and Washing Soda.
I put the whole bar of soap directly into the food processor.
I then poured the grated bar of soap into a large bowl and mixed in the Borax and Washing Soda.

Once mixed, I added all of the ingredients to my blender just to be sure everything was blended well.    When I made another batch, I skipped mixing the ingredients in a bowl and put them all straight into the blender.
Sprinkle 1/4 cup detergent over clothes.  Makes 1/3 amount of a 1 gallon jar (good tester batch).

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