It is laundry day today, and that machine has been running all.day.long. Who is else is cranking out laundry today with toxin-free laundry soap? Many years ago, far too many to count, my mother started making her own laundry detergent with soap that we had made ourselves. I used it to do the family laundry back then, without really understanding what it was she was providing other than some free soap. You see, when others make things for you they are giving you much more than the gift itself, this I have come to truly understand and appreciate. With homemade anything, the giver is giving you their time. They are giving you kindness. Most importantly, they are giving you a bit of themselves. This is one big reason among many others I feel homemade is better. And when you make something like a cleaning product you are giving yourself and your family such a wonderful gift. Then there is the fact that when you make something yourself you know what is in it. You are giving your family health and safety with a product that can affect us in so many ways. Four ingredients, you say? How is this possible? Let me show you.
Making things for yourself and your home does not have to be complicated. Companies want you to think that it is because then they get your money, and then you get sucked in and those pretty packages just sort of leap into your cart. I get it. I used to have that happen to me too! BUT, when you look at the items we buy from stores and run your finger down the long list of foreign ingredients, it is clear that maybe a little more intention in what we use throughout our day can go a long, long way towards healthier and more mindful living. With that in mind, I like making as many homemade products as possible, when possible. I do not take this path because I enjoy making messes in the kitchen and getting all scientific with cleaning products, I do it because it is really much easier, more cost effective, and WAAAAAAAY healthier than the alternatives out there. It is also really enjoyable, once you get the hang of it!
As I have found, once you have a cleaning pantry of items at your disposal you can whip up these products in a matter of minutes. When you find yourself out of detergent or fabric softener, just get out your food processor and a few minutes later you are good to go with laundry without having to get all the children in the car. What could have taken you well over an hour has now taken five minutes. I like this part a lot. It makes my life easier. Moral of this: homemade is always BEST. Here are three wonderful homemade recipes you can take with you from my laundry room to yours.
Homemade Laundry Detergent (Dry)
6 cups borax (I order HERE in bulk & store in a labeled glass jar)
4 cups washing soda (I order HERE in bulk & store in a labeled glass jar)
4 cups baking soda (I order HERE in bulk & store in a labeled glass jar)
30 drops of essential oils (we only use Young Living Essential Oils)
Directions + Usage:
Chop the bar of soap into quarter-size pieces, and place into your food processor. Add the washing soda and borax. Pulse until you get a fine powder and the castile soap is broken up into very small pieces. Add your essential oils and pulse a few more times to mix. Store in lidded glass jars. Add one tablespoon to the bottom of your washing machine before adding in your clothing. This should last you quite awhile!
Here is some info on BORAX, if you like to research and read up on ingredients as I do.
Homemade Fabric Softener
This is much safer than fabric softener that you can find in most stores. Did you know fabric softener is one of THE most toxic things you can bring into your home? We had so many problems with it when the older girls were infants due to eczema and after reading up on ways to help their skin, I threw all our store bought fabric softener away and started making my own without the harsh chemicals, that was bad for both our skin and the environment. You can read more about this HERE if interested. I am including a recipe for both liquid and dry fabric softener. I use the liquid one regularly, but the dry recipe is just as effective (and it is a great option if you do not have time to mix up a batch of the liquid).
Liquid Homemade Fabric Softener
6 cups water
3 cups white vinegar
2 cups organic hair conditioner of your choice (I use Young Living Lavender Mint Conditioner)
15 drops Lavender essential oil, optional
15 drops Peppermint essential oil, optional
Directions + Usage:
Add the water, vinegar, and hair conditioner to a large bowl or container, and stir well to combine. You do not want to shake it; it will cause foaming. I like to add additional essential oils to amp up the scent, but it is not necessary, if you do not wish to add them. Store in a lidded glass jar or bottle. (I love the glass bottles at IKEA or you can use this one.)
Add 2 Tablespoon (1 oz) of fabric softener to your wash cycle for smaller loads, or 1/4 cup (2 oz) for larger loads. Alternatively, you can pour 1/4 cup of the fabric softener onto a clean washcloth, and toss it in your dryer with the wet clothes like a dryer sheet. However, I prefer to add it to the softener dispenser in the washing machine and use my wool dryer balls with a few drops of essential oils in the dryer.
Dry Homemade Fabric Softener
1 cup epsom salt
30 drops of Young Living essential oils
Directions + Usage:
And, simpler yet is this natural fabric softener recipe. Just add your ingredients to a small mason jar and shake. Done!! Add one tablespoon to the bottom of your washing machine BEFORE adding your clothing.
A few more tips:
White Vinegar – Use this as a rinse (1/2 cup or so) to get the excess detergent off and dissolve the salts. This is also a great way to help keep your whites white. I add this to the bleach compartment of our washing machine.
One neat thing about these recipes is that you can customize them to your liking by adding different combinations of essential oils. I tend to use ones that reflect the season, so below I have a little list of oils that I like to use and what season they correspond to:
Summer: lime, rosemary, lavender, jasmine, citronella, lemongrass, tangerine
Autumn: clove, orange, nutmeg, cinnamon, patchouli, vetiver
Winter: peppermint, frankincense, wintergreen, eucalyptus, pine, spruce
Spring: geranium, rose, lavender, lemon, bergamot, chamomile, neroli
When I have not had the time to make a batch of this homemade detergent, I fall back on my favorite obsession ever - Thieves Laundry Soap from Young Living. This stuff is the BOMB! And, if you are not crafty, or do not have the time to make your own...use this!
If you are interested in learning more about Essential Oils, start HERE.