Laundry detergent – DIY

Hi everyone,
It’s been ages since my last post. I was very busy but here I come today with a new post on my journey into reducing waste.
Do you know what a 8th continent (in French jargon) is?
It’s literally a vast patch of garbage floating in the pacific ocean (The Guardian 2016 )
The dimensions of this patch are continually expanding and trashes are not only floating on the water surface, they are building up and reached over 10 meters deep (most likely to be deeper as the figure was from 2012). It is said to be as big as 6 times the size of France.  Below you’ll find the link to two videos from the international news agency AFP
I am not going to post images of the marine animals that may offend your sensibilities. We are all grown up and I am not going to preach what you should do or not should not do.
As for me, we decided to reduce our plastic waste by
  •  always having a reusable cloth bag with us
  • going grocery shopping with reusable shopping bags
  • using net bags for packing bulk products  
  • opting eco-friendly packaging like glass instead of plastic bags
  • making things home as much as possible
With regards to the latter, I started to do my own laundry detergent. I am going to share it with you in case you’d like to try it. It is all 100% biodegradable.

For this you’ll need:
  1. an empty detergent container
  2. 100 g of pure vegetable soap
  3. 1L of water
  4. 10 drops of lemon essential oil 
I bought my piece of soap at my local organic store. It was retailed at 1 USD, so cheap and so eco-friendly as they assured me it was only made with vegetable oil and glycerine. I grated it and store it in a glass container (I recycled the container of a jar of green olives). I warmed 1L of water and put 100g of the grated soap and slowly whisked the mixture until the soap completely dissolve into the water. I let it cool. Then, I add 10 drops of lemon essential oil (you can use lavender or mint essential oil instead, it’s a matter personal preference). On my first attempt, I didn’t add the essential oil but my daughter who likes the smell of our detergent from the supermarket told the clothes ‘stink’ LOL. She was smelling the natural scent of the soap and somehow the essential oil of lemon counterbalanced the smell of the soap and the laundry is like scent free.
To increase the washing performance of the homemade detergent, I add a tablespoon of bicarbonate of sodium directly into the compartment of the washing machine. You will find tones of DIY tutorials on Internet saying to mix the bicarbonate with the soap within the container. But unless you have soy lecithin to stabilise the mixture, I wouldn’t recommend it. You’ll also find recipe that contains white vinegar and bicarbonate, I also don’t recommend it. The two ingredients mixed together will reduce the effectiveness of both. 
You can use carbonate of sodium that is more efficient than the bicardonate for towels and linen and if you need something to bleach, opt for the percarbonate of sodium. On a previous post, I told you about the percarbonate that can replace the bleach as a biodegradable alternative.
I also make my own softener. Not because I am used to use it. On the contrary, I stopped using softener, as I became mother. The chemical ingredients inside can cause skin allergy. But because the soap can damage your washing machine as the soap would build up on the washing machine pipes. I mix in an empty water bottle, half of white vinegar and half of water. This solution will protect your washing machine from the hard water and avoid thin layer of soap to build up inside your washing machine. Beside, the white vinegar softens your laundry and leaves no vinegar scent, as it will dry.
I hope you’ll give it a try. It takes only few minutes to prepare it and it provides so much satisfaction. And my laundry is washed perfectly. Let’s be honest, our lifestyle made it easier as we wear our clothes only for one day. They have no time to get dirty J