Retrieved from Family Friendly Frugality
And soon I’ll leave for France for several weeks. I thought I’d post few articles before I take off. So here I came with one on how we adopted an eco-friendly laundry routine.
I still buy laundry detergent from the shelf but at a much lower pace. To be more precise, I bought 3 jugs in 2 years. Alternating is the way I found to give our washing machine a break. Indeed, soap flakes contain glycerine (that naturally occurs as a result of mixing the vegetable oils with the lye or sodium hydroxide). Washing after washing, the layers of glycerine can build up hence clogging the machine’s pipes on the long term.
What’s the purpose of trying to reduce your waste at the cost of a washing machine very couple of years, right?
I make two kind of laundry detergents; one for household linens that need to be washed at high temperature and one for our everyday clothes.
The ingredients you will need to source are soap flakes (available at The Green Corner that include sodium carbonate!), sodium carbonate (I found several vendors on mercado libre), sodium bicarbonate (available anywhere), sodium percarbonate (I usually bring it from France but I also bought it from mercado libre) and white vinegar. I need hardly to say that all these ingredients are eco-friendly.
Now let’s decode them!
The sodium carbonate is a must have when it comes to make your own household detergent. It is a multipurpose degreasing agent. The sodium percarbonate (I already mentioned it here) is my favourite way to remove stubborn stains of organic origin. It unleashes active oxygen when it is in contact of warm water. That is the reason why you will get a little result if you run a cold wash cycle. Sodium bicarbonate is a great deodoriser and pH-adjusting agent.
To wash our bed sheets and towels, I prepare a jar of washing powder. I found a recipe on a French website called Aroma Zone. It is a commercial website that sells a very large range of natural a/o organic ingredients for homemade skincare and household detergent. It works great for us so I translated it for you:
Homemade washing powder recipe:
- 18 tbsp of soap flakes
- 14 tbsp of sodium carbonate (skip it if the soap flakes bag already contains it)
- 12 tbsp of sodium bicarbonate
- 5 tbsp of sodium percarbonate
Mix everything well and store it in a glass jar container.
I use 3 to 4 tbsp. of this mixture per washing, at 60 or 90 degree Celsius. I pour them directly into the drum of my washing machine so the soap flakes won’t clog the pipes and compromise its lifespan 😉 Yes, it became an obsession!
For everyday clothes, I alternate between my homemade liquid laundry and a ready to use from Green Land that is said to be 100% biodegradable. I use one store-bought jug out of 3 or 4 jugs of homemade liquid laundry.
Homemade liquid laundry recipe:
- 1.5 litre of tap water
- 55 g of soap flakes
- 3 tbsp of sodium carbonate
- 2 tsp of white vinegar (I buy the large jugs from Costco)
- 50 drops of sweet orange essential oil (optional)
In a large saucepan or pot, bring the water to an initial boil, turn off the heat and add in the soap flakes. Use a hand whisk mix the flakes into the water and help them dissolve faster. Let it cool, transfer a small amount of the mixture into a bowl and add in the sodium carbonate. Mix well and pour it back into the pot. Whisk again until well combined. Add in 2 tsp. of white vinegar to prevent the mixture to solidify. Mix well. You can now add the essential oil to give a nice scent to your detergent.
It is not as liquid as store bought detergent, its texture is a mix of jelly and foamy
I personally don’t use it anymore as a bottle of essential oil does not last long and the purpose here is to reduce waste, not increasing it! Beside, essential oils are very strong and can cause more harm than good if misused. For instance, essential oils from citrus fruits are generally photosensitizing and allergizing. I use them only when needed and I always check my sources beforehand.
As a homemade softener, I am a big fan of white vinegar. I mix it with tab water; either half-half or 2/3 of white vinegar with 1/3 of water, depending on how hard the water is. The white vinegar will not only soften the fabrics but also protect your washing machine and remove any unpleasant smell.
I hope you found this post interesting.
My next article will be on vermicomposting. Stay tuned!