I’m making my grocery list today and paused when I wrote “laundry detergent,” reminded of a recent text thread among my high school girlfriends about detergents. A couple of years ago I always made our laundry detergent, but the effort’s faded a bit after who knows what? Been busy. And who has time to make laundry detergent when so many promising products line the shelves?
Here’s why it’s a good idea to make our own and why I just crossed off laundry detergent and instead wrote: Fels-Naptha, washing soda crystals, and borax.
Phosphates in detergents make them work well, but they eventually end up in our rivers, streams, and lakes. Algae bloom consumes phosphates, and microorganisms consume algae bloom. The increased amounts of microorganisms strip the water of oxygen, making for a vicious cycle that eventually dries up the water source. Not good.
Apparently, many manufacturers have caught on to this (whether they actually care or whether they care that the consumer cares) and replace phosphates with other “things” to make them effective, but they’re not required to list the ingredients on the packaging. So we really have no clue what we are putting on our skin every day and how it affects our environment. We could dive deep here and do some investigating, but I ain’t got time for that today. So I’m just going to make my own detergent and bask in knowing it is safe and it works. It doesn’t harm our beautiful Earth. And it takes minutes to prepare and costs pennies per load.
A pause, a wonder “why” at a seemingly simple choice. On one side, we have convenience, bright colors, delightful (fake) smells, hidden agendas, and unknown effects. On the other side, we have straightforward ingredients and an option that does not harm our planet. I’m the first to admit that sometimes it’s just easier to throw the aluminum can in the trash rather than recycle. Our culture is go, go, go and do, do, do. But it doesn’t take too much to ask pause and ask ourselves why, what difference does it make?
This laundry detergent recipe originated from Sophie Uliano’s book, Do It Gorgeously. I added the lemon essential oil for smell and freshness.
Deep Thoughts Laundry Detergent
1 bar Fels-Naptha soap OR Dr. Bronner’s bar soap, grated
1 cup Arm & Hammer washing soda crystals
1 cup Borax
10 drops lemon essential oil
Mix all ingredients in a big bowl. Use 2-3 tablespoons per load, and store in a glass jar or air-tight container.
You can find these ingredients at most grocery stores and definitely Target. Undoubtedly there are also many eco-friendly detergents on the shelves. Would love to hear if you have a favorite and/or if you try this route.
Happy laundering –