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Laundry…… February 16, 2011

Posted by boaktree in Uncategorized.
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I’ve had a couple of friends ask me recently about greener alternatives to laundry detergent, so I thought it best if I wrote a quick entry about what we use in our home.

There are two things I use regularly on our household laundry.  Soap nuts, and a homemade laundry detergent.  I will say quite honestly with both of these, pre-treating stains is a must.  Neither of these things seems to deal with deep stains as well as commercial detergents.  That is a sacrifice I am willing to make in the name of being green and thrifty though!

Soap nuts are awesome, and I love them.  They are technically the berry from a Sapindus mukorossi tree.  The shell contains saponin and is dried prior to use.  There are many benefits to using soap nuts.  Some of these are that they are sustainable, all natural,  use less energy and packaging,  cheap, reusable,  hypoallergenic, non-polluting, you don’t need to use fabric softener with them, and you just compost them when you are done with them.  Again, I love them.

  To use them you can either toss a few in a little bag and then toss it in your washer, or you can do as I do, and boil several soap nuts in water to make a liquid.  I like to do this as I wash all our laundry on cold, and I find they work better this way.  There are tons of other uses for soap nuts around the house, making them very versatile (and cheap!  I mentioned that, didn’t I?) Soap nuts don’t really have a scent, so I add essential oil to my laundry to make it smell pretty.

Oh, and for that pre-treating I was talking of?  You can use soap nuts for that, too.

As much as I love soap nuts, I do also use a homemade laundry detergent for a few things.  Mainly very heavily soiled items and for our diaper laundry. (I do use soap nuts on the diapers as well, but I like to go back and forth between the two.) 

I will mention here that for whatever crazy reason, diaper laundry is the only laundry around here that gets done quickly.  All the other laundry gets washed in a timely manner, but then just sits around until I have enough motivation to deal with folding and putting it away.  But diaper laundry?  Oh, it gets washed, dried and folded neatly (much more neatly than anything else I might add.)  Go ahead and call me crazy, but something about washing and folding those diapers really appeals to me. 

 The recipe I use to make our detergent is:

I bar grated castile soap (I use homemade peppermint castile that my ever so awesome Mum makes for me)

I cup washing soda

I cup baking soda

I cup borax

That’s it.  I mix it up and store it in a large glass jar, and I use approx 3 tbsp per load, depending on the size of the load and how heavily soiled it is.  When I use this mixture I do need a fabric softener of sorts.  For this we use white vinegar.  I add it to the dispenser just as you would fabric softener.  Works like a charm, and no, our laundry does not smell like vinegar in the least.

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