Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Greening Your Laundry

      With Earth Day (April 21) close on it's way, I thought now would be a great time to share one of my favorite Eco-friendly tips!

     I switched to all "green" cleaning products when I had my first child, while I knew that keeping cleaning products out of reach was common sense with children around I was astounded when I learned that it wasn't just the dangers of ingestion that I should fear but the dangers caused by harmful fumes and leftover residue from conventional cleaners. So I made the switch, even though at the time it was an expensive switch to make. By the time my first child, Piper, was about 5 years old, going green with your clean had become very much in vogue, which meant that there were more options and prices were better. One of my favorite green product lines, Method, is very affordable,smells fantastic and works great too.  For a long time I also used Melaleuca products, which were great because they came in concentrate form which you'd mix as needed with water to make the usable product. One of the things that really gets me is knowing that much of the money spent on pre-mixed cleaning products is really spent mostly on the water that's in them! With products that come in concentrate form you're only paying for the product and can add your own water for free. ;)

     Things were going along pretty well for me with my lovely store bought green cleaning products, but with the economy we've been dealing with for the last several years the time came when I was looking for ways to pinch pennies any which way I could. I hated the idea of caving into to dollar store brands of chemical based cleaners just because they were cheaper than the Eco-Friendly versions I thought so highly of. But even with green cleaners becoming so much more affordable, I needed to find a way to save more. After a little internet research and some convincing testimonials from friends, I was introduced to the amazing powers of white vinegar and plain old baking soda, which you can use to clean just about every single thing you can think of! They work great, can be bought in bulk for a low cost, and are safe for kids, pets, and the environment. My old pals V&B deserve a post all to themselves so stay tuned for that, but today I want to share with you an easy recipe for the single most money saving cleaning product I have found: home-made laundry detergent.

     When I say that making my own laundry detergent is easy, I mean 1-2-3 presto! When I say that it gives me somewhat of a thrill to be self-reliant and to save mullah, you may think I'm a weirdo, but just try it and I'll be willing to bet you'll feel the lovely tingle right down to your toes too! I literally get excited when I make a new batch of detergent and I feel good every time I plop a scoop into the washing machine. Who knew I could enjoy anything at all about laundering? When I say that my clothes come out clean, stain free, and smelling fresh every time, I mean EVERY time. Once a friend told me that he'd heard that home-made laundry detergent was a bit harsh on clothes and made them look dingy over time, I can now tell that friend and anyone else who wants to know that after 4 years of using this recipe my clothes look just as nice as any other person's do.

     Now for the recipe, all you'll need is:

1 bar straight up soap-grated
(I use pure ivory or Fels-Naptha...which has a strong smell you may or may not like. 
Also, ivory is much easier to grate and when you get down to that 
last little chunk you can usually just crumble it in your hands.)
1 Cup Super Washing Soda
1/2 Cup Borax
optional: 10-20 drops essential oil
(I have used, tea tree, lavender, or geranium. These can be expensive but are well worth the investment when you study up on all the great uses for them!)

Mix and store in an air tight container. Use 2 Tbs per load

For those who desire fabric softener, 1/4 Cup of White Vinegar in the rinse cycle will do the trick. Clothes come out smelling sweet and feeling soft. 

     Another green laundry tip: always wash in cold water, saves money and energy. My only exception for this tip is sheets, towels, "unders" and cloth diapers which are washed in hot water at my house to kill germs. I always make sure to follow up with the vinegar rinse for these items as well for added odor removal.  Drying out on a line, or on wracks or laundry line strung up in your basement saves energy too and causes less ware on your clothes.
     All of these products are available at your grocery store (most of the time.) I buy my white vinegar in bulk at BJ's Whole Sale Club, and have found the best prices for the other ingredients on

     I read on another site that this recipe will do about 48 loads and costs about .03 cents per load compared to the usual .30 cents per load of other brands, I would say that this sounds pretty darn accurate in my experience and pretty darn good too! *Please note that the article also mentioned this detergent may not be a good choice for wool or silk, I don't really own any wool or silk so I cannot attest, but take caution.

     Even if this is the only green cleaning change that you make, it will be a relief to your wallet and in my opinion is an important way to keep chemicals away from your body--after all, we wear our clothes right on our skin, why suds them up with chemicals before hand?

     If you have any green cleaning tips you'd like to share, we at Ladies Holiday would love for you to share!
Greenly Yours, 

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  1. This is great. I keep saying I must try it and now with this post I really have no excuse. Will let you know xo

    1. Can't wait to hear how it goes, I think you'll be so glad you did it! :)


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