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How to make your own laundry detergent

  1. 1.  Grate a nice, hard bar of all natural soap into a tight-lidded container.  This may cause you to sneeze, and it’s a good time to listen to music.

  2. 2.  Add one cup of borax, found in most grocery stores.

  3. 3.  Add one cup of washing soda (sodium carbonate), which is most easily obtained where pool supplies are sold.  It is also called soda ash, and is caustic--do not inhale it.

  4. 4.  Add any desired all-natural fragrance--I use about 20 - 30 drops of lavender oil for fresh-smelling laundry.

  5. 5.  Place the lid on the container and shake, shake, shake!

  1.   See the two tablespoon measure in the picture?  That’s all you need to wash your clothes--I use two scoops for extra large loads.  For really dirty clothes you may want to add sodium percarbonate (oxygen cleaner--try to find one without added chemicals/fragrances, and buy in bulk).

                                         Why make your own detergent?

  1.   Save money.  Save time:  Ingredients bought in bulk mean less shopping for you.  My $10 bottle of lavender oil will last more than a year, and the boxes of borax and soda ash last several months.  Save our waterways--this detergent has no toxic synthetic ingredients or optical brighteners.  Save our air:  bulk buying means less energy used in transporting products (much of liquid detergent is water!)  Save our earth:  much less packaging to use and discard.  Save your body from exposure to synthetic chemicals.

pretend angel

real angel

Jeanne Herbert is a physical therapist

at The Children’s Institute.

photography:  Kirsten Räther