Given some pretty hazardous ingredients like chlorine bleach and ammonia, laundry rooms have the potential to be very dangerous spaces.
For starters, never mix chlorine bleach with ammonia or vinegar. If you do, you’ll create deadly fumes. Also, don’t ever ingest chlorine bleach – and make sure your children and pets don’t.
Certain brands of laundry detergents contain optical brighteners and fragrances that add extra chemicals. And residue from detergents and fabric softeners are known to cause irritations when it remains on clothing and bedding.
Hydrogen peroxide acts as a bleaching agent. It cleans and disinfects surfaces, and also whitens laundry. Be sure to dilute it in water before adding it to a load of laundry, though.
Vinegar also works wonderfully as a fabric softener by gently removing any detergent residue. Just add half a cup to the rinse cycle. (Incidentally, the vinegar leaves no scent.)
Initially I switched over all my detergents to the no fragrance, no color varieties when I started washing the clothes and linens for my first baby.
Once I adjusted to clean laundry without a scent, it was easy to make a leap to making my own laundry detergent. When I first heard about the concept, I thought my soap-making friends were crazy. Why would you take the time to make your own detergent when they sell it in stores?
Then I noticed the savings. With three simple ingredients – a bar of Fels Naptha soap, Borax, and washing soda – and a recipe from the Internet, I was able to concoct my own detergent for just a couple pennies a load.
While I paid around $3.50 – on sale – for commercial detergent that lasted 32 loads, I was able to make 32 loads of homemade detergent for a mere $1.35. Amazing. I loved the fresh smell of Fels Naptha and was very happy with how the soap cleaned my laundry.
Editor’s note: While this IS a cheap and easy laundry solution, I no longer believe it’s the safest for my family, so I’ve stopped using it. Please be aware that Fels-Naptha has received a C rating from the Environmental Working Group and is not recommended for septic systems. And Borax has received an F rating from the Environmental Working Group. For more information, please read my posts, My Huge Homemade Detergent Mistake and You’ll Never Guess Why I Can’t Use Fels-Naptha Soap.
On Saturday, I’ll share two of my favorite homemade laundry detergent recipes.
“For Your Home: Household Cleaners.” The Naked Truth Project. Consumer Products Guide.
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