Our choice to cloth diaper created the need to change our laundry practices. Cloth diapers can’t be washed in anything containing additives or petroleum products, so upon purchasing my first set of dipes I also bought a little tub of locally-made laundry detergent from Elegant Mommy. The ingredients in the detergent were simply soap, washing soda, and borax. Well now, that’s simple enough!
It took me a good long while to run through this little tub of detergent since only a teaspoon or two is required per load. But as I was nearing the bottom of the box, I ran across a blog from another Sioux Falls Mom, IngridBarlow.com who had created a quick video on how to make your own laundry detergent. Perfect! (There is also a recipe for dishwasher soap, which I tried, but with our old creaky dishwasher it didn’t work well.)
I create my own detergent by using 2 cups of Borax, 2 cups of baking soda, and a bar of pure soap. Simple as that. Ingrid adds some dry bleach to her mixture, but I have omitted that ingredient. Borax is a naturally-occurring compound that has a variety of uses, one being a cleaning agent. It is inexpensive and can be found at most grocery stores. For my soap I first purchased a laundry bar from CarlB’s Farm, which smelled deliciously citrusy and worked very well. When I ran through that batch of soap I ended up having to pick up some Kirk’s Coco Castille soap from the grocery store for my second batch. It doesn’t have the same wonderful orangey smell, but it has been working just fine. You will need to grate the soap, but a cheese grater makes short work of the task.
You can also include vinegar in your wash (especially for diapers) for a little extra cleaning power. I haven’t found it necessary yet, but it’s an incredibly inexpensive, natural cleaner that you can also use in many other household cleaning tasks.
By the way, we use this soap for ALL of our laundering!