Good news: There are more natural cleaning products available today than ever before.

Ready for the bad news? Not all “natural” cleaning products are, in fact, all natural. Without regulation to define such terms or to disclose ingredients, a new marketing trend known as “greenwashing” has emerged. This means that a “natural” laundry product may actually contain a heavy chemical load, but the fact is watered down by the promise of (synthetic) lavender freshness on the label.

Fortunately, dirt hasn’t changed much over time and still responds to that tried and true remedy: soap + water. This basic formula is enhanced with the inclusion of pure botanical essential oils and vinegar to sanitize, soften, and scent clothes and linens — naturally.

Play it safe, and make your own natural laundry detergent.

Basic Laundry Liquid Formula

Dr. Bronner’s, one of the most popular liquid castile soaps, is available in a variety of scents today, if you wish to skip adding your own essential oils.

2¼ cups liquid castile soap
¼ cup white distilled vinegar
1 tablespoon glycerin
¾ cup water
10–15 drops essential oil of your choice

Combine all ingredients into a plastic container or squirt bottle. Shake once or twice before adding to the wash. To use, add ¼ cup per average load, ½ cup for extra large or heavily soiled loads.

Illustration by © Kim Rosen

 

Basic Laundry Soap Powder

This recipe will wash six average loads, but you can easily double it.

1 cup washing soda
1 cup scented baking soda (see essential oil chart below for selection)
1 cup soap flakes or finely grated pure bar soap

Combine all ingredients and store in a heavy plastic container. Use ½ cup for an average laundry load.

All of these essential oils help clean and freshen the
laundry. They offer other benefits as well.
 
Recipes, illustration, and chart excerpted from The Naturally Clean Home © 2008 Karyn Siegel-Maier. All rights reserved.

Karyn Siegel-Maier

Karyn Siegel-Maier is a health writer, the mother of three, and the author of The Naturally Clean Home. She contributes articles about herbal health and… See Bio

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