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 FormulaDr. 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 soapCombine 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.
¼ cup white distilled vinegar
1 tablespoon glycerin
¾ cup water
10–15 drops essential oil of your choice
Illustration by © Kim Rosen
Basic Laundry Soap PowderThis recipe will wash six average loads, but you can easily double it.
1 cup washing sodaCombine all ingredients and store in a heavy plastic container. Use ½ cup for an average laundry load.
1 cup scented baking soda (see essential oil chart below for selection)
1 cup soap flakes or finely grated pure bar soap
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.