Laundry detergents and softeners are intended to keep clothes clean, soft and smelling good. Most of us use these products regularly, as part of our normal laundry routine. However, many of these products can cause issues that you may not expect. Laundry detergents and softeners often contain chemicals which could be associated with skin and eye irritation, respiratory irritation and liver problems. Our family deals with skin irritations from laundry detergent so we have to be vigilant on what we purchase.
This is not to say that every fancy laundry detergent you come across is associated with these issues. Some detergents are non-toxic and provide a safe laundry solution. There are also detergent and softener solutions that you can create yourself, which do not take much effort to produce.
How to create a DIY laundry detergent
DIY laundry detergent is not that difficult to create. You simply need to purchase washing soda and several bars of natural soap. You can also use some lemon essential oil for its additional de-greasing properties. It’s worth noting that although washing soda is a more natural product than many that are used in shop bought products it is a chemical compound and it can be dangerous if you are not careful when using it.
The soap needs to be cut into pieces and placed into a food processor along with the washing soda. Once this is blended into a fine powder it can be used as a detergent to wash your laundry with. It’s a good idea to use an old food processor that you are no longer using for food preparation. You will usually need to use one or two tablespoons of the powder for each load of washing.
Using white vinegar in your laundry
Another natural product that can be successfully used when you are doing the laundry is white vinegar. This product can be especially useful for removing stubborn stains and deodorizing clothing. For instance, some fabrics tend to retain the smell of sweat, even after clothing has been washed. Adding a couple of cups of white vinegar to the dispenser, instead of detergent, can help to deal with this problem. It can also be a good idea to add white vinegar to the last rinse, as a means of softening laundry.
Drying after the wash
Many people use a dryer to dry laundry, but this is not the most economic or environmentally friendly way to dry. Ideally, you should hang laundry outside to dry. If this is not possible, use airers inside. Never hang items of laundry overlapping, as this will leave a strong, damp smell in your home. Using a dehumidifier as you dry is also a good idea to get rid of excess moisture.
Some laundry detergents are more damaging than others. If you do not want to make your own detergent, but want to keep your family and the environment healthy, look for detergents and softeners that contain the fewest chemicals; the more natural these products are, the less likely you and your family are to suffer ill effects from using them.