While living in my eco-house, I’ve gradually been moving towards using simpler, non-toxic ingredients for household cleaning. I’m not an expert! and I’d encourage you all to do some researches online; but I’ve put a few ideas below.
As of January 2020, this page is still in progress – do check back later on. I've recently updated the recipes for laundry liquid, and added a section on non-plastic scourers and sponges.
Back to top
Powder is a bit more abrasive, which results in more microfibres getting into the water from synthetic clothing. But it's easier to store.
NB Something to learn is that good foaming doesn’t mean good cleaning! Commercial products have foaming agents to convince consumers that they’re working well. Home-made laundry products don’t foam up so much but are doing the same job.
For whitening laundry, use oxygen bleach powder – far more environmentally friendly to manufacture and use than chlorine bleach; what’s rinsed down the drain is non-toxic. Try Dri-Pak Oxi-Boost, or Vanish O2 powder or various own-brands.
For fabric softening, white (distilled) vinegar is excellent, and as a bonus descales your machine. Just pour plenty into the fabric-softener drawer. I promise that your clothes will not smell of vinegar!
Here's a REVISED recipe for laundry liquid (October 2019) (I've found that laundry liquid made with liquid soap, as per my recipe earlier this year, separates out and needs lots of shaking before use. If you make it with grated soap it turns into a gel, which is much easier to use):
30ml borax substitute
30ml washing soda
20ml grated soap*
Boil 500ml water, stir some into the dry mix and mix till dissolves. Leave for a while, pour rest of water in, mix at intervals. It'll form a gel, which you can easily spoon out
(3 tbs per load)
And here's a recipe for laundry powder:
Equal amounts washing soda and borax substitute with some (not too much) grated soap
(2 tbs per load)
Simple interim alternatives:
- Or just as a tryout, before you switch entirely, try replacing some of your normal laundry liquid/powder with washing soda
- Or mix equal amounts of borax substitute and washing soda in a jar; for a wash, put 2 tablespoons of the mix into the powder drawer, and pour in a tablespoon of Dri-Pak liquid soap**
* Many soap bars have all sorts of things in them - see below for the long ingredients list of Dove bars. For making laundry powder/liquid you'll be wanting the most simple soap ingredients possible - olive oil, coconut oil, glycerine. Just grate the bar on a medium cheese-grater
**Dri-pak's liquid soap does come in a plastic bottle (recyclable), but as you only use a tiny amount at a time it'll last you for ages. Here are its ingredients (contrast this with other products at Green and non-green brands):
Back to top
Kitchen and bathroom - moving towards green
Back to top