Soooo, Mike and I were on a date night (aka Friday night at Menards) and the check out girl asked a familiar question, "What do you do with that"? She was referring to the 12 bars of Fels Naptha on the conveyor. When I explained that I make my own laundry detergent, she immediately asked for the recipe. I've been asked so often that I thought I'd share it with all of you...and some of the reasons it's important to me.
Several years ago I had an epiphany. I eat a healthy, balanced diet. I exercise. I'm mindful to get enough rest. I'm careful of what I put in my body, but what about what I put on my body? Chemicals used in the textile industry include PBDE (polybrominated diphenyl ether) used as a flame retardant, formaldehyde resins for wrinkle resistance, and PFOA (perfluoroctanoic acid) for stain protection. The list includes known carcinogens, heavy metals like lead and mercury, as well as other toxins. Research indicates that all-natural fibers contain up to 27% of these chemical absorbed during manufacturing. The additives used in detergents and fabric softners are another area of concern. In 1991, the EPA released a document implicating fabric softner and dryer sheets in pancreatic cancer and lung disease through wide use of benzyl acetate and limonene in their formulations. Although I do think organic fabrics are fabulous, and a worthwhile investment, I just couldn't justify ditching my entire wardrobe. My approach had to be more practical. So, I went down the path of cleaning what I already owned with all natural, homemade washing powder rather than use chemical laden commercial brands. Now, I would never go back! There are many formulas on the internet that I've tried. But this one is my favorite. It does a superior job, smells fresh, and rinses completely. If you are not inclined to make your own, come see Mike and I at the La Porte Farmer's Market. Either way, I hope you will break away from chemicals in your cleaning...especially in the laundry room.
Lavender Laundry Detergent
1 cup Arm and Hammer Washing Soda
1 cup Borax
1 bar Fels Naptha (5 oz)
9 drops lavender essential oil
Coarsely grate the Fels Naptha. Mix with dry ingredients. Add essential oil (not necessary, but lavender does smell wonderful on your clothes). For best results put the mixture through a food processor on high for about 2 minutes. Use 1 - 2 tablespoons per load. Store in an airtight container.