Sunday, December 16, 2012

All natural, baby

"Hey, this tennis ball smells like lemons!"

Yes, yes it does, son. It's just one part of my continuing quest to go more natural throughout my house. First stop: laundry room. I've read too many things about the dangerous chemicals in our laundry rooms to not try making my own detergent and fabric softener. After a little bit of research, here's what I've been doing:

I posted this last month - my giant batch of laundry detergent, made from washing soda, baking soda, Borax, and three bars of castille soap that I shredded in my food processor (no, thankfully, my food does not taste like soap). My sister-in-law tried the same recipe and we both came to the same conclusion: it seems to get things clean, but they don't necessarily smell clean. They don't smell bad - they just, well, don't smell. Maybe we're just used to things smelling a lot, which doesn't actually mean they're clean; they're just full of chemicals that smell. Today was the greatest test - I threw in a pair of socks that were quite black on the bottom. After being washed they weren't sparkling white, but they were significantly cleaner - as clean as I'd have expected them to be otherwise, given that I did nothing to help them out prior to washing, poor socks. (side note: they aren't actually my socks. I don't know whose they are. Rachel? Missing some socks?)

Next, fabric softener. I decided to go with tennis balls. Hence, a tennis ball that smells like lemons because I put lemon essential oil on it first (actually I could have sworn I used lavender, but it might be that Ethan couldn't tell the difference) to make it smell nice.

The first time I used one, I realized that my towels felt different. I was afraid they would be stiff and scratchy, but they are actually very soft. The difference is that they don't feel coated with some kind of film. This I count as a good thing. Our clothes are not as static free as they might be, but it does enough.

So far, I like that it's less expensive, easy and better for us. Next stop: cleaning supplies!


  1. about two years ago i tossed every hard chemical (except my laundry detergent - might need to try yours) and clean exclusively with vinegar and baking soda. i have never looked back. it is GREAT! you can google and get more info than you ever wanted on cleaning with those two ingredients, i do wish i had some essential oils to add in.

    oh, and i do use dish detergent too, and the occasional bleach (we have mold issues, thanks to wet humid CD living)

  2. In China I used vinegar and water for my cleaning supplies almost entirely too. And baking soda for harder stuff. But I have granite counter tops and they can't have vinegar on them so I need to find an alternative for my kitchen. I'm also hoping to try dishwasher detergent, toilet cleaner and furniture spray.

  3. Yeah, the socks may be mine but I don't need them if they are. =)
    Let me know if you find any other good cleaning recipes!