I was shocked when I first learned that ingredients don’t need to be listed in cleaning products in the US. No wonder I was clueless about what was in my laundry detergent! Hiding in conventional detergents are dyes, optical brighteners, and complex fragrance blends that are known to cause allergic reactions.
If a product doesn’t have an ingredient list, how are you supposed to avoid items you’re concerned about? That’s why I started Meliora K, a cleaning product company that focuses on helping families understand what they are using in their homes and avoid unwanted chemical exposure.
Healthy cleaning is a lot like healthy eating – it’s easier to control the ingredients and keep the cost down by making it yourself. You can avoid fragrances (known to trigger allergies), optical brighteners (ditto), 1,4 dioxane from the use of surfactants (linked to cancer and in lots of products marketed as green such as ‘free and clear’ brands!). By making your own, you can adjust recipes to suit your own needs and preferences.
Choose Your Ingredients
Lots of DIY recipes will include borax and Fels-Naptha. We’ll skip both of those (by the way, they score an F and C respectively on the Environmental Working Group’s rating site ) and use the following:
- Washing Soda: aka sodium carbonate, it is a laundry booster that helps the soap be more effective by softening the water and raising the pH.
- Baking soda: aka sodium bicarbonate, it acts as a deodorizer and milk alkaline booster to again help the soap do its job.
- Soap: the soap itself is what grabs onto dirt and oil molecules, dragging them into the water. (Here’s an explanation of How Soap Works)
- We will use a No-Frills Soap Bar from Meliora K, but another fragrance-free, dye-free plain bar from Dr. Bronner’s, Kirk’s Natural, or even a homemade plain bar if you make soap at home would also work.
- Conventional “laundry” bars like Zote and Fels-Naptha contain fragrances, optical brighteners, and unlisted ingredients. Stay away from them if you are DIYing for a healthier alternative.
- One 4-oz No Frills Soap Bar
- 1 1/3 cups washing soda
- 1 1/3 cups baking soda
- Carefully grate the soap bar using a cheese grater or a food processor or blender [there is a simple trick to make this go faster here].
- Mix all ingredients together and store in a labeled food storage container.
- Use only one tablespoon per load, less in a high efficiency machine. Very dirty loads may need to double the amount used.
- This is low sudsing and works well in HE machines. Just cut the amount used in half to ½-1Tb
- The best softener to use with this recipe is adding ¼-½ cup of plain white vinegar to the rinse cycle. Avoids the fragrances from conventional softeners and works great to soften clothes, remove any remaining odors and keep fabrics soft and low static.
Here’s the recipe in an easy to print format
This sponsored post is submitted by Kate Jakubas.
Kate Jakubas is the founder of Meliora K, a Chicago-based cleaning products company with the vision of a clean, happy, and healthy home life that doesn’t rely on secret ingredients and mysterious chemicals. She has a Bachelor’s in Materials Science Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master’s degree in Environmental Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology . Kate believes that consumers shouldn’t need an advanced scientific degree to understand what’s used in their homes, and that for-profit business is a powerful tool that can be used to affect positive change for people and planet. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @katejakubas.
- Latest Posts