Think about how many loads of washing you put on per week. If you have a large family it could be more than ten! That’s over 520 each year! Now think about how much washing detergent your family alone is discharging into the environment. How much do you know about the chemicals in that detergent? Not only can you come in contact with caustic chemicals via your clothing but you can breathe them into your lungs once they become airborne in the process of doing your laundry.
The detergent you’re using may contain a cocktail of potent cancer-causing chemicals. Some detergents contain:
Four of the worst offenders are:
- sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)/sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)
- NPE (nonylphenol ethoxylate)
Sodium lauryl sulfate is a surfactant, detergent and emulsifier used in thousands of industrial cleaners and cosmetic products. It is present in nearly all shampoos, scalp treatments, hair colour and bleaching agents, toothpastes, body washes and cleansers, make-up foundations, liquid hand soaps, and laundry detergents. Some of these chemicals are potentially damaging to your health and contaminate waterways and harm the environment. Some studies have linked SLS to:
- irritation of the skin and eyes
- organ toxicity
- developmental/reproductive toxicity
- neurotoxicity, endocrine disruption, ecotoxicology, and biochemical or cellular changes
- possible mutations and cancer
Thankfully, there is an alternative that is equally as effective and less contaminating. Here we tell you how to make organic homemade detergent.
The benefits of making your own organic detergent
This is not about a rejection of modern living! Of course you want clean, fresh smelling clothes but you do not want to compromise your own health and the safety of the environment to get them! It is all about finding an effective alternative to chemical detergents. Natural detergents are also a lot cheaper so your bank balance benefits as well as your health.
It is important to realise that detergents soak into your clothing and some will stay there! They aren’t only damaging your skin and that of your children, but little by little, all of these chemical elements can cause other diseases that you are not aware of. The health effects of some of the detergent chemicals are still very poorly understood. It is also important to note that homemade natural detergents are 100% biodegradable. They will leave your clothing smooth and clean, but the difference is that you will find that when you take your clothes out of the washer, you won’t smell the characteristic perfume. This is not a bad point – it means that they have nasty residues on them!
How to make organic homemade detergent
What you need:
- A grater
- A kitchen measuring scale
- 75 g of natural soap
- 1 cup of baking soda
- 1.5 L of water
- A 2 litre bottle to put the homemade detergent
- 20 drops of essential oil of your own choice to perfume the detergent
How to make organic homemade detergent
- The whole process takes around 15 minutes. Start by grating the natural soap bar. You can do this by hand but it can take a long time and is quite tiring. You may find it much easier to use an electric grater or food processor with a grater attachment. You want medium sized flakes so don’t select the finest grating blade.
- Then you place the grated soap into the 2 litre bottle and add in the baking soda.
- Now, heat the 1.5 litres of water. It must be boiling hot when you pour it into the bottle containing the soap but must be poured very slowly.
- Mix all of the ingredients in the bottle together. Once this is mixed, add the 20 drops of essential oil. That’s it! Your homemade detergent is ready to use!
- You can store the detergent for a few weeks. Over this time it will change in appearance but will remain effective. Remember this is a natural product! Use it in the same way as you used commercial detergents and it is suitable for hand-washing and in washing machines.