Features

Determining Alternatives to Market Detergent

IMAGE BY ERIK MAGNUSON

By Sierra K. Anseeuw
STAFF WRITER

I could go on for days about all the household products that are bad for both the environment and us. Instead, I’ll just focus on laundry detergent.

Many traditional detergents contain alkyl phenol ethoxylates that can damage our immune system, cause rashes and are often contaminated with carcinogens. Phosphates, when released into our water systems, cause algal blooms, which can release toxic fumes into the air and also kill other freshwater and marine life.

There are a number of “green” laundry detergents on the market, but these can be pricey and it may be even more overwhelming trying to figure out if the detergent you bought is actually better than Tide. One way to avoid this dilemma is to make your own detergent.

There are a number of recipes on the web, some of which use only castile soap and baking soda and all of which give you tons of detergent for cheaper than you can imagine.

For the detergent that I make and use:

• Grate a bar of laundry soap and melt it in a saucepan with some water.

• Pour the melted soap into a five-gallon bucket filled halfway with hot water.

• Add a cup of washing soda and half a cup of Borax.

• Stir, cover and let sit overnight.

• The next day the detergent should be pretty gel-like.

• It’s super concentrated, so I generally fill an old container half with water and half with detergent and  use about a half cup per load.

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