We’ve come up with a full dossier with all our tried and tested products to give you the best tools for an eco-friendly laundry room.
Either for your health or for the planet, changing over to natural laundry products is a great way to minimize your ecological footprint.
As previously mentioned in our DIY Body butter article (here), our skin absorbs pretty much everything we put on it very quickly. This rule also applies to the products we use when washing our clothes, such as laundry detergent as well as a fabric softener. Synthetic perfumes, bleaching agent, phosphate, etc. are all ingredients that are found in most store-bought detergent and are all quite toxic for us (allergies, endocrine disrupters, carcinogens etc.) as well as our waterways (what’s up blue-green algae contaminated waters)
So here are our simple solutions to making a change, and contributing to greener laundry habits.
This is honestly a lot more effective than any store-bought solution we’ve used in the past, and so much cheaper. Marseille Soap is a miracle-maker!
All you have to do is wet the stain with a bit of water and then rub the soap onto it, and you’ll see the stain disappear. Plus, the bloc of soap will last you a very long time.
Watch out for copy-cats, true-blue Marseille soap is made with Olive oil and not with Palm oil (which is the worst for our environment!). And last but not least, Marseille Soap is something you can use around the house, you can use it in the shower to wash, or maybe even try out a DIY you’ve seen to make your own natural cleaning solutions!
Our whites have never been wither than since we’ve started using Sodium Percarbonate. It’s much more efficient than bleach, and so much better for the environment. It will whiten your whites without making them yellow. Soak your items in warm water for 24 hours, with a bit of Sodium Percarbonate and then wash them as you usually would, and they will come out shining. This is such a well-kept secret; you must try it out! It’ll change the way you “bleach.”
Ps. It’s a great tool to wash your bulk bags!
Find an all-natural, perfume & allergen free detergent! You get bonus points if it’s also purchased in bulk!
You can always make your own detergent (see recipe below), it’s simply made with a few ingredients, or you can also purchase it ready-made. Many Québec-based companies make green laundry detergents (Planette, Pure, Baléco, The Unscented Company, Attitude etc.)
DIY Powdered detergent
This is the recipe that Laurie has tried and teste for us, and it’s an easy one to make at home. It also works very well on all clothing type. This might not make you save all the money, but you’ll know that you can list all the ingredients in your homemade soap off the top of your head, and you’ll be able to personalize it as your own with your favourite fragrance.
- 1 Madame Blancheville soap bar from the Savonnerie des Dilligences ( Marseille soap also works very well for this)
- 1 cup of Borax
- 1 cup of soda crystals
- Your choice of essential oils (the Jacynthe homemade laundry mix, Lavender, Geranium, Eucalyptus, etc.!)
Blend the soap bar in a blender. Add the remaining ingredients in the blender then blend until well-combined. Pour the mix into your preferred container and add a spoonful of this mix to your next laundry load!
*Make sure you blend the soap entirely for it to dissolve well in the machine. It was also noticed that this detergent washed clothes better when used with warm water rather than cold water.
**Recipe is inspired by the Amanda Waters blog
DIY Liquid detergent
My very first DIY laundry detergent recipe was Jacynthe Renée’s recipe.It was one I used for a while, it’s straightforward to put together and doesn’t require many ingredients.
- 2 litres of water
- 150g (275ml) of shredded Marseille soap (I had used the Madame Blancheville soap for the Savonnerie des Dilligences)
- 150g (115ml) of soda crystals
- 90 ml of baking soda
- Your preferred selection of essential oils (Lavender, mint, geranium, lemon etc.)
Boil the shredded soap in 1 litre of water while continuously stirring for approximately 10 minutes. After this, remove from heat and let cool.
Mix the crystals with the remaining litre of water in another container.
Add the water and crystal mix to the soapy water and shake.
Add the essential oils.
*You can always use a hand mixer to blend everything together.
Add 15ml-30ml to each load, depending on how dirty the clothes are.
Shake well before using.
Another exciting option is soap nuts. They can be composted, and come from a natural resource (the soap tree.) All you have to do is add a few halves of nuts in a bulk bag into your load, and you’re all set! They can then be used to up to three times and will not damage your clothes. These are perfect for your regular laundry days, but might not be enough when the load is extra dirty.
We personally have stopped using all fabric softener when doing laundry a few years ago, and we must admit that there is pretty much absolutely no change to our clothes (actually, to be honest, our towels absorb better!). Fabric softener is the most toxic products in the laundry industry; they have a ton of synthetic perfume in them. If you want to naturally softener your clothes, just add a bit of white vinegar to your machine when washing, in the fabric softener compartment.
You’ll obviously have to get used to your clothes not smelling like “fresh” laundry, but you can always use all kinds of essential oils to add some fragrance to your clothes.
Fabric water can quickly be put together (see recipe below), and then spray onto your drying clothes to add your favourite homemade scent.
- 15ml of Grain Alcohol (same as we use for the deodorant DIY) or vodka
- 20 drops of your preferred selection of essential oils (Lavender, Eucalyptus, Lemongrass etc.)
Add to a spray bottle and shake before using.
We discovered these a few years ago, and we then proceeded to buy some for our whole family!
You can naturally add fragrance to your laundry by dropping a few drops of essential oils to them, and they reduce drying time by creating movement in the dryer (as would tennis balls), but they also prevent any wrinkling. All in all? We love them.
They last for up to 2 years, depending on how much you use them, they can also be composted at the end of their lives, since they are entirely made out of wool.
We always dry to limit our dryer usage, and we let our clothes air-dry as often as possible to keep them for as long as we can, and when your electricity bill comes in lower because of it, it’s definitely a bonus!
Buy them here
For those stronger smells (oh hi honey’s sports clothes!) it’s very simple. All you have to do is soak them in some water with baking soda to eliminate any bacterial odours. And ps. If the sporting clothes come with stinky feet, just add some baking soda directly into the shoes!
You can always add a bit of baking soda to the washing machine to soften the water a bit, but make sure you read your labels because it can damage silk or wool! It’s also an excellent grease remover and will super-charge your detergent.
It’s always best to make sure you wash your clothes only when they are dirty. We often wash a lot more than we truly need, which then shortens their lifespan and wastes a lot of water. Always keep in mind that #LessIsMore. Simply hang them to freshen them up.
All these tips and tricks will help preserve our waterways and will clean out your laundry room in a jiffy, and you’ll save a lot by purchasing your soap in bulk.
Happy laundry making!