Dirty laundry. It's inevitable. It's always there. Even after a days work of washing all the clothes, when you go to bed there's a new pile. It's the one task you can never beat. I dislike doing laundry, and living in a camper it seems to be an even bigger task now. We do not have the room to get a washer/dryer in our little camper. So when it's time to do laundry we have to pack up the car and head over to my parents’ home to get it done.
|The never ending dirty laundry pile!|
Let's talk about the expense and chemicals that are involved in laundry. First off there are water bills, electric, detergents, stain remover, sometimes bleach, and dryer sheets. That can all ad up fast, especially if you have a larger family! And the chemicals, are you ready for this? Optical brighteners are used in many detergents now a days. Optical brighteners make your laundry look less yellow and more vibrant in colors by increasing the blue light reflected. These brighteners can cause skin irritations/allergic reactions as well as promote bacterial mutations. Phenols can cause toxicity through out the whole body, with symptoms such as pimples and hives, as well as swelling. Here’s a biggie! Petroleum distillates has been linked to cancer. If that’s not enough it can also cause lung inflammation and damage, as well as damage mucus membranes. Artificial fragrance… who doesn’t like the laundry smelling good and fresh?... can cause allergies and skin/eye irritations. EDTA and sodium sulfate have both been connected to asthma attacks and skin irritations. Is there more stuff in the detergents, yes, but this is my short list of boy do we need change!
Why is this chemical list important? Well besides the side effects, your skin is an organ. All of those chemicals stay on your clothing and in return your clothing rest on your skin, therefore those chemicals rest on your skin. Once again, your skin is an organ, meaning it soaks up those chemicals that are sitting our your skin 24//7. The only time your skin is not resting against your clothing or sheets or towels (on average) is when you are in the shower. So really it is about 24/7 your skin is soaking up possible chemicals.
Since there are six of us using the washer at my parents we make our detergent by the 5 gallons. It is simple to make and anyone can do it! Are you ready for the ingredients? It’s a long list!!!! Here it is: water, fels-naptha soap bar, borax, and washing soda. What might the start up cost be to do this? Less than $10. With fels-naptha being about 97 cents a bar and borax or washing soda less than $4 a box (Walmart prices) It’s easy and cheap! You can add essential oils to the mix for a nicer smell, but I will add that it has a fresh lemony smell to begin with.
Heres how it works:
What you need- Grader/knife, 5 gallon bucket, pot, fels-naptha, washing soda, borax, water
1. Grade (I use a knife and thinly slice) the fels-naptha and melt it in a pot with water on the stove. Amount of water is not important as you will fill the 5 gallon bucket with water too. Stay with it as it may boil over the pot if not stirred.
2. Fill your 5 gallon bucket about half way full with hot water. Add ½ cup of washing soda and 1 cup of borax to the bucket and then pour in the pot of melted soap and water. Now stir until the borax and washing soda is dissolved. Be careful not to burn yourself!
3. Once it is all dissolved, fill the bucket to the top with hot water. Place the lid on and sit it aside over night.
In the morning you will have a mix of gel and water. It’s ready! You can stir up the gel and make it more liquidly, but we don’t and we haven’t had any issues with it. Use ½ cup for a large load of laundry or ¼ cup for a small load. Skip the fabric softener and use distilled white vinegar. You know have yourself some super cheap, much healthier detergents that clean your laundry. We have been happy with this combo for almost a year now. We clean muddy little boys clothing, sweaty work out clothes, stinky/greasy pizza hut uniforms, everyday wear, dog beds/blankets and we are very pleased.
Now to replace that bleach and dryer bill… Use a solar dryer! The clothes line!! You can save upwards of $30 a month! Isn’t that awesome! Plus it smells great, you don’t need to have a large yard to do it (you can even dry clothes in an apartment or camper). It is free! Can’t beat the price. All you need to do this is good rope and clothes pins or drying racks and hangers! The sun helps to white.
You may say you don’t like stiff jeans and towels. Well, the little secret your dryer doesn’t want you to know is that it slowly dissolves fibers while it’s shooting hot air into your clothing. As the fibers are being broken apart they get stiff when air dried. We bought some new towels. sheets and jeans. They have never been in the dryer and 4 months later of air drying they are still as soft as the day we bought them.