More Green For Less Green

Living more eco-friendly for less money


9 Changes for 2009- #6 Laundry Detergent

  1. Cut out commercial breakfast bars
  2. Cut out canned beans
  3. Ditch premade hummus (and all those containers)
  4. Use only environmentally friendly dish detergent
  5. Shop Used First

  6. Use only environmentally friendly laundry detergent
    (my preference is homemade)

I've already blogged about homemade eco-friendly laundry detergent here (with additional pictures here). But now, four months into using it, I can report back that it works, it really works! We haven't had any problems and that first batch I made has lasted us until now. As I get ready to whip up some more I am weighing reusing the milk jugs and hosing to siphon it in versus using a five-gallon lidded bucket from Home Depot. I've been on the search for a used bucket, but old ones seems to all have had paint or food in them previously, which I am not keen on. The thought of pickle-scented laundry soap makes me just ill.

For newcomers, here is a quick summary of why to consider eco-friendly laundry detergent:

Pretty much all conventional laundry detergents also contain phosphates and bleach, like dishwasher detergent does. (Read the issues with them here if you missed that post.) Most conventional laundry detergents also contain non bio-degradable, petroleum-based ingredients. I bet you picked up on the first problem right away: non bio-degradable. That means it doesn't disappear when it goes down your drain. Realizing that water facilities simply cannot clean out every single thing from the water, and the fact that the stuff they do clean out has to be disposed of somehow was huge wake up call to me. Previously, it had really been out of sight—down the drain—and out of mind for me. But, that simply is not reality.

Then there is the big issue that petroleum is a non-renewable resource. I think we all know what that means since petroleum is hugely politically charged. Reducing American dependence on foreign oil is something we can hear on the news every single day, as are finding new places to drill and the ethics of if we should drill in those places.

Traditional detergents in the US also tend to contain ingredients that have already been banned overseas because of their impact to the environment or personal health, bleach, and artificial fragrances which may exacerbate allergies. (Remember that you can always look up the safety sheet for your favorite detergent here.)

In addition to checking out my previous entries, fellow blogger Kath has some interesting things to say about her experience with making laundry detergent. Check it out here.

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