Alternative to conventional laundry detergent

I’ve been doing my own laundry powder for 3 years now and I have to say that I’m very satisfied with it. It washes as well as industrial detergents and is much environment friendly! In the early days, I used to do my liquid laundry detergent but it takes a lot of time and I inhaled a lot of soap and other products fumes, it wasn’t pleasant.  That’s how I wondered why I was diluting the soap in water? I’ve come to make my own laundry powder. It takes me about 1 hour to do 2.5kg of laundry powder. I prepare 10kg of powder a year. Occasionally, I dilute the powder to wash black clothes.

Ingredients for 600g of detergent:

  • 300g of Marseille or Aleppo soap flakes
  • 150g of soda crystals (Attention, this is not caustic soda!)
  • 150g of baking soda
  • 100g of sodium percarbonate (optional bleaching agent)
  • 100 drops of blended essential oils to choose from (Lavender, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, lemon…)

How to Proceed:

Blend the soap flakes in a blender. Incorporate the soda crystals, baking soda and essential oils. Mix all the ingredients well. Transfer your laundry powder to your usual container and that’s it!   For your white laundry, add one tablespoon of sodium percarbonate to your dose of detergent. Sodium percarbonate is a bleaching agent. It only takes effect from 40°C.

The powder is not ideal for washing black laundry, it may leave white spots. It’s better to liquefy it. To make liquid laundry detergent, use the same ingredients and dilute them in very hot, but not boiling water, as soap would foam a lot. Introduce essential oils only once the preparation has cooled down. When it cools down, the detergent will harden. If this is the case, add water and stir the detergent until a homogeneous mixture is obtained. Store the detergent in a can that you will shake vigorously before each use. As the detergent is diluted, it will be less effective.

Is this powder more economical?

Let’s compare the prices. I am very bad at math and I don’t take into account the prices of essential oils in the calculation.

  •  1 packet of laundry powder costs 6.94€ per kg. I chose as reference the big box of 2.5 kg of Ariel at Carrefour – 39 washes at 17,60€
  •   The bag of 1 kg of Marseille soap flakes costs about 10€
  • 1kg of baking soda is 5€
  • 1kg of soda crystals is 5€
  • 10ml HE about 5€ each for medium ranges

I do about 40 washes with 2.5kg of powder.

600g of powder costs me 4.83€, so  1 kg costs 8.05 € which is more expensive than the Ariel detergent sold at Carrefour. The funny thing is that the same detergent sold in 650g boxes costs 7,25€ that is 11,15€/kg. In this case, our homemade laundry powder is much more economical!

What about the environment?

The adverse health and environmental effects of mass-market productions are now well known. I don’t exactly know the impact of simple soap on the environment but it must be much less violent than industrial detergents.

Let’s compare their compositions.

  • Marseille soap is composed of vegetable oil and soda.
  • Aleppo soap is composed of olive oil and bay leaf oil.  (source wikipedia)

Nothing really harmful here…

Here is the composition of Ariel powder:

  •   15-30% Oxygen-Based Bleaching Agents
  • 5-15% Anionic Surfactants
  • <5% Non-Ionic Surfactants
  • Phosphonates
  • Polycarboxylates
  • Zeolites
  • Enzymes
  • Optical Brighteners
  • Perfumes
  • Coumarin
  • Geraniol
  • Hexyl Cinnamal

Without being a scientist, I strongly doubt that such a composition is gentle with the environment and our health. In fact, if you know the effects of detergents, do not hesitate to leave a comment. Moreover, these detergents are known to be allergenic.

Conclusion:

The homemade laundry powder is not necessarily cheaper than the traditional laundry detergent sold in supermarkets. In fact, it’s roughly the same price. By using your homemade laundry powder, you contribute to the wellbeing of your household AND the environment. That’s only good reasons for me to stop using them!

I hope I convinced you to make your laundry powder yourself!

Are you already doing it? Please share your recipe in the comments!

Disclaimer: The products in this recipe are potentially dangerous if misused. Do not leave these products within reach of children. Always read the instruction manual of a product before using it for the first time. Essential oils should be used sparingly. Find out before using them. This article is the fruit of my personal experience. I decline all responsibility for the consequences of improper use of the products mentioned.   

The pictures of this article belong to me except for the 1st one which is a free image found on pixabay.com.

Post written by Delphine Stein