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You can help protect your baby’s skin by laundering his clothes with detergent containing just the most basic ingredients. That means without questionable additives like sodium laurel sulfate (which shows up even in many baby detergents) or other possible irritants. Plus, making your own detergent is quick and cheap! Check out the recipe and tips below to make laundry day greener.


Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe

Makes appox 1/2 gal.

And… that’s it, two ingredients! Chop up or grate the soap and mix with the washing soda. Use 1-2 tablespoons per load of laundry.

What about borax? Many homemade laundry detergents use borax. However, there’s concern over whether or not it’s safe and a possible skin irritant. Furthermore, most commercial detergents contain either washing soda or borax, so it is not necessary. It is also most effective in hot water, so if you wash your clothes in cold or warm water, washing soda is a better choice.
For loads of whites, add 1/2 cup of peroxide in the bleach compartment. The peroxide and washing soda together do the same thing as OxiClean.

What about fabric softener?

Instead of commercial fabric softeners, keep a bottle of white distilled vinegar in your laundry room. Add about 1/2 cup per load to the rinse compartment. Vinegar is a great fabric softener and also helps remove leftover soap residue.

You should always wash new clothes once or twice before use to get rid of any sizing or chemical finishes that may be applied (although some like formaldehyde are difficult and perhaps impossible to remove, so buy organic when possible!) Individuals with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS) often soak clothes in vinegar before use. So if your baby has sensitive skin, you can also stop the wash cycle and let the clothes soak with vinegar or run them through a few extra rinse cycles with vinegar.


Go even more natural on laundry day by eliminating dryer sheets, which commonly contain a host of yucky and unnecessary chemicals. You can fluff your laundry, reduce static cling, and decrease drying time with simple wool balls (and they can be used when drying cloth diapers!). You can buy them already made or make them yourself.

Easy DIY Baby Laundry Detergent 1 Daily Mom Parents Portal

If you want to DIY, you’ll need two 2 skeins of 100% wool yarn (check the label, it’s important that it be 100%) to make 4-5 wool balls and some steel wool. Simply wad the end of the yarn up until you can begin wrapping around it. Wrap tightly into a ball about the size of a tennis ball. Thread the end through several layers to secure it.

To felt wool you need heat and agitation. Add the wool balls to a pot of water and heat. Remove individually and rub the surface gently with steel wool. Repeat several times for each dryer ball. If you do not have any steel wool handy you can use anything to agitate the surface. Or, you can add the wool balls to a pair of pantyhose, tying each end off with a rubber band, and run them through several wash cycles with hot water and dryer cycles on high heat.

Want more ideas and tips on going green? Check out Daily Mom’s GREEN category!

Photo credit: The Whimsical Photographer