Did you know that many household cleaning products can be made very easily and cheaply with products you may already have in the home? I find that these homemade products, in addition to being non-toxic, often work much better than their chemical counterparts! I stopped buying toxic commercial laundry detergent in favor of an all natural laundry detergent, but still felt like I could get even more eco-friendly while saving money, so I decided to make my own. Now not only do I have soft, fresh smelling clean laundry for pennies on the dollar, I reduced my plastic container consumption! This detergent is safe for high efficiency machines.
1 bar laundry soap (I used Fels-Naptha)
11/2 c Borax (NOT boric acid)
1 1/2 c washing soda (I purchased Arm & Hammer - this is not the same as baking soda)
10-15 drops of essential oils - I recommend lavender, lemon, orange, grapefruit or rosemary
Grate the bar of soap with a cheese grater. Add remaining ingredients. Store in a tub. Add scant handful to laundry - in the drum not in the detergent cup. This lasted for about 32 loads before we had to make more. The bar costs me .97c each time I make a batch; I bought a box of Borax for $3.97 which will last me about 12 batches and a box of washing soda for $3.24 which will last me about 9 batches. So each batch of laundry detergent that does 32 loads costs approximately $1.66 plus the cost of the 10-15 drops of whatever essential oil you use!
You can add white vinegar to the wash for a great fabric softener.
Use a dryer ball (purchased or make your own wool dryer ball) in the dryer for more softening and shorter drying time. (of course, line dry when possible)
For dryer sheets to add more nice smell to your clothes- cut old t-shirts or other cotton cloth into squares and add 3-5 drops of essential oils.