Pure Living–Laundry Edition

Laundry Detergent 2

It wasn’t until we had our first giveaway, and I saw all the comments about allergies, eczema, dry skin, and itching that it clicked why this post is so necessary.

I planned it for much later in the line, but after hearing YOU, I knew God was leading me to write it this week.

We’ve talked a lot about chemicals on and in our food, and just briefly about chemicals that enter our body through our skin.

Let’s just think about it for a second.  We are dry and itchy most of the time (especially in the winter). Our bodies are flooded with chemicals and then we use more chemicals (through medicines or topical products) to try to reduce the dry skin. Chemical on top of chemical doesn’t equal health.

On this journey, I’ve learned many things, but one of the biggest pieces of beauty information I’ve learned is that our SKIN TELLS A STORY.  The outside of our skin tells us when something’s not right.

Whether it be eczema, acne, or psoriasis, the symptoms are giving us clues. I’m not a doctor, and I can’t tell you anything medical about this.  (Most doctors won’t connect diet/lifestyle with these things anyways).

What I can tell you is that I KNOW through personal experience (as a former sufferer of extreme eczema, asthma, and psoriasis) that you can lessen and sometimes eliminate these ailments through diet and natural products.

I still have some flare-ups and some acne or patches of psoriasis every so often, but I know they are mostly related to stress (something else to deal with, too!).  So when that happens, I get stricter about my routines, slow down a little bit, rest a little more, and get back to me!

Now–this post…..I’m laughing a little in my head because I remember several years ago judging moms who made their own laundry detergent.  I thought several times (ok, maybe more than that), “Aren’t they just awesome?  They can have dinner in the crockpot by 9 am, workout, homeschool, read books, AND make their own laundry detergent–all with a pleasant attitude?”

Ok, I was majorly stereotyping. And probably not being very Christ-like.

Now that I make my own, I don’t know what my problem was.  I honestly think it was some sort of jealously rearing its ugly head making me think that I was inadequate.

{Actually, I’m not inadequate.  I’m unique & loved by a King, even if it has taken me a little bit longer to understand this whole “natural laundry thing” ;)}

Now, what I do know about natural ways to wash clothes is:

  1. it’s incrediblly cheap (MUCH cheaper than traditional products and MUCH MUCH cheaper than the safe, chemical free kinds)
  2. it takes less than five minutes to make

Those are two criteria for me in this stage of life. It must be cheap and easy. I bet it takes less time to make this blend than it does to stand around at Earth Fare trying to find the right plant based, chemical free laundry detergent.

**Let me just say that there are a plethora of “natural” products out there that you can spend a gazoodle (did I just make that up?!) amounts of money on.  One of the biggest complaints I get from people is that the “natural” lifestyle is too expensive.  And they are right….if they buy all the stuff in the stores!  The intention of this post is to show how inexpensive natural living CAN be–using common, inexpensive ingredients.  It may not make your clothes exactly as they used to be (I actually like mine better now), but it’s all just part of the transition away from the chemical life.

For our laundry routine, there are three steps, and that’s it.

  1. Laundry Detergent
  2. Fabric Softener
  3. Dryer care

1. Laundry Detergent:

Up until several months ago, our go-to laundry detergent was Seventh Generation.  I have absolutely NO complaints about this product.  If you aren’t looking to save money, and need something quick, easy, and NOW, I would HIGHLY recommend this product.  It’s among the safest on the market–but it comes with a hefty price tag.  Unfortunately for too long I believed this was my only answer.

Nope.  Here’s another one 🙂

How to make homemade laundry detergent:


First:  You’ll need to buy 3 ingredients (and then use some baking soda from your cabinet)


1. Borax: known as sodium borate, is basically just a white mineral (in powdered form)

2. Washing Soda: known as sodium carbonate, is a chemical compound that will bring the stains out of your clothes

3. Dr. Bronner’s Soap Bar: a pure, organic bar of soap that uses Essential Oils, not chemical fragrances, to clean and heal (I LOVE the peppermint bar in my laundry detergent, but lavender [in my opinion] is probably best for those with sensitive skin because lavender essential oil is used to heal skin rashes–there’s also a pure bar with no scents, as well).

**I found all of these ingredients at my local Kroger, which is a major score.  The Borax & washing soda were both on the regular laundry aisle, hiding on the bottom shelf in the middle (as if that description actually helps!!) The Dr. Bronner’s Soap is in the organic section on the aisle with body products and diapers.


*For this, you’ll make as much or little as you want…

2 parts Borax

2 parts Washing soda

1 part  grated soap (yep, that’s right–grate it with your cheese grater)

a few teaspoons of baking soda

Grated soap

Store in large container.  Use 1/8 cup for small loads and 1/4 cup larger loads.  If you have an extra rinse cycle, make sure to turn it on.  I’ve washed my loads with both, and if I don’t have my extra rinse cycle on, then I usually see a few pieces of the grated soap on the clothes. Still–much better than a coating of chemicals 😉

When I make a batch, I just use one bar of grated soap so my ratios come to ……

  • 1.5 cups grated soap
  • 3 cups Borax
  • 3 cups Washing Soda
  • 3-4 teaspoons (or so) of Baking Soda

2. Fabric Softener

VinegarAs with the laundry detergent, you can spend lots of money buying chemical free softeners, or you can use a natural and CHEAP alternative:  VINEGAR.

That’s right, plain ole vinegar. A big container of it from Costco is only about $3 and will last you pretty much forever.  Ok, not forever, but a really, really long time.

It’s plain and simple.  Pour about a cup in the fabric softener part of your washer and let it do its job (or put in a Downy ball).  No, your clothes won’t smell like vinegar. If you want a boost, you can add a couple of drops of your favorite essential oils to the mixture: Lavender will have a calming effect, peppermint (aside from smelling minty and wonderful) will help fight stains or super smelly clothes (maybe baby spit up, sweaty clothes), or a citrus oil like lemon or sweet orange will lift your spirits.

*A note about Essential Oils:  Many people think Essential Oils are weird.  To be honest, I think chemicals are weird.  There’s nothing crazy or hippie or tree huggin’ about Essential Oils.  They are merely concentrated oils from plants that just happen to have amazing healing benefits. In fact, essential oils are how I made it through winter without a hint of a sickness or a trip to the doctor.  Essential oils are like food in my opinion:  the better the quality, the better the effect.  I do not represent any Essential Oil company. but two companies I recommend are Young Living and doTerra. If you prefer to buy them without having to wait on an order, try your local health food store in the body care section!

Why use vinegar?

  • It’s a natural softener
  • It’s antibacterial
  • It will help keep your washer clean
  • It will help keep static down in the dryer
  • It’s insanely cheap

3. Dryer Care

This will blow your mind.  1 ingredient needed….And it’s aluminum foil.

1 step only…..ball up a sheet of tin foil and place in dryer.

FoilIt’s crazy, but it works.  No it will not catch your dryer on fire (think about zippers & metal buttons)….

Just keep the ball in the dryer until it starts falling apart, then replace with a fresh one.

You can also put about 5 drops of your favorite Essential Oil on a rag and add that in there too, for an extra boost.


Well–that’s it.  3 simple steps & a few easy ingredients.  Now, there’s no argument that natural living costs more. It might be different at first and may take a little searching for a few things, but it definitely won’t cost you more money.

I’m excited to hear your stories this week when you try it!

Pure Living Thoughts:

  1. Why do I do “what I’ve always done”?
  2. What guides my decisions when it comes to purchasing home/laundry products?  Do chemicals play any role in that decision? Why or why not?
  3. Is it possible that my skin is telling me a story?  What story do you think your skin is telling?
  4. Am I willing to try something new AND benefit my body at the same time? (and save some moolah!)

Verse for the week:

2 Corinthians 7:1:  Dear friends, we have these promises from God. So let us make ourselves pure from everything that pollutes our bodies and spirits. Let us be completely holy. We want to honor God. (NIRV)



8 thoughts on “Pure Living–Laundry Edition

    1. McKenna Hydrick Post author

      I looked it up on some other blogs because I don’t have a front loader. Most people say it’s fine, and that the main issue with most laundry detergents in front loaders are that they foam. This mixture doesn’t foam up. I would give it a try for sure (using the vinegar, too) and see. It really should work. If for some reason it doesn’t, you are only out about $10! If you try it, please come back and let us know–in case other readers have the same question!

  1. Stephanie Henderson

    I have a HE front load washer and looked up if it was okay to use this. I found three things: 1) most HE front loaders come with powder or liquid dispenser. In mine, personally, the tray where I pour the liquid in comes out and I can put the powder in there. 2) another blog that posted a recipe (not as chemical free) for wash powder said she uses it in her HE front loader and just puts it straight in the wash barrel. She said she uses 2 tablespoons per load but she also had OxiClean and Purex Crystals in hers. I will not use that so I will probably stick to McKenna’s measurements on here. 3) you can dissolve your homemade powder in some warm water before adding it. I will not be doing this if I don’t have to. I don’t even like washing clothes to begin with, so why would I want to add another step?!?! …here’s to hoping one of the first two things work!!

  2. Anna Major

    Making this! Thank you for sharing! Our little one has been needing to be slathered with eczema lotion twice a day. I am so excited to see if a chemical free switch will give her some relief! I will keep you updated on the results!

  3. Karen Turner

    This is a very interesting post! Especially since I just found out that chemical fabric softeners are also extremely flammable! My aunt recently held a lighter up to a loose thread on a towel in order to cut it off, and the whole thing went up in flames in a matter of seconds! The fabric softener residue had built up on the surface of the towel. Apparently vinegar is also a great way to remove that residue from your clothes. Thanks for sharing this. Maybe it would help with Grace’s eczema too.

    1. McKenna Hydrick Post author

      That’s crazy, Karen! There are so many examples as to why I don’t want the regular stuff touching my skin, and that’s just one of them! I hope this starts a great journey to helping with Grace’s eczema!

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