May 18, 2009

clean and green

Living on a large creek that is part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed has made me very conscious of how my activities and choices impact the water we absolutely cannot live without. When I take my son on walks, I often pass right by the very sewage treatment plant that is used the treat the waste water from my own house before it is returned to a small stream just downstream from our house. I cannot pretend that what goes into our drains disappears and is magically replaced by pure, clean water.

I started making my own laundry soap so I would know exactly what ingredients I was dumping in my local waterways. It’s easier on our clothes, easy to make, and very affordable. Do a Google search and you will find a lot of different recipes out there, but this is the one I use because I can always find the ingredients and it is easy to remember.

Laundry Soap

1 bar Kirk’s Castile Soap

1 cup Washing Soda

1 cup Borax

Grate the bar of castile soap to make little beads of soap. You can also use a food processor to grate the soap, but slice the bar of soap into thin strips before you put it in the processor. I’ve also heard that a salad shooter works well. Mix the soap beads with the washing soda and borax, and store in an air proof container. Use 2-4 Tablespoons a load depending on the size of the load. You can also use Oxyclean Free or any bleach-free alternative in place of the Castile Soap, and this would be a better choice if you are washing diapers. This recipe is perfume-free, dye-free, phosphate-free, and biodegradable. It is also the perfect choice if you or your child has chemical sensitivities.

For stains, I use a 50/50 mix of regular Dawn and Dr. Bronners liquid Pure Castile Soap. This works really well on oily stains. I like Biokleen’s Bac-Out for food or organic stains.

And of course, hanging your clothes to dry keeps them from fading and is generally, much easier on them and a much greener choice than drying them in a clothes dryer. I have an indoor clothes drying rack that I use in the winter, and a retractable clothes line that I use when the weather is suitable for outdoor drying.

At 3, my son loves helping with the laundry. I think getting our children involved at an early age observing and participating in our green choices will make for a greener future and a healthier planet.