These DIY alternatives are better for you—and the environment. 

By Katie Holdefehr
March 24, 2020

If you're searching for homemade laundry detergent because you want laundry solutions that are better for your own health or for the health of our planet, you've come to the right place. These DIY, eco-friendly laundry detergent and stain remover recipes cover both wishes. In National Geographic's new book, Attainable Sustainable: The Lost Art of Self-Reliant Living, written by eco-expert Kris Bordessa, you'll find dozens of ideas and recipes for making everything from radish leaf pesto to homemade cleaning wipes.

As many of us are currently in quarantine because of the novel coronavirus—busy re-learning how to bake our own bread, unclog drains, and hand-wash our clothing—a book dedicated to the lost art of self-reliance now feels serendipitously timed. To help us get started, here are two homemade, eco-friendly laundry solutions from the book. Mix up this homemade laundry detergent and DIY stain remover using ingredients you already have on-hand, or add these basic supplies to your shopping list for the next time you're able to restock. 

RELATED: 12 Laundry Mistakes You’re Probably Making

DIY Powdered Laundry Soap 

Commercial laundry soaps typically emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) every time you use them. Ditch these air pollutants by mixing up the homemade laundry soap below instead. 

What You'll Need:

  • 5 (3-ounce) bars of Castile soap
  • 2 ½ cups washing soda (usually sold in the supermarket’s laundry section)
  • 5 cups borax
  • 1 ¼ cup citric acid (optional, as a laundry booster)
  • Food processor

Follow These Steps:

1. Chop the soap into small chunks. Put half the soap in a food processor along with half the washing soda. Process with a metal 5-blade until the soap is very fine. Repeat with the remaining soap and washing soda.

2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Store in an airtight container.

3. Use 2 to 3 tablespoons of laundry soap per load.

Homemade Stain Remover

Spills are bound to happen. When they do, use a bit of this homemade stain solution. 

What You'll Need:

  • 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide
  • 1/4 cup liquid Castile soap
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • Squeeze bottle

Follow These Steps:

1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Stir gently to combine and dissolve the baking soda. 

2. Transfer the mixture to an upcycled plastic squeeze bottle. 

3. To use, gently shake the bottle, then squeeze a bit on stains. Rub the fabric together to work the stain remover into the fibers, then launder as usual. 

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