Laundry detergent can be expensive, especially for those who wash clothes for big families. Laundry detergents can also be environmentally unfriendly as some contain unhealthy toxins that can pollute the air and the ground when they drain from the washing machine. And some surfactant agents in laundry detergent have been linked to certain types of cancer. Fortunately, you can find, and even make, cheap alternatives to laundry detergent.
According to Ecoble, one inexpensive, green alternative is to simply use soap in lieu of laundry detergent. Your clothes may come out feeling softer than if you used regular detergent. Using baking soda is another alternative to laundry detergent and a box is much less expensive. Baking soda can remove odors from clothing and keep them feeling soft. For bright colors, add a cup of regular vinegar to your washing machine; however, do not ever mix it with household bleach as toxic fumes can be released.
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Use an inexpensive baby shampoo and hand-wash your more delicate garments, such as silk blouses, as an alternative to using laundry detergent. Add a few teaspoons of vinegar as you rinse the garment to remove any soap residue. You can also use a bit of an inexpensive hair conditioner to leave the garment feeling soft.
Use washing soda as an alternative to laundry detergent when you want to remove stubborn stains such as grease or lipstick. Wear gloves when you make a paste from the washing soda to put on your clothes because it has a high alkaline pH level. While it does not emit any toxic fumes, you should wear gloves when handling it. You can find washing soda in the laundry aisle at the supermarket.
Toss a few soap nuts into a mesh bag and throw in with your laundry. The bag can be used for up to five loads of laundry and should be replaced when the nuts turn a grayish color. Soap nuts are an inexpensive and eco-friendly alternative to traditional laundry detergents. Soap nuts are berries that grow in India and in Nepal. Soap nuts contain saponin, which, according to Cornell University, are glycosides that lather like soap when agitated by water. Soap nuts can eliminate tough odors and keep your clothing soft. Tough stains such as blood may require a stain remover. Lemon juice or vinegar can be added to the wash, along with soap nuts, to keep colors bright.