All-natural and Plant-based Options for Your Laundry Care
Topics covered in this post:
Let's look into why I value using natural laundry detergent.
In many of my posts you will read about my passion for improving health and wellness, and educating others on how to do the same. We like to refer to a concept quickly becoming known as the "aggregation of marginal gains". This holistic approach takes a stance on the importance of small changes that lead to a big difference over time. The simple changes we make over time can either make or break our path to a better, more optimal lifestyle.
We have come to understand that removing traditional store-bought products from our home allows us to avoid unnecessary exposure to unwanted chemicals. When looking in the laundry room alone, hundreds of insidious chemicals might be lurking in items such as detergent and dryer sheets. By eliminating store-bought detergents and dryer sheets, we were another step closer to our ultimate goal of optimal natural health. This would prove to be an example of a small change that led to a large outcome over time.
Consider that, with store-bought laundry detergent, you are likely being exposed to:
With a natural laundry detergent (as described in the remainder of the article) you will have:
For those of you who are looking for other ways to reduce toxins in your home, please check out these 5 super simple homemade products.
Laundry Care, Dermal Absorption, and Overall Health Implications
We originally switched to Thieves Laundry soap before we ever attempted making our own. We eventually did start making our own which was much easier than I originally thought. Regardless, we now switch back and forth between the premade Thieves soap and our own DIY soap. The most important factor in all this is that most of our laundry is going to come into direct contact with our skin!
It is important to consider our skin when discussing health since it is the largest organ in the human body. It has many vital functions such as regulating body temperature, water absorption and regulation, and serves as the bodies first line of defense when considering immunity. The “skin also functions as a large storeroom for the body: the deepest layer of skin can store water, fat and metabolic products, and it produces hormones that are important for the whole body” (National Library of Medicine).
My eyes were truly opened when I learned about the serious health concerns of a very popular, supposedly healthy, scent free laundry detergent. I recently expanded further about how labels like this can be very misleading in the greenwashing post.
This popular product received a "health score" of F, which is obviously the worst possible score. Check out the link if you would like to learn about the associated health concerns with the ingredients in that product. To make matters worse, this is marketed as their "scent-free" detergent which connotes that it is their "healthy" option. Cut me a break! We need to improve our education and awareness and the only way to do this is via sharing. Share this post with a friend to help improve awareness.
There is growing concern that many chemicals in everyday products may disrupt endocrine function. This is a problem when considering the endocrine system is responsible for hormone production and regulation. Hormones serve as vital messengers to control and regulate important body functions such as growth, metabolism, cellular activity, and reproductive health to name a few. They further serve as communicators to assist with regulation of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) and have interactions with our cells all throughout our body.
It should cause some concern that what you apply in and around your body can directly or indirectly impact the type of communication throughout the systems of our body. Remeber the skin is an organ which experiences dermal absorption. Dermal absorption is “the transport of a chemical from the outer surface of the skin both into the skin and into the body” That said, it only makes sense to try our best to avoid conventional, store-bought, chemical-laden products. Instead strive for products with plant-based, known ingredients that are not listed as synonyms or more global terms such as "natural fragrance".
The products we choose to use impact the structure of our cells, signals to our hormones, and our DNA (genotype). Please consider that the dictionary definition of phenotype is "the set of observable characteristics of an individual resulting from the interaction of its genotype with the environment". See folks, our environment matters. Genes are only part of the story. What gets expressed (the traits that we observe such as onset of disease) is not only determined independently by our genotype. Rather, the traits observed is a combination of genotype and the environment.
Phenotype = Genotype + Environment.
In our home, we use caution when considering what products we use as many of these chemicals will be subject to dermal absorption. As we now know, dermal absorption has a very high likelihood of significantly impacting our phenotype. We only want our body to be exposed to natural ingredients that have no harmful effect on the system. The only reasonable way to accomplish this goal is to either make your own products or to purchase quality products that have been subjected to high rigors of testing and hold strict policies regarding labeling.
We found an excellent read directly from the CDC regarding skin, chemical exposure, and dermal absorption. Check it out if you want an even deeper dive into the hazards of chemical exposure as it relates to dermal absorption.
A More Natural Laundry Care Routine
Now that you have all of this information regarding chemicals, phenotypes, and dermal absorption, what do you plan on doing about it? Giving up is a terrible option (some would argue it is not even an option at all!). Instead, read on. You will find this is a much easier task to tackle than you might have imagined!
Practically speaking, there are two options. Buy the premade stuff (we really do still use this and like it quite a bit). Or go all out and make-your-own (we do that to).
Here are the two options for getting an affordable, all-natural laundry detergent:
Option 1. Homemade Laundry Soap
If your really into the DIY products, I’m still going to give you a few recipes. I personally order the detergent already made because it just makes my life a little easier. It’s nice to know these recipes in case I want to share or run out of my Thieves Laundry Detergent.
Recipe 1. Powder Detergent
Recipe 2. Liquid Detergent
Both of these work great for holding the liquid recipe:
Option 2. Young Living Thieves Laundry Detergent (they call it soap):
The product is scientifically formulated to gently, albeit very effectively, clean your laundry. It is formulated with natural plant-based ingredients and essential oils (it is all listed on the package and you can Google or EWG any of the ingredients). Natural enzymes and powerful essential oils like Thieves, Jade Lemon, and Bergamot, add to the formula’s strength, leaving your clothes fresh and clean with a light citrus scent. We find that the laundry detergent cleans well and is very economical. You really only need a fraction of the amount of conventional, store-bought detergent.
Using the Thieves Laundry Soap leaves your clothes truly clean without any chemical or synthetic residue. The laundry soap works in all washers, including high efficiency washers. It can be poured directly onto clothes or used as normal through in your washer's dispenser drawer.
To prove how economical it is, a 32 oz bottle of this highly concentrated formula will handle approximately 64 full loads of laundry!
When buying Thieves Laundry Soap, you know that it is formulated without:
Follow the proper washing instructions found on the garment’s label, then use Thieves Laundry Soap.
For an additional cleanse, we like to add white vinegar to our washer. We add the vinegar to the fabric softener compartment during each wash.
BONUS TIP: How to Dilute Young Living Thieves Laundry Detergent:
If your interested in making the Thieves Laundry Detergent last a little longer, here is a tip on how you can dilute the detergent. Since the detergent is highly concentrated, some people like to dilute the soap with Thieves Cleaner and water!
In 32 ounce container:
Other ingredients or recipes to use in the laundry room:
A Quick Word on Drying Your Laundry
Please consider the other half of the laundry equation, drying. Dryer sheets are a hidden source of synthetic fragrance which poses a significant health risk. Use these awesome DIY wool dryer balls instead.
Give your laundry a fresh start with using wool dryer balls. By doing the work and considering switching to natural laundry detergent, you want to skip out on the toxic dryer sheets too. Instead of the conventional dryer sheets, opt for wool dryer balls with a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Best of all, for all those frugal folks out there, these are reusable and very cost effective!
Dryer balls fluff up your laundry, prevent clothes from clumping, increase air circulation, and cut down the amount of time it takes your clothes to dry; they can cut your drying time by 25%!
I found that fabric softener and dryer sheets cause of indoor pollution. The “laundry smell” that people are used to is actually volatile, carbon-based chemicals that evaporate at room temperature and they are most commonly found in dryer sheets and fabric softeners. It’s so simple to find a chemical free way to freshen up your laundry than to exposed your skin to the harsh toxins.
Compliment the dryer balls with Lavender, Lemongrass, Purification, Lemon or Geranium essential oils. Wool Dryer Balls help reduce static, increase fluffiness, and soften clothes—all without any harsh perfumes or chemicals. When pairing them with Lemongrass or Lavender essential oil to enjoy a naturally derived springtime scent.
If you need any help making these recipes or getting your hands on Thieves Laundry Detergent, please let me know! I am happy to help you directly.
For anyone interested in learning even more, check these out...
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My name is Missy, a.k.a. The Oil Sister.
I am the owner of Essentially Well LLC and the primary author of
THE OIL SISTER.
Challenging myself to learn about natural health and wellness has been a life-changing experience for me. I want to share what I have learned with YOU!
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