Vinegar and Baking Soda Laundry Detergent

I first started to become aware of the negative, toxic effect of many household chemicals when my mom was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago. Since then, my family and I have been on the hunt for a healthier, more natural lifestyle without many of the toxic chemicals that have infiltrated our daily life. When I had my first daughter, something that came up was trying to find a mild laundry detergent to use on her clothes. However, the more research I did, the more I realized that while 'mild' detergents may have less nasty chemicals - it still has loads of chemicals. Disgusted, I abandoned the idea of using detergent, and began searching for natural alternatives. I soon stumbled upon vinegar and baking soda and decided to give it a try. After a few failed attempts at getting the recipe right, I finally came up with something that works exactly the same as any other detergent. Keep in mind that this isn't some kind of "super soap" though. It takes a little extra time and work to get results. Also, if you have tough stains that you want to remove, they're going to need some extra attention and care. However, for me the benefits are tremendous and far outweigh the extra work. Not only do I get fresh, clean clothes, that are chemical and toxin free, but I'm doing it a fraction of the cost of regular soap! (Not to mention the earth is thanking me for not polluting it!) This is also a great alternative for people who are sensitive to regular laundry detergent, and who's skin is easily irritated. (Not to mention that sensitive newborn baby skin - nobody wants to put chemicals on their brand new baby!)

So far the most effective way I've found to get my clothes clean is to soak them in hot water and 1 - 2 cups of vinegar for about 20min. Next you simply drain the water, add 2 - 4 tbsp of baking soda, and run the washer for a normal cycle. You can adjust the amount of vinegar and baking soda you use depending on how dirty the clothes are, and how big of a load it is. The baking soda also acts as a fabric softener, so you can throw the clothes right into the dryer (or better yet, hang them out on a clothes line) and they'll be plenty soft.


~Try not to overfill the washer with clothes. Too many clothes will hinder the washers ability to get them properly clean. 
 ~You can adjust the amount of vinegar and baking soda you use depending on how dirty the clothes are, and how big of a load it is. You can also soak the clothes longer to give the vinegar more time to break down the food and sweat in the clothes.
~For really nasty smelly stuff (like dishcloths) I put them in a small separate bowl and cover them in boiling water and some lemon juice to sit for a bit before washing to help kill the bacteria that make it stink.
~If you can't stand the smell of dirty clothes soaking in vinegar, add a few drops of your favourite essential oil. It will kill the stink, and leave a fresh, non-chemical smell on your clothes.
~For tough stains, try to get the clothing item in a sink of hot water and vinegar as soon as the stain occurs, and use an old toothbrush to rub in some baking soda. This is usually sufficient to get most stains out.

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