November 1, 2021 kstearns

Over the past few years, I embarked on a journey to reduce the use of plastic in my home, one of the only places in the world I can control, of course with the exception of my two teenage daughters! After testing many recipes from sites like like Humbled Homemaker, Everyday Cheapskate, and Mommypotomus.  I developed recipes with a few simple ingredients, ones you can already find around your house. Most of these ingredients are packaged sustainably, or at least available in refillable or large sizes.

Here is the list:

  1. Super Washing Soda (sodium carbonate) 
  2. Baking Soda (sodium bicarbonate) 
  3. Coarse Salt
  4. Castile Bar Soap 
  5. Castile Liquid Soap 
  6. Lemon Juice 
  7. Vinegar
  8. Your Favorite Essential Oils 

Both Super Washing Soda and Baking Soda come in 3-4lb boxes, which can be purchased from stores like Lowes and Walmart or ordered online. There are bulk deals online for most of these ingredients as well. However, one must be careful about the packaging associated with online shipments. 

Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castile Soap is available as a bulk refillable in most natural foods stores. I am a big fan of Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds; it is better for cleaning hard surfaces such as dishes. Luckily, our own fabulous, local French Broad Food Co-op sells this as a bulk refillable. It also makes a great all-purpose spray and mop solution. My other recommendations for all-natural household cleaners include your favorite combination of vinegar, rubbing alcohol, and baking soda as well as the dish liquid below.

Without further ado, here are my favorite tried-and-tested recipes:

Dish Liquid:

1 Tbsp Salt kosher or table

1 1/2 cups hot water

⅔ cup liquid Castile soap or Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds

1 Tbsp washing soda

⅛ tsp tea tree oil, lavender, or citrus essential oil

In a small pot heat a few Tbsp water and salt until dissolved. Pour into a separate container. Combine the washing soda and 2 cups of water to the pot and heat until dissolved. Add the sal suds and essential oil to the pot and pour into the jar or dispenser. Add saltwater mixture and shake. It will foam and thicken (you can add more for thicker soap). Oil and vinegar bottles are great dispensers! 

Dishwasher soap cubes:

1 cup washing soda

1 cup Kosher salt

1 cup baking soda

¾ cup lemon juice

Measure all dry ingredients into a bowl and stir to combine. Then add the lemon juice. Let the ingredients foam for a minute. Mix all together and press into molds that will fit in your dishwasher. Peanut butter cup molds and ice cube trays work well. Allow tablets to harden completely overnight. 

Laundry detergent: 

1 bar Castille soap, 

1 cup washing soda, 

1 cup baking soda, 

1 cup Kosher salt. 

Grate Castille soap in a food processor, then add in the other ingredients. Make sure to cover the top, so you don’t inhale the particulate. A ¼  cup scoop is perfect for a top loader machine.