Fabric softeners are chemicals and perfumes that we purposely leave on our clothing and fabrics. The residue is what we desire. It is not just an odor that is left behind, but often chemicals made to reduce static cling. Tried and true, using basic White Vinegar in the rinse cycle has been around forever. Simply use plain or add some essential oils to your vinegar (15‐20 drops per gallon – vary amounts and types for your personal preference).
Ingredients: 1 part vinegar 1 part baking soda 2 parts hot water Essential Oil(s)
Use a pail large enough to hold double the amount of ingredients. Mix baking soda and water in the pail and stir until powder is dissolved. Then add vinegar. Once it stops fizzing, pour into clean bottles and cap. Shake before use. USE ¼ CUP PER RINSE CYCLE.
Remember, your pet is in contact with laundry detergents more than we think. A cat may lay on your bed 23 hours a day in contact with our washed bedding, and then grooms its coat, ingesting any soap or fabric softener residues. If we can smell it – your pet can absorb it orally, topically, or through inhalation. We must reconsider how much these chemicals could be affecting our pets (and probably ourselves), and make attempts at a less toxic environment for all.
USE ¼ CUP OF LIQUID PER LOAD. IT IS NORMAL FOR THE MIX TO BE LUMPY AND GEL‐LIKE.
This mix worked well, even in my High Efficiency front loader, however, some of the lumps will not “flush down” the liquid detergent compartment. So I just added it to the “powdered” detergent compartment. You can add more Essential Oils to the Laundry Soap if you like. Our favorite to add is Away - which gives an amazing deodorizing action! Other favorite essential oils to add include Citrus Clean, Bright & Clean, and Lavender - but almost anything can be used that you enjoy.
When life is really busy - we are able to purchase some really great non-toxic and unscented laundry detergents in a variety of stores. Thankfully over the last few years, the demand for non-toxic products that are free of fragrance or chemical surfactants - has increased. And as a result, even popular chain stores now carry a variety of "free and clear" or natural products to select from. We usually purchase unscented varieties, and just add our own essential oils to whatever cleaning product we have purchased.
If we added essential oils to each laundry load - we would typically add about 5 drops right into our liquid soap compartment, with the soap.
However, for those who wish to make their own laundry detergent - this is our favorite recipe. It worked really well for us – and cost very little per load (someone we know calculated 3 cents per load!).
I would grate several bars of soap at a time, storing each one in a zip-lock bag or jar, so that whenever I needed a new batch, I could whip one up in no time. I cut the soap bars into lengths that will fit into the food processor and grate a bunch of them all in one session. Then, I only have to clean the grater or food processor once, making much less work for myself. I have also pre‐measured the other dry ingredients into baggies.
Based on what I want in a cleaner - I created these two blends purely for functionality. First, I want a cleaner that would be non-toxic for myself and my animal family. But, I would also like it to smell nice! And, not to be too picky - but I also want something that adds a bit of disinfection, while not breaking the bank cost-wise either! The essential oils added to these two blends have a long standing history in being highly antimicrobial and disinfecting. Melaleuca alternifolia has interesting research HERE. And also HERE. And more research can be found at www.pubmed.gov.
For household or all-purpose cleaner - we have been using this basic recipe for years. I have modified it slightly as we progress - but this current recipe cleans really well both as an unscented version, and with added essential oils. This cleaner is great for counters, bathrooms, animal crates and cages - and the like. However, it tends to leave streaks on glass and mirrors. We recommend the window cleaner for these items.
To make 1 gallon of cleaner:
In my own home and veterinary clinic - we moved towards using only natural cleaners and fragrances in our cleaning, laundry, and air freshening. For air freshening and odor control - I basically use Water-Based Diffusion or a Water Misting Spray. Away is my top choice for odor elimination - and it is amazing for all things "stinky" - including my son's tennis shoes! And of course, the whole point of animalEO - is that it is also safe for animals!
Any of the animalEO blends that have been created with diffusion in mind - can be diffused safely around all animal species - when you would like to have a nice odor in your home. Our products have been diffused and used around fish tanks, delicate parrots and finches, gerbils, rats, reptiles, rabbits, cats, and basically any other creature you can think of. When possible, our veterinary clinic will also monitor lab work and other data while essential oils are being used - increasing our knowledge and evidence of long term safety in the animal kingdom.
Have you ever been nauseated walking through the cleaning supply or laundry detergent aisle in a store? The strong scents of artificial fragrances can be overwhelming. But, have you ever considered if they were toxic? Sometimes - our animals have to teach us hard lessons regarding the use of products that are created purely for human desires.
In our veterinary clinic - we had more than several cases that clearly made distinct connections with health problems and the household products that were being used. From chronic elevated Renal (Kidney) values that improved when a certain household odor eliminator was discontinued, to feather picking in a bird who cuddled with fabric softener "rich" clothing of her human. All animals can experience implications from exposure to chemicals which we consider "normal" in every day life.
For animals with allergies, skin conditions, ear infections, autoimmune diseases, asthma, collapsing trachea, seizures, or really any health concern at all - I strive to have my clients clean up their "clean." I find limiting exposure to potential toxins - to be one of the most important aspects that can contribute to the overall health and well being of an animal.
What everyone will usually want to know next, is if there is any proof or research in if essential oil cleaners kill Parvo or other nasty things in veterinary clinics or shelters. While there is some research to be found on the ability of several essential oil constituents that are antiviral - CLICK HERE - there is not the sort of study that most people think would be available. Such as - this research study evaluating different disinfectants against feline viruses. A search for "virucidal essential oil" on www.pubmed.gov will yield a variety of studies showing essential oil effects on viruses - such as THIS ONE.
If you purely want to deodorize your laundry, we do this “lazy” trick. Wash a wash cloth with each load. When it comes out of the washer, place drops of essential oil on the wash cloth, and toss in the dryer with the rest of the laundry. Although you can drop the oils directly onto clothing (like a sock) or bedding, if you have delicate fabrics, placing the essential oils on a designated wash cloth may be best. I personally like to put about 8‐10 drops of Away in the dryer load (we tend to use Away a bit more as we have some pretty stinky laundry!). Pick any essential oil you like - other favorites are Bright & Clean, Citrus Clean, or Lavender. Certain oils can stain, so testing them on fabric or using them with the wash cloth is a sound idea. You can also add Essential oils to vinegar, and place in a spray bottle. Use this mixture to spritz onto your wash cloth dryer sheet, and toss into the dryer.
For me - using these blends for cleaning purposes - ensures that I am still using veterinary quality essential oils, while not "wasting" valuable essential oils such as Copaiba, Frankincense, or Helichrysum for just my cleaning purposes. Even though I will add more expensive blends such as Open-Air (since I love the smell) or Away (as it seems to keep ants away from my kitchen) - to my cleaning products and laundry - it is nice to have a less expensive alternative if I am only "scrubbing the toilet"!
We use these high quality spray bottles that we find at Mills Fleet Farm - CLICK HERE for more information.
Remember - you can add more or less drops depending on how you like your Cleaner to smell!