Let’s Talk Dirty (Laundry, That Is!) Part 1 of 3…

Let’s Talk Dirty (Laundry, That Is!) Part 1 of 3…

by servanthart, Editor at Large



Is this what it takes to get your attention? O.K., never mind….

I was doing some reading on a natural website about the effects of coconut oil on septic sewer systems; in short, the piece indicated that coconut oil is BAD for septic systems, but gave nothing more than a negative statement.  So, I thought I’d try to find out why, since there is such a push toward using coconut oil as a “healthy” alternative oil these days. Also, since palm and coconut oils are being used more and more as surfactants in cleaning agents and laundry supplies, I thought it worthy of chasing down. So far, all I’ve found is that all oils are bad for the septic system (duh!) but, I have found some very interesting information.

Now, if you’ve followed any of my posts, then, you know I’m not about “reinventing the wheel”; nope! I’m more than happy to allow people who have already been there and done that to share their wisdom. So, here we go:


In this piece, the author talks about how the detergent we use in our laundry water affects our water treatment system, specifically speaking to the two types of surfactants (plant oil vs. petrochemicals).  I think we all know that anything with petrochemicals in it is not a better way.

I was pleased to see that the Arm and Hammer that I used for years, before making my own laundry detergent, is #1 on the list of “good guys”! Woo-hoo! Where does YOUR laundry detergent rank here?

But, I don’t even do that anymore, as I make my own; I bought a blue plastic bucket and lid at Lowe’s for about $5.00 (total) and keep my laundry detergent in it; one “recipe” fills the bucket about 2/3 full, and lasts, well, a really long time. I can get “free” buckets and lids, but they’ve usually held dill pickles  – have you tried getting that smell out of plastic?! Anyhoo, this is powdery – it may “fly” a bit because it does not contain any unnecessary chemical products to “bind” it. Please note that a little goes a long way, and, given the ingredients, should be very easy on your septic system.

Here’s the recipe:

First, get 6 bars of Kirk’s Castile Soap (a buck a bar @ China..er, Wal-Mart) – take out of package, allow to air dry at least 2 weeks before making detergent to “harden off” – 3 or 4 weeks is better; BTW, “harden off” all bar soap to make it last longer.

Now you will need to grate the soap; I just use an old steel hand grater, moving the soap up and down; if it’s hardened off, it’s much easier to grate and not nearly as messy.

Combine:  (where to find ingredients at WalMart)

1. One four pound twelve ounce box of Borax {Found in Laundry Isle }
2. Six (6) flaked bars of Kirk’s Castile soap (bottom shelf with other hard soaps)

3. one four pound box of Arm & Hammer baking soda {Laundry Isle}
4. one box of Arm & Hammer super washing soda {laundry Isle}
5. Bucket  of Oxy Clean (laundry isle} – this is optional, but I personally do like to add it. Omitting it will reduce cost, however. I use the “Sun” brand, which works just fine and is much cheaper than OC.
6. Optional: a few drops of your favorite essential oil (and I DO mean a few!) – I prefer Lemongrass Essential Oil from Mountain Rose Herbs or The Bulk Herb Store, or some very dependable producer such as these two. THIS IS OPTIONAL; feel free to omit; if for baby, omit essential oil. Your detergent and laundry will smell fresh and clean without added scent, chemical free!


Mix all together; use only about 1/4 cup per FULL load; good for sensitive skin and HE washers.  No, it won’t “suds” all that much; yes, it will get your clothes clean!


My first batch of this, in 2012, worked out to 18 cents per load! Yields about 18 lbs. of laundry detergent (and you can really use it clean lots of things!).


BTW, Kirk’s Castile Soap has been around for a very long time, and is still as gentle and effective for bathing and showering as anything! And it’s “cheap”.  I love the stuff.

In Part 2, we discus Soap Nuts, which have little or no effect on your wastewater system…. (and, no, it doesn’t  involve bad t.v., a.k.a, “dope operas”!).



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