Natural Fabric Softener

Natural Fabric Softener

Fabric softener as we know it – the commercial stuff that is – is really not good for us. It’s not good for the environment either. It often contains some very questionable ingredients that are known to stick to clothing, irritate skin and aggravate allergies.

Companies (in Australia anyway) are not required to tell you what is in cleaning products, so we often won’t see panels on packets of softener which makes it hard to make educated decisions when out shopping. It often takes a little searching on the internet to find comprehensive lists, and even then, it is the companies choice whether they publish them or not.

Here is an example of ingredients within one popular supermarket brand of softener. From what I can see, most softeners available are similar in their contents.

Natural Fabric Softener | The Inspired Little Pot

Here’s a brief look into these ingredients:

Water – any time you see water in a product, look for preservatives. Usually, not a good sign.

Quaternized Triethanolamine Diester – I can’t find much reputable data on this but Triethanolamine is petroleum-derived and may cause contact dermatitis.

Isopropyl Alcohol – not much to worry about in a cleaning product but not something I would use on my skin.

Quaternary Ammonium Acrylate/Acrylamide – Quaternary ammonium compounds rate poorly with EWG (my go-to for chemical research and advice). Although the data covers a broad scope, there is mention of toxicity to aquatics and moderate concern for asthmatics.

Fragrance – a toxic minefield and my most hated ingredient, unless derived from essential oils! Watch out for this one. There is a list of hundreds of chemicals used for fragrance formulation, and companies don’t have to tell you what they use – it’s their trade secret. Fragrance is associated with allergies, skin irritation, asthma, headaches etc.

Preservative – interesting that they don’t tell you WHAT preservative. Some preservatives, such as Formaldehyde, are known to be carcinogenic to humans, others, salt, for example, is fine. So I’m dubious here.

You know how when you’re at the supermarket, you can smell the softener aisle a mile away (if you’ve been living a lower-toxin lifestyle for a while now, you’ll know what I mean!)? It really is something I like to avoid. I can even smell people’s washing when I take my daily walk if they’ve used softener – that’s how potent this stuff is! It sticks to your clothes, it coats your machine in slime making it hard to clean, and it’s terrible for septic systems and our waterways in general.

Have I convinced you to make the switch to natural yet?

For a long time, I have been using straight vinegar as a fabric softener. And it works well, so if this recipe seems like a little too much effort for you, then stick with that. But this recipe for natural fabric softener, ooh-la-la, it really does make my laundry nice and soft!

 

 

Makes: 1.1 lt | 37.2 fl oz Prep time: < 5 min.

 

INGREDIENTS

1 cup | 140 g | 4.9 oz fine salt

1 cup | 250 ml | 8.5 fl oz hot water (see recipe notes)

3 cup | 750 ml | 25.4 fl oz white vinegar (look for naturally fermented)

2-3 drops of essential oils (per use)

 

My choice of essential oils…

My favourite essential oils in this recipe are lemon and eucalyptus, but don’t be limited by my suggestions. Use oils that fit your budget, or those that you already have in your collection. Read here for more information.

 

METHOD
  1. Add salt and hot water to a bowl and mix until salt has dissolved.
  2. Add vinegar and stir until combined.
  3. Transfer into container of choice.

 

TO USE

Shake well, then pour approximately ½ cup of liquid and essential oils (if using) into the designated softener compartment of your washing machine.

 

RECIPE NOTES
  • Water should be distilled, purified or pre-boiled and cooled to extend shelf life.
  • If the salt doesn’t fully dissolve, don’t worry too much – it will dissolve over time.
  • If you’re concerned about your washing machine then don’t use this recipe. I personally have had no issues at all, after years of using vinegar in my washing machine, but it is ultimately up to you.
  • I strongly suggest you check out the blog posts under “Recommended Reading“.
Cleaning your oven the non-toxic way

Cleaning your oven the non-toxic way

Have you ever looked into the ingredients in some commercial oven cleaners? A few of the common and worst offenders, found to be detrimental to our health and the health of the environment, include Sodium Hydroxide, Potassium Hydroxide, Butoxyethanol, Ethanolamine, Fragrance, Butane, and the list goes on. It can be hard to even find complete ingredients listings on packaging (Australian law doesn’t enforce it), or online. I respect companies that are transparent and list all ingredients on packaging (even if sometimes there are a few less than desirable ones), because it shows us they have nothing to hide, allowing consumers to make educated choices.

So, let’s clean our ovens with a few simple ingredients and, wait for it, elbow grease!! Don’t be lazy 😉

 

Steps to cleaning your oven the non-toxic way

 

Step 1

Wait until you have used your oven and it is hot (or, you could heat it first but that seems like a waste of energy).

 

Step 2

Add about 1 litre of boiling hot water, 2 tablespoons of bicarb and one lemon (halved, squished and squeezed) into an ovenproof dish.

 

Step 3

Place dish on top rack and shut the door for at least an hour. The steam will soften any build-up.

 

Step 4

When it is all steamy, wipe down walls and door with a soft cloth, rinsing well between wipes in a bucket/sink of hot water and a tablespoon of castile soap.

 

Step 5

You may need to use a scouring sponge (or ‘steel-o’) on the racks, roof and tray if you cook roasts and fatty meats often. If you find the racks and bottom tray need even more work, soak them in your laundry sink with HOT water, ½ cup of bicarb and ½ cup vinegar overnight, and try scrubbing again. Another option is to use my Cleaning Paste.

 

Step 6

Make sure you wipe down your oven completely before use.

 

Bonus Tip

Stay on top of it rather than try to deal with months of build up!!!

Stain Solution

Stain Solution

Fact – clothes get dirty.
Fact – to clean dirty clothes, natural washing powder does the job well.
Fact – sometimes stubborn stains appear that need a bit of extra effort to remove.

It can be tempting to go out and buy a powerful commercial stain remover/bleaching agent.

Please don’t!

I have trialled several different stain removing methods, and while I have a few options for spot treating stains, I think I have hit the jackpot with this recipe for a natural pre-wash stain remover – mainly due to its simplicity and effectiveness, all with minimal effort!

This top got discoloured in the days when I was recipe testing and perfecting my natural deodorant recipes.

This was the result after soaking for 24 hours. Not bad hey?! It also works well on stained tea-towels, and oil spots (and I get a lot of those working with different kinds of butter and balms!)

Before Natural pre wash stain remover | The Inspired Little Pot          After Natural pre wash stain remover | The Inspired Little Pot

Before Natural pre wash stain remover | The Inspired Little Pot          After Natural pre wash stain remover | The Inspired Little Pot

Before Natural pre wash stain remover | The Inspired Little Pot          After Natural pre wash stain remover | The Inspired Little Pot

 

So, If you have whites that are greying, greasy/oily spots or discolouring around collars and armpits, then give this a go. I have trialled this on whites, darks and colours.

Now, while I have never had issues with colour leaching, as usual, I have to remind you to patch test and proceed with caution as all clothing, materials and dyes are unique. 

 

 

Makes: enough for single use Prep time: < 5 min.

 

INGREDIENTS  

½ cup | 130 g | 4.6 oz sodium carbonate (washing soda)

½ cup | 125 ml | 4.2 fl oz hydrogen peroxide (3%)

5 lt | 1.3 gal (approx.) warm/hot water

Fact – clothes get dirty.
Fact – to clean dirty clothes, natural washing powder does the job well.
Fact – sometimes stubborn stains appear that need a bit of extra effort to remove.

It can be tempting to go out and buy a powerful commercial stain remover/bleaching agent.

Please don’t!

I have trialled several different stain removing methods, and while I have a few options for spot treating stains, I think I have hit the jackpot with this recipe for a natural pre-wash stain remover – mainly due to its simplicity and effectiveness, all with minimal effort!

This top got discoloured in the days when I was recipe testing and perfecting my natural deodorant recipes.

This was the result after soaking for 24 hours. Not bad hey?! It also works well on stained tea-towels, and oil spots (and I get a lot of those working with different kinds of butter and balms!)

Before Natural pre wash stain remover | The Inspired Little Pot          After Natural pre wash stain remover | The Inspired Little Pot

Before Natural pre wash stain remover | The Inspired Little Pot          After Natural pre wash stain remover | The Inspired Little Pot

Before Natural pre wash stain remover | The Inspired Little Pot          After Natural pre wash stain remover | The Inspired Little Pot

 

So, If you have whites that are greying, greasy/oily spots or discolouring around collars and armpits, then give this a go. I have trialled this on whites, darks and colours.

Now, while I have never had issues with colour leaching, as usual, I have to remind you to patch test and proceed with caution as all clothing, materials and dyes are unique.

 

 

 

Makes: enough for single use Prep time: < 5 min.

 

INGREDIENTS  

½ cup | 130 g | 4.6 oz sodium carbonate (washing soda)

½ cup | 125 ml | 4.2 fl oz hydrogen peroxide (3%)

5 lt | 1.3 gal (approx.) warm/hot water

 

METHOD

Add all ingredients directly to the laundry sink or a bucket and mix until combined.

 

TO USE

Add stained clothing to solution and use a wooden spoon to push down and agitate clothing. Allow to rest, agitating periodically, for a minimum of 4 hours. Remove from solution and wash clothes as usual. Discard solution.

 

RECIPE NOTES
  • You can find hydrogen peroxide in the beauty aisle of most supermarkets. It is a natural alternative to bleach.
  • You can substitute the hydrogen peroxide for ½ cup | 130 g | 4.6 oz sodium percarbonate.
  • It is a good idea to take a ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos so you can see how well this solution works!
  • Remember to patch test if you’re worried your fabric dye will run.
  • Don’t make this solution in advance. Mix it up just prior to use.
  • I strongly suggest you check out the blog posts under “Recommended Reading“.
Blank Canvas Fizzies

Blank Canvas Fizzies

These fizzy drops are PERFECT for so many applications:

  • In a steam bath or as shower drops for congested airways;
  • In the bath for a fun time for kids, or to help them with relaxation or congestion;
  • As toilet-cleaning drops (they work wonders with a light scrub);
  • In a foot spa;
  • …and the list goes on, and on, and on!!

I do have a little secret to share though, this recipe is exactly the same as my Fizzy Bath Drops.

BUT, this recipe is like a blank canvas.

Store your drops in a container or jar and add your choice of essential oils just prior to use. It’s so versatile and even a makes for a beautiful gift to give, perfectly paired with a bottle of lemon, peppermint or lavender essential oil for someone’s birthday, or maybe with eucalyptus or lemon for an under-the-weather friend.

 

 

 

Makes: 460 g | 16.2 oz (approximately 15 small, 5 large) Prep time: < 5 min. (allow 24 hours to set)

 

INGREDIENTS  

300 g | 10.6 oz sodium bicarbonate (bicarb)

130 g | 4.6 oz citric acid

30 g | 1.1 oz carrier oil (fractionated coconut oil and sweet almond oil are popular choices)

2-3 drops of essential oils (per use)

 

My choice of essential oils…

This varies depending on the intended use. See recipe notes below for ideas.

 

Extra equipment required…

Silicone moulds

 

METHOD
  1. Add sodium bicarbonate and citric acid to a bowl and mix until combined.
  2. Add carrier oil and mix until combined. Mixture should just hold form when squeezed together. If it isn’t holding together, add an extra teaspoon of carrier oil and mix again.
  3. Spoon mixture into moulds and press down firmly until full.
  4. Leave to set for 12-24 hours in a cool and dry place. After this time, turn moulds upside down and gently tap the bottom – fizzies should fall out easily.
  5. Place on a tray or sheet of baking paper and leave to dry for a further 24 hours before storing in container of choice.

 

THERMAL APPLIANCE METHOD
  1. Add sodium bicarbonate and citric acid to thermal appliance bowl and mix for 5-10 seconds on medium speed. Scrape down sides and repeat if required, until ingredients are combined.
  2. Add carrier oil and mix for 5-10 seconds until combined. Mixture should just hold form when squeezed together. If it isn’t holding together, add an extra teaspoon of carrier oil and mix again.
  3. Spoon mixture into moulds and press down firmly until full.
  4. Leave to set for 12-24 hours in a cool and dry place. After this time, turn moulds upside down and gently tap the bottom – fizzies should fall out easily.
  5. Place on a tray or sheet of baking paper and leave to dry for a further 24 hours before storing in container of choice.

 

TO USE

Add essential oils directly to one fizzy (see recipe notes below for ideas for various applications). Drop into water (basin, bath, toilet etc.) and allow to fizz. Store in an airtight container, in a cool, dry place.

 

 

RECIPE NOTES
  • To colour these fizzies, you can use food colouring (natural is obviously my choice – beetroot powder or spirulina are my go-to’s); powder is the best option if you want to avoid the risk of premature fizzing.
  • My favourite essential oils in this recipe are as follows:
    – congested airways (in the shower, facial steam, bath) – lemon, eucalyptus and tea tree.
    – relaxing bath – lavender, frankincense, orange, ylang ylang, vetiver etc.
    – toilet cleaner (drop in the toilet) – clove, tea tree and lemon.
    Remember: don’t be limited by my suggestions. Use oils that fit your budget, or those that you already have in your collection. Read here for more information.
  • Did you know that adding one teaspoon of vitamin C powder to bath water while it is filling, helps to neutralise the chlorine present in unfiltered tap water, and I highly recommend getting some. For more info about the effects of chlorine, head over to the Super Soak – Bath Salts recipe.
  • I strongly suggest you check out the blog posts under “Recommended Reading“.
Simple Stain Treatment Paste

Simple Stain Treatment Paste

My washing powder works; I have hundreds of testimonials I could share on its brilliance! But sometimes stubborn stains just need an extra kick up the bum.

Here are 2 simple stain paste recipes for you to try when that oil/blood/sweat/grass stain won’t budge!

A few handy tips when it comes to spot-treating stains (apart from avoiding them in the first place) is to get to them quickly!

You can also help treat stains by attacking them from behind; avoiding hot water when washing; avoiding the dryer on stained clothing as heat-set stains are harder to remove; by giving sunshine and its natural bleaching capabilities some credit – hang those clothes outside!

There isn’t usually a one-answer-for-everything spray or solution. Sometimes you will have to try a few methods, or even repeat a treatment.

Here are a few recipes to try.

 

 

Recipe #1

Makes: enough for single use  Prep time: seconds

 

INGREDIENTS 

1 tbsp sodium bicarbonate (bicarb)

1 tbsp water – approx. (enough to make a smooth, slightly runny paste)

2 drops of essential oils

 

 

Recipe #2

Makes: enough for single use  Prep time: seconds

 

INGREDIENTS 

1 tsp sodium bicarbonate (bicarb)

1 tsp sodium carbonate (washing soda)

2 tsp liquid castile soap

2 drops of essential oils

 

My choice of essential oils…

My favourite essential oils in this recipe are lemon and eucalyptus but don’t be limited by my suggestions. Use oils that fit your budget, or those that you already have in your collection. Read here for more information.

 

METHOD (for both recipes)
Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix until combined.

 

TO USE

Apply to stain and massage in, or use a small brush to scrub gently. Allow resting for at least 60 minutes, before washing as usual.

 

RECIPE NOTES
  • I encourage you to patch test. I have to say that!! I haven’t had issues with colour fading but I can’t be held accountable if your clothes do!
  • It helps if you get to your stains as soon as possible after they appear.
  • Recipes can be doubled/tripled if you have multiple stains to treat. Be mindful that the paste can’t be stored for future use – it will dry out.
  • If you have blood stains, try spraying directly with hydrogen peroxide (3%).
  • I strongly suggest you check out the blog posts under “Recommended Reading“.
Dishwasher Tablets

Dishwasher Tablets

I can’t get over how expensive dishwasher tablets are. Especially the eco varieties… The sad thing is, ‘eco’ doesn’t always equal eco-friendly. Just because a bottle or packet says ‘organic’ or ‘earth’ means very little.

If you haven’t heard of the term  ‘green washing‘, let me fill you in quickly… Some companies like to tell us what they’re not including in their products, and print words like ‘natural’, ‘green’, ‘eco’ etc., yet some still use some very questionable ingredients. In Australia, companies are not required to list ingredients on the labels of their cleaning products. True eco brands are fully transparent, with nothing to hide and they’re the brands I encourage you support if DIY isn’t your thing.

This recipe began as a powder. The tablet version was born after continual frustration from my husband and I, when using the powder version. It had a tendency of clumping together into a solid block, meaning we were hacking at it with a knife to break blocks off… GRRR! I figured that purposely clumping powder together and making “tablets” myself meant we’d have less hassle each evening getting lovely non-toxic dishwasher powder into our dishwasher! It’s so easy to do. If you’re not already making your own, why not give it a go? And if you have tried and you’re not completely in love with the results, read this blog for some handy tips.

 

 

Makes: 850 g | 30 oz Prep time: < 5 min.

 

INGREDIENTS 

300 g | 10.6 oz sodium carbonate (washing soda)

250 g | 8.8 oz citric acid

200 g | 7.1 oz borax

100 g | 3.5 oz fine salt

1-2 drops of essential oils (per use)

 

My choice of essential oils…

My favourite essential oils in this recipe are lime and lemon, but don’t be limited by my suggestions. Use oils that fit your budget, or those that you already have in your collection. Read here for more information.

 

Extra equipment required…

Moulds or ice-cube trays (silicone is the best choice for ease of unmoulding)

 

 METHOD

  1. Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix until combined.
  2. Spoon mixture into moulds and press down firmly until full.
  3. Leave to set for 12-24 hours in a cool and dry place. After this time, turn moulds upside down and gently tap the bottom – tablets should fall out easily.
  4. Place on a tray or sheet of baking paper and leave to dry for a further 24 hours before storing in container of choice.

 

TO USE

Add essential oils (if using) to one tablet and place in the dispenser of your dishwasher prior to operation. Replace rinse aid with a ramekin of vinegar on top shelf.

 

Want to ditch the borax?

While I am comfortable using natural borax for cleaning applications (check out this blog post), you might prefer to avoid it. If so, just leave it out – simple! Want to know a secret? The tablets set much better without borax anyway and I don’t notice a difference in cleaning results.

 

 RECIPE NOTES
  • Yes this recipe is a powder, with no liquid (there are no typos)
  • Tablets may stick together, depending on how much moisture gets into your storage container. They should, however, come apart easily enough. If this really bothers you, line tablets on some baking paper and create layers.
  • If you leave this completed recipe (the powder) in a container, it will solidify – so making tablets is best. If your dishwasher only takes powder, either crush before use or throw on the floor of the dishwasher.
  • Kmart has great ice-cube trays with silicone bottoms that allow you to pop tablets out easily.
  • When removing tablets, do so over your dishwasher so any excess particles land in your dishwasher rather than wasted on the bench or floor!
  • I trust that you will make the decision on whether this formula is suitable for your dishwasher. I cannot take any responsibility if your dishwasher doesn’t agree with this recipe.
  • I strongly suggest you check out the blog posts under “Recommended Reading“.

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