Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Mother's going GREEN Day 29 - Greening the Laundry

In a previous post I spoke of the hazards and dangers of laundry detergent (see day 5 - Ignorance is Bliss).

So it has been just over three weeks of using my natural laundry detergent and it is great. My whites are white (maybe not whiter) my colours are bright enough (maybe not brighter) But they are naturally clean and 'green'.

For my tougher stains I am also not using a chlorine bleach but and oxygen bleach as with the laundry detergent it has zero chemicals and breaks down into oxygen and hydrogen when mixed with water, otherwise known as an oxygen bleach.

And for those softener sheets (which by the way are too loaded with chemicals) I read somewhere on the Internet that a ladies dog died from eating it because of the chemicals, I know our dog once chewed one up and it was sick for a week not too mention that they are not biodegradable so I have switched those too. I am now using a cloth type thing that you can reuse for 500 times (after that I will probably use it as a rag - it is the stripey thing in the picture) but at least it stays out of the landfill. Using these also allows me to feed the lint from the dryer to my worms - since it is chemical free.

The above listed items I picked up from the local grocery store in their organic 'green' section.
Using 'natural' products is not the only way you can green your laundry:
  • Use high efficiency washer and dryer (uses less energy).
  • Use the COLD wash and rinse cycle (uses less energy to warm the water - and your cloths get just as clean).
  • Ensure you wash a full load (no point just washing half a load) In our house I have 2 piles of laundry (whites and pastels colours & black and bright colours) ensuring full loads and I have never had my whites turn pink or any other funky colour.
  • Ideally you should dry your clothes outside (no energy usage except sunlight which too is an excellent natural bleach) Having grown up in South Africa this was the only way we dried our clothes. Very few people had dryers and I only saw them in Laundromats.
  • I am still using a dryer though - it has been wet and miserable here. But I use the least amount of time necessary to get the clothes dry and I use the low heat setting - if by chance they come out a little damp, which they sometimes do, I just hang them and let them air dry. I am not too sure either how my husband will take it "airing our dirty laundry" in the garden so to speak - baby steps - remember he still struggles on days with the NO plastic bag idea.
  • Ensure too, that your lint catcher thing is always cleaned (clean it after each load) this keeps the machine running efficiently thereby using less energy.

1 comment:

Environmentally friendly soap said...

For a 'green' detergent, you can also try SOAPNUTS. Great for laundry, hair, household cleaning etc. Soapnuts are the fruit of a tree grown in India and Nepal. They contain a high amount of saponin, which acts like a soap when in contact with water. No chemicals, plastic jugs, fragrances, dyes or fillers to irritate skin. Great for cloth diapers too!