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Happy Wash: Eco-laundry

By Dawna Matthews:

Green laundryWash, fold, repeat … I feel I am constantly doing laundry — something I am sure we all feel. It is a household chore I enjoy — the sorting, the rhythm, the folding and stacking. As much as I enjoy it, though, I am always seeking ways to simplify the task while keeping the environment in mind and using products that actually clean. What if there were easy and eco-friendly ways that actually clean your laundry?

Conventional laundry detergents leave a dirty mess and are potentially toxic to humans. Many of the chemicals used in common detergents and softeners pollute our water supply as well as leave residue which can lead to skin irritations and other health issues. Homemade laundry goods are super easy to make and work just as well as the conventional ones. Added bonuses — they are less expensive and easy on the environment. Here are some of my favorites. The detergents and stain removers are wonderful. I have not tried the fabric softener … yet.

 

Laundry Detergent- 2 ways

Basic Detergent (from Lisa Bronner):

1/3-1/2 cup** of liquid castile soap for a large load in a top load washer. During the rinse cycle, add 1/2 cup of vinegar.

**Use half these amounts for a HE front load washer.

Power Wash Detergent (adapted from mymerrymessylife.com and bonzaiaphrodite.com):

  • 3/4 cup liquid castile soap (I like citrus or lavender.)
  • 1/2 cup Super Washing Soda
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 20-50 drops of essential oil of choice (optional)

Instructions:

  1.    Mix together the Super Washing Soda and Baking Soda.
  2.     Place a medium size pot on the stove. Fill with 2 cups of water. Heat to a low boil.
  3.     Pour the dry ingredient mixture into the pot.
  4.     Stir constantly for a few minutes until it is well dissolved.
  5.     Add the castile soap and stir until well mixed.
  6.     Fill a two-gallon bucket almost all the way with very warm tap water.
  7.    Pour the contents from your pot into the bucket of water, and stir well until well combined.
  8.    Add the essential oils if you desire. Use a funnel to pour into two 1-gallon containers.

Use about 1/3 cup per wash.

Fabric Softener:

  1. Add 20-30 drops of essential oil of choice to 1 gallon white vinegar.
  2. Close lid and shake to mix together.
  3. When it’s laundry time, shake the bottle and use 1/3 cup per normal wash load.

Super Stain Remover (adapted from greenchildmagazine.com):

  • 1 part liquid castile soap
  • 2 parts hydrogen peroxide
  • 1-2 drops essential oil
  • Mix together and spray or pour directly onto stain. Let sit for a minute and then rub fabric together. For intense stains, let sit approximately 5 minutes.

These crafty laundry tools are all simple to make. And they work — not just work, but work well. And they are better for the environment, safer for you and your loved ones, and more budget friendly. If we each take one everyday routine task and try to “greenify” it, we can make a difference not only in our own lives but also in the life of the planet. When I use these homemade products, I enjoy washing laundry just a little bit more, and that makes me happy! What are some eco-friendly laundry and household tips/recipes you have? Please share!

About Green Mom

Fredrica Syren, the author and founder of Green-Mom.com, was born in Sweden. Her mother was a classically trained chef who introduced her to many eclectic flavors and skills at a young age. Her mom’s passion for the outdoors and gardening planted the seed for her own love of nature and healthy eating. She received a degree in journalism and has worked as a print, Internet and broadcasting journalist for many years with big businesses within Europe and the United States. After her mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer and she with pre-cancer, Fredrica changed her career to become a full time yoga teacher and activist. A longtime world traveler, foodie and career woman, she was exposed to many facets of life, but nothing inspired her more than becoming a mom. After her first-born, Fredrica began a food blog focusing on local, seasonal, organic & vegetarian dishes. Years of food blogging developed into the cookbook Yummy in My Tummy, Healthy Cooking for the Whole Family. Upon the arrival of her second child, Fredrica founded Green-Mom.com. Her vision was to establish a site providing insight about gardening, home and personal care, baby & child, and of course food & nutrition. Green-Mom.com hosts many talented writers shedding light on ways to incorporate eco-friendly and nutritious practices for busy families. She is an advocate for organic, local and sustainable businesses. Fredrica hopes to inspire social change through her lifestyle, passion and business. Fredrica lives with her husband James Harker-Syren and their three children in San Diego, CA.

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