Collective Change

Green Cleaning: The Laundry

Laundry is the job we all love to hate.  The basket never seems to be empty,
and just when you think you may be on your way, that family member that hoards all their dirty clothes for a week decides it’s time to deposit them in the basket.

Carrying those giant bottles and boxes of laundry powders and liquids from the supermarket is a giant pain, and that is before you even think about what chemical nasties may be hiding in them. 

So here are a few alternatives that – while they won’t change the amount of laundry you do –  will improve the experience both for you and the planet:

DōTERRA Laundry Liquid: For my fellow DoTerra lovers, this liquid is brilliant.  It’s made up of plant based (not petrochemical) surfactants, enzymes and stabilisers.  This means that it has amazing cleaning potential but from natural sources.  It’s also super concentrated, so although the bottle looks small, if you have a modern washing machine you need hardly any per load, so you get more loads per bottle.  In fact, the bottle says 64 loads, but I’ve worked out that as a family of  four, I do about twelve loads of laundry per week and I can get easily six weeks out of a bottle.  

I also love the On Guard essential oil smell so the wash smells great when wet but the scent is super subtle when dry – I can’t stand laundry powders or liquids that have that really overwhelming “fragrance” smell.

Sonett Laundry Liquid: This natural enzyme free, plant based laundry liquid is another natural good guy.  Made with no fake fragrances, it comes in a couple of essential oil infused options. It’s a great liquid for using in cold washes, which is better for the  environment and less resource heavy.  I get this from Viveco here in Mallorca who operate a refill service for this brand, so it’s another environmental win if we can reduce our plastic consumption.

Eco Egg: This is a hard moulded plastic egg that contains two types of mineral pellets to get your laundry clean by producing a powerful cleaning foam to lift the dirt from the fabric.  The egg means that you don’t need any containers of anything on the laundry bench, and the pellets need to be replaced very infrequently making it a very economical and packaging friendly option. 

For those with sensitive skin it is also supported by Allergy UK and the National Eczema Society as great alternatives to traditional laundry soaps for those of us that find them too harsh.  Even if you prefer to use something else, this can be a fantastic product to have on hand for those times when you unexpectedly run out of your normal product but still have a mountain range of laundry to get through!

Soap Nuts: Soap Nuts are not actually a nut but the shell of a berry!  These shells contain “Saponin” which is a natural foaming compound. When the “nuts” are wet they foam up creating the cleansing process needed to clean clothes.  You can use them on their own or in conjunction with essential oils to give them a scent. 

I have found mixed results with these – I love the fact that they are zero waste, 100% natural and totally biodegradable, and although I found success with lightly soiled loads of laundry, if anything was heavily stained then I found that on their own these weren’t as effective at stain removal.  I do like to keep these on hand as I like to mix things up, and they are so easy to use that they can be a good alternative.

Laundry Sheets: I will admit firstly to only having tried a couple of these.  I love the idea of zero waste, as the sheets completely dissolve and the fact you just have to chuck one in the machine with no measuring is a boon.  I am not a fan of fake fragrance so for me the brand I tried is a no go, but if this is not a concern, then these are a great alternative to the traditional plastic heavy packaging laundry products come in.  I have heard a rumour that locally, there may be alternatives to existing laundry sheets soon and I look forward to these with baited breath!

DIY Laundry Products

Not everyone is a DIY-er, but for those of us that are, making your own products can be hugely satisfying.  I have tried making both my own laundry liquid and powder, and have had success with both.  There are loads of recipes online but the easier the better for me,  I also like a decent sized batch so I’m not having to make more every two seconds. 

My fave recipe is:

  • 1kg bicarb of soda
  • 1kg washing soda
  • 200g percarbonate of soda (natural whitener & brightener, if you can´t find locally then you can buy online)
  • Mix these together then add 40 drops or so of your essential oil or blend of choice and away you go.  Nothing could be easier. 
  • For a laundry liquid, you can use 40g of soap flakes for each 1L of hot water then let it cool and add the oils of your choice should you wish.  For both of these, a ¼ cup per load will be sufficient.
Another simple DIY recipe is for fabric softener – it couldn´t be easier:
  •  1 cup odorless (cleaning) vinegar
  • a few drops of whatever essential oil you fancy 
A couple of extra products that I think have a place in the laundry are the On Guard Cleaner Concentrate and the Guppy Bag.  The cleaner concentrate (aside from being a great product for other things around the house), is a fabulous stain remover.  I have used it to get balsamic vinegar out of a white sweatshirt, and day after tomato sauce out of white jeans, and every time, they come up like new. 

The Guppy Bag is a fab little invention that prevents microplastics in clothes going into the water system as the wash water gets drained from the machine, and helps to prevent fibre shedding.  It’s like the laundry bags you use for delicates like lingerie, but much tougher (and larger!)  Unless you have a wardrobe of nothing but natural fibres this is a great idea. Just put your non- natural fibre clothes in the Guppy Bag and wash as normal.  

Going natural and chemical free with your laundry may take a bit of trial and experimentation to find (or make) the product that works best for you, but it´s one of the best swaps for a healthy home and environment you can do! 

Written by Bianca


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