Oh dear laundry, everybody has it.. I’m not a big fan of the laundry task and fortunately I have an awesome husband who doesn’t mind helping with the laundry.
A few years back in my efforts to ‘go green’, laundry was one of my major makeovers, and I’ve been making my own laundry detergent ever since, it even has my mother-in-laws seal of approval.
Hopefully this article will inspire you to create your own greener, cleaner laundry routine.
Use mesh garment bags.
Use them to sort socks, lingerie, sweaters, and other delicates. Each family member gets their own mesh bag. This makes it simple keep socks and underwear separated, and you’ll never have lost socks again.
I keep a mesh garment bag hanging up in my laundry space for any damp rags, cloth baby wipes, or dishtowels. This will allow ventilation, so they do not mold while waiting to be laundered.
Keep your laundry space clutter free.
Keep your laundry detergent, softeners, stain solutions all together. Keep your laundry space free of miscellaneous clutter that isn’t actually needed to do your laundry.
Since going green with my laundry routine and purging all my old cleaners, it’s simplified my life and laundry. My laundry cleaning arsenal consists of my homemade laundry detergent, Oxi Clean and the DIY stain remover.
Go wrinkle Free.
Buy wrinkle free clothing, and be sure to remove and hang your clothing as soon as the dryer cycle is done. I can’t remember the last time I used an iron.
Laundry Today or Naked Tomorrow
Wash your clothes in cold water! Washing in cold water is just as efficient as washing in warm water. If your trying to remove grease, oil, stains, those should be pre-treated or pre-soaked in hot water to remove, prior to washing (see methods below). Don’t be misled into thinking that using a warm or even hot water cycle is going to sanitize your dish cloths, the water is not hot enough to kill all the bacteria lurking in your dish cloths. Cold water washing is not only better for the environment its better on your pocket book. Read this article.
For stains, use the stain remover solution as soon as possible. But if your household is anything like mine, I often don’t ever see the stain until I’m sorting through the laundry, sometimes after I’ve already washed it. This is where pre-soaking in Oxi Clean comes into use.
Homemade Stain Remover
1 cup water
1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide
Add water, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle, shake to mix. Spray on stain as soon as possible, let soak and wash.
I pre-soak my cloth baby wipes, dishrags, dishtowels and clothing with stains in Oxi Clean and hot water. The amount of time depends on the stain, when you no longer see the stain, then times up. I often use Oxi Clean to make a paste and apply it directly to the tough stains. Oxi Clean has been successful in removing set in stains too.
HOMEMADE LAUNDRY DETERGENT
I’ve used this detergent for years, my laundry is cleaner, I’m saving money, it’s natural, eco-friendly and works great for cold water washing.
1 – 4lb Box of Borax (found in the detergent isle) $3.38@Walmart
1 – 3lb 7oz Box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (found in the detergent isle) $3.24@Walmart
3 – Bars of Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar Soap (found in the detergent isle) $.97ea@Walmart
1 – 5lb box of Oxi Clean $9.47@Walmart
1 – 4lb Box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda (found in the baking isle) $3.95@Walmart
The total cost of ingredients is under $25.00 and should last anywhere between three to six plus months, depending on the amount of laundry in your home.
You’ll also need a 5 gallon bucket with a lid to mix and store your detergent. I purchased a 5 gallon food safe bucket for $4 and a Gamma Seal Lid for $7 at Home Depot. The Gamma Seal will create an airtight container to keep your detergent fresh.
- Grate the 3 bars of Fels-Naptha Bar Soap by hand or in your food processor.
- Pour Borax, Arm & Hammer Washing Soda, Baking Soda and Oxi Clean into the bucket.
- Add the grated Fels-Naptha and thoroughly mix, using a big serving spoon works great.
- Fill a jar or container with detergent to make daily/weekly access easier and store the remaining amount of detergent in the 5 gallon bucket.
Directions for Use: For standard washers add two tablespoons to the dispenser. For high efficiency washers its suggested that you add the detergent to the barrel not the dispenser.
Drying the Laundry
Why use dryer balls?
- No chemicals or dyes, therefore its a healthier choice for your clothing, especially children’s clothing. Did you know that using fabric softeners and dryer sheets lessen the effect of flame-retardant in children’s clothing.
- Reduces the drying time, therefore using less energy.
- Softens and fluffs your clothing, works great on towels, bedding, sweaters, sweatshirts, rags, etc.
- Using dryer balls vs dryer sheets makes your towels more absorbent.
- Reusable and eco-friendly.
- Saves you money by no longer buying dryer sheets.
- Saves our landfills, it doesn’t seem like much, but every little bit helps.
DIY Dryer Sheets
Use a 2:1 ratio; add 2 parts warm water to 1 part eco-friendly fabric softener into a measuring container, pour mixture into a spray bottle, shake to mix. Shake before each use.
I use lint free, dye free cotton cloths, spray about 6-8 pumps of spray onto the cloth or you can spray directly onto your wet laundry. Use the same cloth for multiple loads, launder after approx. 5-10 uses.
Using the dryer sheet spray method will cost you about 1 cent per load of laundry. You simple can’t beat that savings. No more dryer sheets filling our land fills.
Attach a few large safety pins to your DIY dryer sheet to reduce static cling.
It’s always a great choice to hang your clothing on a laundry line, there’s nothing like the smell of linens that have been hung out to dry in the sunshine, its easy on the environment and a huge money saver on your energy bill. During the winter you can use a indoor drying rack, plastic coat hangers, or install an indoor laundry line.
To get wrinkle free line dried laundry, toss your laundry in the dryer for 5-10 minutes with dryer balls, remove and line dry.
Check out my DIY Clothesline for Small Spaces article.
- Do one load of laundry per weekday/weeknight to keep caught up, or choose two designated weekdays/weeknights, and when the weekend arrives you’ll be done, your weekend will be full of fun and relaxation, not chores.
- Make it a family affair and have your kids sort their own laundry. Provide them with 2 mesh garment bags, 1 for underwear, 1 for socks and their own laundry basket. If you have a large laundry room, they can sort their laundry in bins in your laundry room.
- Purchase several of the same size and type of laundry basket, this way when they’re not in use, they will stack easily, saving space.