Laundry is an area that can be full of unknown toxins and chemicals – here’s how to green your laundry routine so that you can keep your family safe and healthy.
I had the opportunity to try Earth Berries Soap Nuts through an ethical Deal samples program. “These all-natural soap berries are fragrance-free, eco-friendly, quality-tested and strong on stains and odour while still being gentle on fabrics.”
Soap Nuts are a perfect green and healthy choice for doing laundry. Eco-friendly, biodegradable, natural, hypoallergenic, economical – how can you go wrong?? The only question is – do they work as well as regular liquid or powder laundry detergent?
My answer is yes! Our clothes came out just as clean and fresh as when I use my liquid natural soapberry detergent. The only downside to using the soap nuts is that you need 1 extra little minute to soak the nuts in warm water before you throw them in the washing machine. Time well spent to save some money, the environment, and your health! There are several soap nut brands out there – I really liked the ones I got from Green Virgin Products (review here). Other brands include Eco Nuts which you can get from well.ca.
Liquid Laundry Detergent
Not all liquid laundry detergents are created equal, so be careful about reading the ingredients when you’re trying to go for a greener option. What I am happily using right now is First Element’s Laundry Wash Concentrate. A little bit of this liquid detergent goes a long way, and it includes soap nuts as well as borax to fight stains. When I’m in a bind and have a nasty stain to get out, I’ll put some of this detergent directly on the stain before throwing it in the washer, and 9 times out of 10 it is gone when it comes out. (FYI – If you are interested in ordering First Element products, consider sending me a message and ordering through me! I will give you 10% off.) I also really liked the Green Virgin Products liquid soapnuts. I have also used Pink Solution (that I got in a big tub from Costco – and it is meant to be a truly all-purpose cleaner), and Nature Clean, which I think are good second choices for me. If you’re worried about killing germs in your clothes, I use Melaleuca and Lemon essential oils (just a drop or 2 in the entire bottle – shake it well every time you use it) to help with that.
Stain Remover Bars
I was excited to discover 2 stain remover bars that worked wonders when my daughter was still an infant and had to deal with poonami stains. Buncha Farmers Stain Remover is a soap bar that you wet and rub into stains. I find that it helps to let it soak for a bit before throwing it into the wash. The bar lasts for a long time so it’s definitely worth the few dollars it costs! You can get it from well.ca in Canada, and at amazon.com in the US.
When I bought my tub of Pink Solution at Costco, it also came with a Laundry Bar. It contains borax and I find it to be equally effective at fighting stains when I wet it with warm water, rub it into stains and let it soak before putting it in the washing machine. You can get it at Costco, and from the Pink Solution website.
Fabric Softener and Dryer Sheets
I have never used fabric softeners because I was also worried about the chemicals and unnecessary fragrances. (If you don’t already know about the dangers of fabric softeners and conventional dryer sheets, read more here and here. It’s pretty bad. Like toxin-carcinogen bad.) So what I use now is good old fashioned white vinegar. The vinegar smell does not linger after the clothes are dry, so don’t worry about that! It is very economical, and I find that it does add some softness to our laundry. If you really want a fabric softener, there are tons of DIY fabric softeners out there with essential oils.
Conventional dryer sheets – definitely do not use them! Apart from the fabric softener side of dryer sheets, the other function is to reduce static. I read about how simply putting a safety pin on a bit of fabric or even onto a wool dryer ball can help to reduce the static. I sewed 2 little dryer sheets out of scrap cotton that I put several safety pins in – seriously – no static! I use wool dryer balls as well, which I find really reduce drying time. If you want your clothes to smell nice coming out of the dryer, just add a drop or 2 of an essential oil of your choice (Citrus Fresh, Lemon, and Lavender are some of my favourites) directly onto a wool ball and throw it in! Again there are lots of wool dryer ball brands out there: Moss Creek Wool Works, Woolzies, Heart Felt, Smart Sheep, and Little Lamb are just a few options. My only word of caution with dryer balls is to buy ones that look smooth on the surface, not ones that look more like a ball of yarn – the ball of yarn ones haven’t been felted and I find that little strands of wool get into my clothes.
UPDATE: I’ve had a lot of questions about how to combat static. Safety pins aren’t the only thing that helps. I’ve found that it’s the combination of safety pins, and a few other things. Taking out synthetic fabrics is a key factor – I make sure to hang those. Actually I hang most of my clothes to dry to reduce using a dryer – so socks and underwear are really the only things I put in the dryer. Overdrying also contributes to static, so don’t run the dryer longer than needed – take your clothes out right when they’re dry.
I hope some of these natural laundry tips are helpful! What are some of your go-tos for non-toxic laundry?
(Disclosure: I received a sample of Earths Berries Soap Nuts through ethical Deal’s samples program. I purchased the other products on my own. No compensation was received for this post and the opinions expressed are purely my own. I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and the Amazon.com.ca, Inc. Associates Program, affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com & amazon.ca. This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase products via these links, a small percentage of the sale will be given to me at no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting juicygreenmom.ca!)