Mother Earth Living

The Emperor's New Suds: Natural Laundry Tips

By Misty McNally
January/February 2008
Add to My MSN

Content Tools

We've been convinced we need Lemon-Freshened, Static-Removing Spot-Begone. Do we?

Many conventional laundry products are not biodegradable and, being made from nonrenewable petroleum products and harsh chemicals, negatively affect local waterways. Unfortunately, these super soaps don't really work any better than simpler, more natural products.

To clean up your laundry act, buy only one detergent—you can use it directly on stains. Avoid conventional detergents with health warnings such as "may cause skin irritation" or "harmful vapors." Look instead for a product that's biodegradable and plant-based, not made from petroleum, and produced by a company with strong environmental ethics. A powdered or concentrated detergent is a bonus; it contains less water. And if you must have fragrance, be certain it's derived from natural essential oils.

Skip the dryer sheets, chlorine bleaches and chemical spot treatments. You can find eco-friendly substitutes in your pantry. Add baking soda to wash water as a softener/freshener, hydrogen peroxide as a spot remover or bleaching agent, and borax as a detergent booster. Sample them on a swatch before using them on fine fabrics.

Finally, reduce packaging by buying the largest container of detergent you can, preferably one that's refillable—and be sure to recycle it.

Post a comment below.


Subscribe today and save 58%

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living !

Mother Earth LivingWelcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $14.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $19.95.

(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here