There may be some guidelines to start with. These may sound like common sense things, but sometimes we can forget or maybe we’ve never been shown how to actually wash our laundry. Don’t wash your work clothes with your babies clothes. Especially if those clothes are heavily soiled. If you end up with a stain on your whites (because white seems to attract wine and coffee) soak it right away, don’t wait for the stain to settle in and make itself at home.
Sorting your clothes. Does it actually make a difference? How do we sort them?
By colour, whites, darks, bright colours and pastels, should be washed separately if possible.
Heavy and delicates should be separated as well and towels, sheets and bedspreads should be washed together. Don’t forget to check the pockets of pants, shits, and jackets and sweaters. Nothing worse than a pen exploding in your washing machine.
Always pre-soak stains, pre-wash really heavily soiled clothing. Don’t over use detergent as it can actually create a film on your clothes making dirt stick to them.
Lets start with washing your cloths. Do you fill your washer all the way up or do you only add a few items but still wash a full load? We typically use the largest load and only use cold. We don’t have the hot water even hooked up actually. Obviously don’t over pack your washing machine but lightly layer your clothes up to your fill line. This allows you to get the most out of you water and usage of your machine. If you need to only wash a few things try hand washing or using the small load size and adding in enough clothes to actually use the water you are using. There are also other options if you are a single person you can find small washing machines for small amounts of items. These also take up hardly any space.
HOT OR COLD WATER
We don’t use hot water like I was saying earlier. If there is a hard stain we pre-soak that item in hot water in a bucket or sink with some stain remover (more on this later). Hot water is best for getting out germs and heavy soil. But like I said you can pre-soak these items in hot water. Unless you work in construction you can probably get way with cold water.
Lets look at the PROS and CONS
-Removes dirt easier,
-kills germs better,
-Best for whites and diapers,
-can fade items
-can shrink items
-cost more on heating,
-can set stains
-doesn’t shrink clothe
-doesn’t fade clothes
-helps keeps colour from bleeding,
-less likely to set stains
-may require pre-soaking
-may require more detergent
You have a small list of pros and cons and can make your own decisions on when to use hot, when to use cold or be somewhere in the middle. Just remember sometimes cold is better and sometimes hot is better.
Pr soaking in warm water not too hot is a great way to remove tough dirt and reduce the amount of hot water you use in your wash cycle. So how do we pre-soak dirty clothes and what can we use?
You will want to fill a large bucket, sink or tub with warm/hot water (not scalding hot). adding some detergent (add 1/4 cup of vinegar to items heavy with oil, or grease, whites, babies clothes and sheets and towels.) Vinegar can break down grease and oil, soften materials acts as a natural bleach but won’t cause bleach spots or common problems that come with chemicals, and dissolves uric acid, which is why its great for baby items.
If you are in a time pinch you can pre-soak for 30-60 minutes, but overnight is best! Make sure to rinse with COLD WATER. Hot water can cause stains to set, and we don’t want that.
Have you ever walked into the laundry isle and felt lost, like completely lost. (hands up) I know I have. It’s rows and rows of basically the same, watered down detergent, all boasting something different, half of them aren’t even bio degradable, some say they are, but aren’t. How do you choose? What about all that packaging. AHHH!!! There are some better options, you can make your own laundry detergent but there’s also some more eco-friendly options out there that are more convenient than making your own. Lets look at a few!
What in the world are soap BERRY? I will admit I have not tried these…yet. I would like to finish up using the less eco-friendly options that I still have. No use throwing it out, as that is more wasteful. Plus I’ve only ever seen them for sale on amazon and I’d rather make my own than supporting such a big company all the time. But I may attempt growing one as a house plant! That sounds like a fun project.
Soap berries come from a small tree or shrub that grows in tropical regions. The tree is called the Sapindus Mukorossi tree, which produces these amazing little soap fruits. Naturally found at the base of the Himalayan mountains. You can reuse each nut about 3-4 x and their shelf life is about 2 years.
They are free from chemicals and fillers, fragrance or toxins. You can find them organic which is highly suggested for sustainability and health. They are great for cloth diapers and are biodegradable, so just throw them in the compost when you are done.
You will want to use about 6 nuts per load. Simply add the nuts (about 6 nuts) to a washer bag, some places that sell the nuts come with bags, or you may need to make or buy your own. Toss into your washing machine and leave it in for the entire cycle (wash, rinse, and spin) They will also naturally soften your fabric. BONUS! When hanging your clothes remove the bag and let it dry. You can use this bag 3 more times before changing the nuts!
Tru-earth is a company that has made some pretty neat laundry strips. They come in a cardboard box, it’s really thin actually and theres a few sheets inside the box that you can tear strips off of. You simply throw the strip in your washing machine and it dissolves, leaving nothing behind except for a thin cardboard box, which can be thrown in your compost bin. I have used these strips before and found them to work quite well for most items. If I was doing a really heavy load I did need to use two of them and pre-saoking was needed more often. But it should be noted that my husband works at a tree planting company and his clothes are nasty when he brings them home and have been sitting all week. Me on the other hand I’m a stay at home mom, but when I get to the garden I’m filthy. Covered head to toe in dirt and so is our daughter. So considering how messy we get, they do work quite well. If you are a city worker and don’t spend as much time getting dirty. These will definitely work amazing for you! They are also manufactured in Canada! Woot woot!!
I will leave this link right here for you
3.DIY LAUNDRY DETERGENTS
LETS MAKE OUT OWN!!
Laundry soap powder (Makes about 6 loads)
1 cup washing soda
1 cup baking soda
1 cup soap flakes or finely grated soap bar
5-10 drops Essential oils (optional)
Add Soap flakes and essential oils to a bowl and mix to evenly distribute the essential oils. Add in the remaining ingredients and mix well again. These reason I don’t ass essential oils into everything is citrus essential oils can cause baking soda to start fizzing and reacting (like baking soda and vinegar). This helps prevent that.
Once everything is mixed add ingredients to airtight container.
HOW TO USE
Add about 1/2 cup of powder to every load. If you are doing a small load only use 1/4 cup.
You can play around with essential oils but here’s a few to try
Tea tree is a great anti-fungal and antibacterial
Lemon, sweet orange and citrus are refreshing, they are also great at helping to remove stains.
Peppermint and eucalyptus are great for sinus infections and cold.
Cedar and patchouli are very earthy, great for men’s clothes or if you don’t love floral scents.
BE careful with Rosemary it isn’t good on wool, silk or satin
There are many more DIY laundry detergents you can find with a simple google search. If one doesn’t work for you another surely will. Have fun experimenting with scents, and powders or liquids. Laundry shouldn’t be boring!
DIY PRESOAK MIXTURE (1 wash)
1 cup vinegar
1/2 cup salt or borax
3 drop tee tree essential oil or peppermint
Place all ingredients in your washer, add in heavily soiled clothes. Cover clothes with enough warm water to just cover them. Let clothes sit for at least an hour but overnight is fine too. Wash clothes as you normally would.
HOW ABOUT DRYING THEM CLOTHES?
We sold out dryer some time last year (2020) We haven’t used it in over a year. And we don’t even miss it. We hang our clothes spring, summer and fall outside. When the weather gets too cold we hang them inside. That’s right, just like women did in 1950 and before. Have you ever read little women, they hung their clothes inside as well. If you are lucky enough to have a wood stove. Sadly our house doesn’t have one and it would be too big of a job to install one, hanging your clothes in the winter by your wood stove dries them incredibly fast. It might just be me but it also gives them a comforting smell of the wood stove. Okay maybe it’s just me.
We hang our clothes in the living room, usually in the late afternoon and over night. I think the preference is more in case someone stops in we don’t have clothes in their way. We have a small house and our laundry room, is actually behind a curtain in our bedroom, but we might figure out a way for hanging them there in the future, if you have a basement or large laundry room, why not put up a line or two and hang them there. Your clothes will last much longer. I have seen these neat wooden ladder like things that fold flat to the wall and extend out for hanging your clothes.
If you really prefer your dryer or don’t have time to let clothes hang to dry there are some more sustainable options for dryers. You can try tumble drying with just air and less or no heat. This will be faster than hanging but slower than using heat.
Instead of using “bounce” sheets, opt for a reusable wool ball. You can find them at pharmacies, wal-mart, amazon, and health food stores. The fun thing about these is you can scent it with your own favorite essential oils by adding a few drops to the ball, and they help with static but aren’t loaded with chemicals like dryer sheets are. They also don’t need to be thrown out all the time.
If you have any other laundry hacks or tricks add them in the comments below. Do you do any of these things? Do you think you might try something new? I’d love to hear it!