How green is your laundry? If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you may recall, I don’t use laundry detergent. If you haven’t been reading, you’re probably shocked right now. I know. It seems extreme and, well, unclean, but stick with me a while, this may change your thoughts on how you launder your clothes.
I stopped using laundry detergent in May 2010 after reading an article where the CEO of 7th Generation was quoted as saying the mechanical action of the washing machine was enough to clean all but the most heavily soiled laundry. So I thought I’d try it.
I reported three months later I was using laundry detergent on my towels still, but that has since stopped. I haven’t purchased any laundry detergent in over a year now. My clothes are clean. They don’t smell, at all. I found if I just rinse the heavily soiled items (kitchen towels used for spills and really dirty kid’s clothes) in water before washing them, I don’t have problems with odors and I have no more stains than I did with laundry detergent.
Why would anyone want to not use laundry detergent?
Lots of reasons. First, think of the money savings. Really, I don’t buy laundry detergent. Ever.
Second, environmental reasons. I only put water down the drain when I do laundry, no chemicals or soaps at all.
Third, health reasons. There was a small study recently published that found carcinogens being emitted from the vents of dryers when scented laundry detergent and fabric softeners were used. Now, granted, it was a very small study and certainly more studies need to be done to confirm, but I’d rather err on the side of caution.
But, you say, I’m not ready to go cold turkey. I understand that. There are some steps you can take to ease into it. Or just go as green as is comfortable for you.
1. Switch to unscented green laundry detergents
There are a lot of options out there that you can get pretty much anywhere you buy regular laundry detergents. Why unscented? Well, there’s the potential carcinogen risk. Also, if you think you might try no detergent, going unscented first will help take that next step.
There are also soap nuts. They can be ordered online. They are fruit off a tree that you throw in a mesh bag in the washing machine. I’ve never used them, but apparently they work great, make your clothes super soft, and last through multiple loads. I would try them if I still used soap.
2. Decrease the Amount of Detergent Used
Those lines on the measuring cups are really just wrong. No one needs to use that much detergent. Remember, the machine really does all the work. Try decreasing to the line below what you usually use. See if you can tell a difference. Keep decreasing it. Maybe eventually you’ll be comfortable trying no detergent.
3. Just Try It
You can always re-wash the load if you think it’s dirty. I’m guessing you’ll be surprised that you can’t tell the difference.
How do you try to keep your laundry green? Have you ever not used detergent at all? Do you think you might try it?
** This post was written as part of the Healthy Child Healthy World blogger program. I received no compensation for this post, it’s just a cause I believe in strongly.