Get your garments clean, bright, soft and beautifully scented the eco-friendly and affordable way with these 10 green laundry tips, including natural laundry detergent recipes, lightening laundry without bleach, making line-dried towels softer and eliminating musty smells.
Bleach White Garments with Lemon Juice
Believe it or not, you can brighten those whites without ever having to inhale toxic bleach again. Just add 1/2 cup of lemon juice to your load of laundry. Let heavily soiled garments soak for a while before washing. Got a serious stain? Add a couple capfuls of hydrogen peroxide, too. Letting your garments air-dry in direct sunlight will also help lighten them.
Eliminate Stiff Air-Dried Towels
Hanging your laundry out to dry? While it’s true that towels can be a little stiff when line-dried rather than thrown in the dryer, there are a couple simple solutions to prevent this. First, most stiffness is caused by detergent buildup, so make sure that your laundry is very well-rinsed, and consider cutting back on the amount of detergent you use. Second, lightly mist the towels with water using a spray bottle after they’re fully dried and then toss them in the dryer with no heat for about five minutes to fluff them up.
Make Your Own Laundry Soap
This simple DIY laundry detergent recipe will not only cut way back on environmentally harmful substances going down your drain, it’s also healthier for your body than store-bought soaps containing harsh fragrances and costs way less, too. My Merry Messy Life has the details on making two different kinds of laundry detergent – one with borax, and one without. All you need are a few simple household materials like castile soap, washing soda and optional essential oils.
Use Cold Water
Cold water is perfectly sufficient for most laundry jobs, and a simple turn of the dial can save about 90 percent of the energy typically used by a washing machine.
Get Musty Smells Out of Textiles
A quarter-cup of white vinegar added to the water along with your regular laundry detergent will eliminate musty, mildewy smells from any washable garments or textiles, and the vinegar smell completely disappears after washing.
Use Dryer Balls
Wool dryer balls reduce drying time by 30 to 50 percent, decrease wrinkles and help eliminate static. Miss the scent of fabric softener? Add a few drops of essential oils. You can make your own dryer balls, too – Live Simply has a tutorial.
Consider Soap Nuts
Soap nuts are the dried berries of the Sapindus plant family, which naturally contain saponin, a natural surfactant. Used for thousands of years in Asia, they can simply be tossed into your washer in a small cotton baggie. They’re natural, affordable and biodegradable.
Wash Full Loads
Washing partial loads is a big waste of water. If you must wash smaller loads, be sure to adjust the water levels.
Natural Fabric Softener Recipe
If some of your garments are still in need of fabric softener, try this recipe from Everyday Roots – it uses Epsom salts, essential oils and baking soda to make stiff fabric cuddly again.
Remove Wrinkles Without Ironing
Sick of ironing? Here’s a quick and simple trick for getting wrinkles out of your clothes: hang the up in the bathroom before you take a shower so the humidity gives them a quick steam treatment.
Top Image via Magic Madzik, Flickr Creative Commons