How To Do Your Laundry Chemically-Free

Why Go Chemically-Free

There is no shortage of effective, great-smelling and easy to use laundry products on our store shelves. The issue is what is in them.  Our cleaning products are not heavily studied or regulated and many detergents contain effective cleaning agents but ones that can include know carcinogens and substances harmful to our brain as well as fetal and infant development. More research is being done in this area, but in the meantime, best to be aware of the harm chemicals used in many off-the-shelf detergents can do.  Here's more on that:

The ingredients contained in many laundry detergents are harmful to our health.  Chemicals like chlorine, phosphates, Nonylphenol (NP) and other ingredients that turn into harmful chemicals really do not belong in something we have contact with through our skin every minute of our every day! (Click on the green for more information.)

Many chemicals in commercially branded laundry detergents have no need.  They are merely added so that our clothes will appear whiter or brighter.  But there are safer ways to achieve that.

They smell nice but at a cost.  There are better ways to get those great smelling clothes. Besides, many people build up an allergy to the perfumes and dyes used in the some detergents. Organic or chemical-free methods do not use these.

Some detergents contain surfants that can cause cancer and reproductive disorders.  When these surfactants are used, they release benzene into the environment, which is the toxin believed to be a carcinogen.

Our environment is adversely affected.
  The phosphates that are in many commercial detergents are a known water pollutant and are a considered by many to kill fish and plants, which throws our entire ecological system out of balance.

The chemical exposure does not end with the wash cycle.  Fumes you inhale from the just dried clothes washed with commercial detergents that have fragrance can be an irritant to your respiratory system long after the wash is done.

Dry cleaners cost you.  And, I don't just mean with cash. The chemicals used to dry clean clothes are really harmful.  Seek out an organic dry cleaner in your area.

Enjoying Chemical-Free Laundry 

Using chemically-free laundry methods has been gradual at our house as I have learned more.  Here are some methods and tips I have used to go chemical-free that you may want to adopt in doing your laundry with great results!

At the very least, switch to a fragrance-free detergent.  Many fragrances are just chemicals that irritate and harm.

But, even better - try a chemical-free detergent. Here is a list of highly rated organic laundry detergents and here is the Environmental Working Group's ratings of laundry detergents as well. And, another blogger even makes her own.

Here is what I have used: I have tried several organic detergents and admittedly bounce around. I like Seventh Generation products, though, and I add the Arm and Hammer Washing Soda as an additive to counteract our hard water. I was advised to use the BioKleen Bac-Out and it is really effective with stains but I see the EWG has rated it rather poorly.  I have used Oxy-Clean (for babies) as well (rated well in the EWG) and lemon juice as a bleaching agent with great success.

Toss the dryer sheets.  Use a chemical-free but great smelling sachet instead.  I use lavender sachets for the dryer that smell wonderful.  You can make your own, too, and here is how.  Mine were a gift (so nice!). Another alternative: homemade dryer balls.

Nothing beats the smell of clothes that have been line dried.  In spring and summer and warmer fall days, I try to dry as much as I can outside and keep the dryer off.  Less ironing too! And, clothes that need a little brightening?  The sun can do the trick!

Wear clothes more than once.  Seriously, a t-shirt you wore for a few hours while writing emails probably is clean enough to throw on another day.  There is no portion of the population more guilty of adding to the laundry pile than teenagers who constantly change outfits. (Could it be easier to add it to the laundry basket than hang it up, perhaps?) I even have a hook in my closet for clothes that I only wore briefly that don't belong in the hamper yet and can be worn again.

Seek out organic dry cleaners.  These are popping up everywhere. I have found one near my home that does a great job!

I would love to hear about your laundry tips.  Really, I would. Please tell us what products and methods you have used that work well to do your laundry chemically-free.

blueksy: photo credit: <a href="">mariateresat.</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="
green: photo credit: <a href="">Rick Payette</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>
shirts: photo credit: <a href="">h&b { Lea }</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>