It’s time to ditch commercial laundry products and opt for zero waste, and/or natural or homemade solutions. The internet is a mecca for homemade detergent recipes. Google “homemade detergent” for hundreds of websites and blogs with different recipes and reviews. One bonus is the cost. The main ingredients are so inexpensive that the average cost per load is around $.05 — about 1/5 the cost of commercial brands.
Here are some ways to reduce laundry routine waste:
Fabric Softer—Simply add add ½ cup of white vinegar to each load. I could write an entire article just on the benefits of using white vinegar in the wash, but I’ll save you from the boring details. Just to sum it up: vinegar brightens, whitens, softens, disinfects, reduces static and fights stains. When using white vinegar in the wash you do NOT need to use any other softener. Just like homemade detergent, it is way cheaper than commercial products: 1 gallon of white vinegar = $3; 1.5 liters, or .39 gallons, of Downy = $9.
Stains can be removed with various home remedies.
Stain remover spray
- ¼ cup Castile soap
- 3 drops lemon essential oil
- 1 Tbsp Baking Soday
- Water, enough to fill up he bottle
- 16 oz glass spray bottle
Mix all ingredients in a spray bottle. Before using, shake the bottle vigorously then spray liberally over the stain. Allow to rest for no more than 5 minutes, then immediately toss into the wash.
Stain remover paste
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- 5 drops lemon essential oil
- 1 tsp hot water
Make a paste and apply to stain
Laundry Detergent—Today there are so many different options, from homemade laundry detergent to soap nuts; and there are companies that make zero waste laundry detergents that not only will save you money but also are convenient and still kind to the planet.
Here are my two favorites that I have tried.
- Plastic free
- Compostable packaging
- 100% carbon-neutral shipments
Tru Earth eco-strip packs ultra-concentrated, hypoallergenic, eco-friendly cleaning power into a tiny, pre-measured strip of detergent that you just toss into the wash.
- New zero-waste compostable packaging
- Dissolves completely in hot or cold water
- Works in all washing machines, including HE, front loads or top loads.
- Readily biodegradable in accordance with OECD 310D
- Hypoallergenic, certified by independent dermatologists
- Vegan: no animal-based ingredients or testing on animals by the company or their ingredient suppliers
- Grey water safe
Having used soap nuts for our laundry since 2011, we are happy with the product. It works, is inexpensive, is grey water safe, and can be composted after use.
Dryers are estimated to account for 5.8% of a household’s energy usage — more than any other appliance in your home. Your energy consumption can be lowered easily by using a drying rack during the cold seasons and clotheslines during the spring/summer. We mostly air dry our clothes, using a very simple but usable drying rack from Ikea .
We use the dryer for sheets and towels, and toss in wool dryer balls along with them because they reduce drying time.