Makeover Monday: The Laundry List

Since we spent last week talking about spring cleaning and I spent the majority of today doing laundry, I thought it only natural to take this week’s makeover into one of my least favorite rooms in the house – the laundry room.  It’s surprising to me how personal and varied people’s laundry methods can be, but if you’re looking to rid your clothes and home of unnecessary chemicals or harsh detergents this should help get you started. 

I’ll be honest, my laundry routine fluctuates based on time and budget.  But for the most part, I’ve been making my own laundry detergent for about nine months.  It’s incredibly easy and very cost effective and you can find all the details here.  If you aren’t up for making your own laundry detergent here are some other options for greening your laundry routine.

  •  Choose an eco-friendly laundry detergent- There’s a growing list of eco-friendly laundry detergents on the market, but for the most part, they are more expensive than their traditional counterparts.  Some of them work really well and some of them – not so much.  My personal favorite for price and performance is Seventh Generation (liquid).
  • Choose an eco-friendly fabric softener- I know it’s hard for some people to give up their fabric softeners.  They make our clothes so soft and if your partial to a scent it can be hard to replace.  But did you know the reason those lovely smells linger for so long is because those fabric softeners are packed with some pretty powerful chemicals?  Many of them have been found to cause lung and respiratory irritation and we’re sleeping in those fabrics and wearing them all day long!  We first made the switch to Seventh Generation fabric softener because of our sensitivity to perfumes and it worked really well.  Now, we’ve taken it a step further and are using white vinegar in our fabric softener dispenser.  (You can also use a downy ball.)  It works just as well at softening our clothes, leaves no odor behind and is a lot less expensive!   If you like to have a light scent, add some lemon or essential oil to the vinegar you use for your laundry.  Just don’t over do it.  It only takes a few drops per cup of vinegar. 
  • Eliminate static cling naturally - If you’re worried about static cling, it’s probably worth noting that natural fabrics don’t produce static the way synthetic fabrics do.  Obviously, we can’t simply replace all of our synthetic fabrics, but eco-friendly fabric softeners are just as effective at eliminating static cling and I haven’t had any trouble with static since we made the switch to vinegar.  If you have a lot of synthetic fabrics or just seem to have trouble with static, you might want to check out these hypoallergenic, reusable static eliminating dryer sheets from Gaiam.  They can be used up to 500 times!
  • Choose cold water - Whenever possible, choose the coldest setting for washing and rinsing your clothes.  This saves you money on electricity, is more energy efficient and environmentally friendly.  Most eco-friendly laundry detergents are made to perform well in cold water. 
  • Choose homemade or natural spray starch- Personally, I don’t use starch when ironing, but I asked around and here are the best tips I found to help you out if you like a little starch for your linens or dress shirts.  Make it yourself by mixing a tablespoon of cornstarch with 600 ml of water in a spray bottle.  This solution will keep for about a week if stored in the refrigerator.  Earth Friendly non-aerosol spray starch got great reviews for an eco-friendly option you can buy.
  • Always wash a full load – It’s cost effective and energy efficient.
  • Hang dry when possible- Think beyond delicates when it comes to hang drying.  If you have time, hang dry your clothes outside or on a drying rack in the bathroom.  Like washing a full load, it’s cost and energy efficient and it’s gentler on your clothes.

I didn’t get into washers and dryers because let’s face it, that’s not something most of us can go out and replace right now as much as we may want to. But, just in case any of you are in the market for a new washer/dryer, here’s a great article on some of the more environmentally friendly options. 

Now that our laundry rooms are all a little greener, how about a little prettier?  I absolutely love this laundry room makeover from Cameras and Chaos.  If I had this gorgeous laundry room, I might be inspired to do more laundry.

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