Whew! Is anyone else tired yet? Spring cleaning is a lot of work! But we’re almost done. Today were tackling a room that is often neglected when it comes to cleaning (at least by me) - the laundry room. I’m approaching it from two angles. First, we’ll clean the room and washing machine with natural cleaning products. Second, we’ll look at making over our laundry products to keep harsh chemicals out of our clothes, sheets and towels.
Let’s get started.
First, make sure you have a bag handy for garbage. Next get your spray bottle of vinegar and water and a few clean rags.
Wiping Down the Washer & Dryer: My machines were covered with lint, sticky laundry detergent spills and stickers and tags from the boys new spring clothes. I used my trusty spray bottle of white vinegar and a clean washcloth to wipe them down from top to bottom.
Cleaning the Inside of the Washer: People who own front load washers often complain about a musty smell. If you have this problem, you can fix it by simply cleaning your washer with vinegar every few months. Run a long wash cycle with nothing but the water and a cup of white vinegar. When the cycle is finished, spray the inside of the door and all the parts you can reach with the vinegar/water solution and wipe it down with a soft rag. Use a wet rag with only water to wipe everything down once more and leave the door open so it can dry completely. We have a top loader and use vinegar in every wash cycle (see fabric softner notes). We also keep the top open when we’re not running a load so I don’t normally feel the need to clean the inside of my machine.
Mop the Floor: First I vacuumed the floor making sure to get the baseboards, behind the washer and dryer and into every crack and crevice I could reach. I wanted to make sure I caught all the lint and dust. Next I sprayed my floor (we have basic linoleum) with white vinegar and mopped it with my Oreck Steam Cleaner. If you don’t have a steam cleaner, I recommend mopping with a bucket of hot water mixed with a cup of white vinegar. Or try using a mild dish soap, like Seventh Generation, in your mop bucket. Either way, your floor will be clean, shiny and smelling fresh and chemical free.
Now that your laundry room is naturally clean and chemical free, let’s talk about cleaning up our detergents.
Laundry Detergent: I like to make my own laundry detergent, but if this isn’t for you I highly recommend the Seventh Generation laundry detergent. I like the free and clean version because our boys have sensitive skin, but they also have a variety of lightly scented options if you like that. If you want to try making your own, it’s quick, easy and cost effective. Here’s the recipe.
You’ll need: 4 bars of Ivory soap, cheese grater, 1 box of Borax, 1 box of Arm & Hammer Supper Sudsing Soap, essential oils if you like it scented, a container with a lid to store it.
Grate the 4 bars of Ivory soap into your container. Mix in 4 cups of Borax and 4 cups of Arm & Hammer Supper Sudsing Soap. Mix it all together. If you want a scent, try 1-2 drops of lemon or lavender essential oil. You will need 2-3 tablespoons of detergent per load and this should last for awhile.
Fabric Softener: I use white vinegar in our wash cycle. I just add about 1/4 cup to the fabric softener cup in my washing machine. You can also put the vinegar in a Downy ball and just drop it in at the start of the wash cycle.
Dryer Sheets: If you use dryer sheets I highly recommend investing in a set of 5 wool dryer balls. We found ours on Etsy and we run them with every dryer cycle. Four – five wool dryer balls thrown in with a large load of clothes will cut your drying time in half and eliminate static. Zero chemicals, zero static and they help save energy by reducing your dry time. Plus they last for a LONG time. Awesome! Love mine!
Starch: I don’t do much ironing around here. My husband handles that and he doesn’t use starch. But if you do, try this recipe my mom shared with me awhile back. All you need is 1 tablespoon of corn starch, about 2.5 cups of water and a spray bottle. Mix it up and store it in the fridge. This solution will last for about a week so mix as needed.
Stain Remover: This is probably the toughest one, but I’ve found a few things that work. I use our homemade laundry detergent and mix it with water to form a paste. Coat the stain with the paste, scrub with a toothbrush then let it soak in a sink full of water overnight and wash. This works with most natural stains. I also use Nature’s Fresh Enzyme Spray from Nature’s Sunshine. This has worked on just about every stain I’ve come up against.
Those are my tips. Do you have any tips or recipes for keeping harsh chemicals out of the laundry room?
Don’t forget to check out Krista’s tips for DeCluttering and Organizing your Laundry Room!