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( updated Feb 21)
We have been searching for ages, for products that don’t contain a ton of harsh chemicals. It has been interesting trying out some of the recipes that I have found online. Not all of them have worked in the way I wanted . It wasn’t just the eco side of things that interested me, but also the effectiveness and the cost. Also how much effort it requires to make it.
The thought of sleeping or wearing materials that had been washed in toxic chemicals is not a great thought.
I know that a lot of people really enjoy the scent of the conditioners on the market, but I find the scent very overpowering, and it lingers for an incredible amount of time. It can really set off a migraine with me.
Now they advertise that the scent will last weeks! I guess you have seen the same advert with people rolling around in a bed.
The fragrances they use ,smell very ‘chemically ‘ to me. Which is what they are hiding, unfortunately, too many chemicals .
It takes me ages in the supermarket to find a product without the fragrance and the color, why they feel the need to put in color, when it is just going into the washing machine?
Finding Cleaner solutions
There are again products out there, that you can purchase to reduce the chemicals in your wash.
I wanted to list some that are available, also some DIY solutions that are easy to make, and hopefully can save you some money too!
Just today I was reading a blog and someone mentioned a machine called PUREWASH this made by a company called GREENTECH. I didn’t even know these existed.
An amazing idea, which allows you to use your washing machine without using any detergents or softeners at all, wow!
I had a look on Amazon, and have found they do sell these, and some other brands too. I am not sure how much this works out to.
To say I am fascinated by this idea would be true.
No impact on the environment, no problem with our septic tank, and to be able to use a cold wash and still get your washing clean sounds great.
Here we do get hard water, I don’t know if you get the same problem where you are? But it can have such a huge impact on the workings of your washing machine. I thought I had seen most ideas after starting this blog, but this was a nice surprise this morning.
There are a load of Laundry Hacks on the internet, we have not tried them all out.
I have found an interesting page on THE SPRUCE.COM who have found 8 Hacks that don’t work! Explaining some of the science behind these findings.
From using just hot water to kill bacteria ( It won’t) To using cola for the loo, microwaves to kill bacteria on a sponge.
Some very good advice for people who are into hacks. We all want to make our chores quicker and easier.
I had seen the aspirin cleaner for the washing before, not tried it though.
This article explains why that doesn’t work, plus all this is going into our waterways.
We have not used Borax (sodium borate or sodium tetraborate) a natural occurring mineral, which some recipes call for. It is a stain remover and can be a booster to your washing powder. Not safe to ingest or breath in, care around your eyes , nose and mouth. So of course keep well away from children too.
ONE GOOD THING – Jillee offers ” What is Borax +27 Brilliant Borax Uses” – Jillee covers everything from cleaning carpets, upholstery in the car, bathrooms, shower and toilet bowl, rust, laundry, killing ants! Cleaning outside furniture- that is a dreaded pre- summer job for me. Also to remove odors from your mattress ( Bicarbonate of Soda works on this too) Refreshing your linens. Some fantastic advice on using this wonderful mineral.
Better Homes & Gardens Have 14 Laundry Hacks You Have To See.
From Using baking soda sprinkled on a pre- wash stain with a little White vinegar( check out the amounts on link)
One great tip was to use a pool noodle ( split down the length )over drying rack to stop lines on clothing ( make sure the color doesn’t come out of the noodle .Using a mesh bag for socks ( how come we always seem to lose one!) Lots of great tips that work.
REAL HOMES Have another 18 Laundry Hacks that work. How to get your towels fluffy again or your whites looking brighter. Some great ideas on stain removal and washing your sneakers.
There seems to be many sides to the debate, as is often found, when you go on a search for information.
I think you have to look at what your machine has in its information, and look at the ingredients that you are happy with, to make an informed decision.
BIO D CONCENTRATED LAUNDRY LIQUID ( 5 litres)
They produce a whole range of cleaning products.
We have tried these type of washing balls before, it took us a little time to get used to them.
I suppose it is the concept, of chucking a plastic ball into the wash-load and wondering how on earth that could clean anything. You can hear the little balls inside them. I must admit I tended to use them in a colour wash, where we didn’t have stains showing up.
They were recommended to us from our neighbour.
They are quite cost effective as they do 1500 washes .They use natural minerals and magnetic balls.
They also soften your clothing so no need to add conditioner as well.
If you are used to heavy fragrance, you may find it takes time to get used to no scent.
We have been able to buy refills in the past for the balls.
One tip, I would say is to put a date somewhere when you start using them ,as I totally forgot then didn’t know how long it was active for!
ECOZONE MAGNOBALL ( for Limescale)–
This ball is made up of a strong magnet, which helps prevent limescale in your washing machine.
We have heavy limescale here, and really needed a chemical free way of achieving this.
They do say that you will need less detergent if you are using this ball.
It lasts up to five years too which is great.
HOMEMADE CLOTHES WASHING SOLUTIONS
We have tried a few recipes, one with salt added but I found that it still ended up at the bottom of the bottle . I was also a little unsure whether the salt had any negative impact on the rubber inside the machine.
I saw today a recommendation not to use vinegar in your washing machine as it can breakdown the rubber hosing.
THE SPRUE.COM has an interesting article asking if Homemade washing detergent is safe for HE Machines.
THRIFTY HOMESTEADER.COM has a debate on using Homemade recipes for washing clothes, which gives another perspective.
This recipes for a DIY solution to making your own washing liquid is by BEXZWALKER.CO.UK
A great website covering many ideas on Natural living.
DIY NATURAL.COM written by MATT JABS has another detergent recipe which is in a powdered form. A mixture of Castille soap ( like Dr Bonners) Borax and washing soda, recipe on link.
HELLO NEST . They also give a recipe for washing bombs – which include Epsom salts, grated soap, laundry soda, vinegar and hydrogen peroxide , exact amounts on the link.
I have heard of people making a soap out of certain cactus plants.
There is someone who grows these in France , then I think making a soap or shampoo out of them, which is quite different.
I managed to find a little info on some of these plants.
Yucca elata This information below comes from National Park Service
The leaf fibers were used for the fabrication of rope, matting, sandals, baskets, or coarse cloth. The roots were chopped and boiled to produce soap to wash hair, blankets, and rugs.
USING WHITE VINEGAR
Also seen a few articles on people using white vinegar in the wash, this piece on Wikihow explains how to use them for softening, stain removal and deodorising fabrics. ( though as mentioned I have seen caution on it degrading rubber pipes)
These are Eco friendly Indian Soap Nuts – Soap Nut shells contain a substance called SAPOIN which is like a natural detergent. No need for conditioner either. Gentle on the skin.
They come from India and Nepal . They have been using them for hundreds of years! wow amazing with all the searching I have done over the years never to have come across them.
I was reading some interesting comments, on someone looking for alternative solution for their washing machine, they mentioned these soap nuts. I really fancy giving these a go.
You are given some muslin bags with the nuts, you use 4-5 half shells per wash load .
It sounds as though you can use them twice if it is a cool wash.
I have seen comments that you must allow them to totally dry between washes or they can go mouldy.
There seem to be other ways that these can be used around the house, cleaning, making up your own hand washing liquid.
There is a way of using them also for personal use such as for your hair, I will put some information in the shampoo blog. There is more information on this link.
NAKED SHELLS – ( pack of 10 )
No nothing like the name! they are extra bags that you can purchase to put in the Soap Nuts.
They can be used for Herbal Infusions too.
I found this really interesting VIDEO by SIMPLY KLAIRE .
I have never seen Conkers used like this before.
KLAIRE has a link on her video to look into this in more depth.
Explaining the best way to use them and what to avoid.
WASTELAND REBEL has another article on using CONKERS for washing clothes.
I felt I had to go searching a little more, as it was something I had never heard of.
We do have a conker tree in our garden, which I have to admit, drove me nuts! No pun intended . With all the spiky shells and keeping the dogs away.
If this does work, it could be my favourite tree in our garden!
After seeing this article, I came across another on the METRO NEWSPAPER in the UK , on using Conkers.
A lady basically having a free detergent for her washing every year, she explains how you use them and the work involved.
Washing these by hand seems to keep them looking good for much longer than just bunging them in the washing machine, which when I am busy seems to be an attractive solution!
What can we use other than the normal liquid in a bottle? When our daughter was a baby, I managed to get my hands on some pure soap flakes, they were great, it used to take me a little time to dissolve them. I found it quite difficult to get them from our local shop. The one on the link comes from Castille soap.
THE MAIDS BLOG has 6 Expert Tips for Washing Delicates
( from Link on STAINS clean straight away- “use a natural stain remover like white vinegar, baking soda or lemon juice. “) Taking a slow and cautious approach ( I usually try a patch test somewhere you cant notice, just to make sure) They discuss in depth ideas on hand washing and caring for your fabrics. How to care for our Bras ( not in the washing machine, even if you get the urge to just chuck it in!) Sorting out the different color fabrics to stop any bleeding of color.
SEW GUIDE– Also have some great tips on handwashing delicate fabrics and bras. One of the suggestions that was new for me was the use of baby shampoo, instead of expensive delicate laundry liquid. Great idea as it is gentle.
TREE HUGGER.COM Has some fantastic ideas on how to remove stains on clothing and carpets naturally.
Our Beloved Bicarbonate of Soda again being used so much around the house, from stains on carpeting ( always try a patch test first!) to using it for odours on mattresses. I love this stuff. Never mind the fact you can use it in cooking too.
Also after reading about Borax ( above article) the suggestion of this for carpets too.
THIS VIDEO BY THE RACHAEL RAY SHOW
CLEANING YOUR MATTRESS
This informative Blog is by HOUSEWIFE HOW TO’s .COM
I have heard of sprinkling a mattress with bicarbonate, then hoovering it off. I understand this helps with odours and stains.
One of my daughters had an allergy to dust mites , when you hear just how many of these are in your bed with you ( hundreds of thousands!), I won’t post a picture of one of these, I had trouble sleeping after seeing one. We had to purchase a mattress protection , which zipped up , including one for the pillows.
If you sweat at night, the amount of moisture that soaks into your bed is incredible.
I have seen recent reports here in France of bed bugs starting to be spread, which can effect hotels etc. Not a great thought. so hoovering and cleaning your mattress seems an even better idea!
A hoover each week does wonders for keeping on top of all the dead skin cells Yuk!
TUMBLE DRYER SOLUTIONS
These can just be popped into your dryer instead of using softener or dryer sheet.
They say it also reduces dryer time which can only be good for saving money.
I love the look of these ! I had never seen these before.
They are reusable , soften clothes without any chemicals, and reduce static
( that alone would be great ,I am always getting zapped by my jumpers! )
Reusable up to 1000 times, good for sensitive skin , made from New Zealand wool.
STWIE WOOL DRYER BALLS – Little sheep ! so cute.
I had include a link to these little wool balls they went down very well with our daughter
I absolutely hate the smell that comes from Dry cleaning.
It even smells like a chemical soup.It isn’t really dry, as the use of chemicals are put on the clothing. I am not sure it gives the right impression.
I first really thought about this process after watching on TV a documentary on how they had even found the chemicals leaving a residue in breast milk! I was horrified, a baby drinking that!
This article on CARE2.COM gives a list of the chemicals and their effects. Offering solutions to cleaning a different way.
ORGANIC CONSUMERS ORGANISATION offer a really clear insight into the chemicals used.
NYMAG has some good tips for managing your dry cleaning items from home.
I have seen some other ideas about using different products for dry cleaning from home. A book called Organic at home written for the shop Marks and Spencer. I have not tried any of these methods, a sample of the fabric would be the first try for me, I would hate to damage anything!
They offer a few suggestions from one with salt, bran and clay though it could get messy!
Another solution for general purpose, they talk about is water mixed with fullers earth – absorbent clay . which they say has a gentle cleansing . Making a paste then when it is dry on the garment brushing it off with a brush.
For light & delicate – using french chalk, placing your item on a towel( white) using more on the stained areas.roll up in the towel for 3-4 days to dry then lightly brush off. I haven’t ever purchased this, so I have put a list of what popped up when I had a look, one says it can be used on animal coats to lighten them, I wonder if this is the same stuff. more ideas on this google books.
CLEANING YOUR LEATHER & SWEDE
I know that this isnt laundry, but I found this great tip this week that I wanted to share with you.
I had a load of leather and swede boots in some boxes, tucked into a cupboard.
With the weather changing here for a really cold snap, I thought I would pull them out and air them out.
Only to find my black knee length swede boots were now white! Absolutely covered in mold, I thought I had lost them! I have only worn them a couple of times! I came across some tips on hoe to clean the mold and spores off them. LOVE TO KNOW written by a professional cleaner Jennifer L Betts.
First to hoover off the spores to get rid of as much as you can. Then grab a clean white cloth, ( Test an area before using for any color issues)
Then mix a spray bottle with half and half , water and rubbing alcohol. Spray and wipe the area to get rid of the mold. It came off like magic! I am so grateful to these tips. There are different tips on the link, this is the one that I used. Be sure to throw away the cloth afterwards so that the spores don’t transfer. I Threw away the boxes they had been in as well, as there could have been spores hiding in them. If you have a swede brush you can you that afterwards too.