Eco-friendly cleaning for your Laundry
A trip to the store will provide you hundreds of cleaning options for your laundry. Most of these commercial detergents and softeners contain harmful ingredients like phosphates, naphthalene, optical brighteners, bleach or phenol.
A good alternative for greener laundry cleaning is using a laundry soap which is biodegradable. You may want to grate the soap so that it will dissolve quicker and you will not have to use high temperatures in your washing machine. You can find a soap like Fels Naptha amongst the detergents at your store or if its hard to find, you can opt to buy it online.
To clean cotton and linen, use grated laundry soap to soften the water and a cup of white distilled vinegar to boost your colors and brighten your whites, while 50g of baking soda will soften the clothes.
Another recipe for whites is 25g of washing soda and 50ml of white vinegar. The washing soda has a bleaching effect while being less harmful then bleach. Like laundry soap, washing soda can be found in the detergent aisles at the store or online.
For dark clothes, mix 50ml of distilled white vinegar with 25g of fine table salt. This mixture is also good as a stain remover for deodorant stains on garments.
As a fabric softener, you may use white distilled vinegar. Add 15-20ml of vinegar to the last rinse for softer clothes. In case you are worried about the smell, rest assured that when the clothes dry, the smell dissipates. However, if you do want a pleasant smell you may want to add a drop or 2 of your favorite essential oil. You can mix a whole bottle of vinegar with the oils and keep next to your washing machine so you do not have to mix every time.
I have a front loader machine and have noticed that the clothes and towels feel great when I use vinegar. The towels are soft and more absorbent then when using regular fabric softener. Vinegar also works out cheaper and protects the fabrics making them last longer. Apparently, vinegar helps to prevent limescale, so it even helps protect your washing machine. All round bonus!
Interestingly, tennis balls make good softeners. Just place a tennis ball in the machine and it will soften the clothes. If you want to do it the professional way, you may use a dryer ball that will attract lint, reduce ironing and soften your clothes with no chemicals.