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Eco-friendly cleaning for your Laundry

Updated on October 31, 2011

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.

Fabric softener

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.


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    • profile image

      stessily 6 years ago

      kikalina, Vinegar, baking soda, and salt are my cleaners of choice in laundry. In addition to working wonders on clothing, towels, and linens, they also keep my washer clean and sparkling.

      Well done.

    • kikalina profile image

      kikalina 6 years ago from Europe

      Yes hoteltravel. Vinegar is very easily availale. Thanks for dropping by.

    • hoteltravel profile image

      hoteltravel 6 years ago from Thailand

      That is a useful hub. Commercial detergents harm us directly and indirectly and are best avoided. Thanks for suggesting excellent and easily available alternatives.

    • kikalina profile image

      kikalina 6 years ago from Europe

      Ty for your kind comments THEHuG5.

    • THEHuG5 profile image

      THEHuG5 6 years ago

      Wow this is a very useful hub thanks for writing this. I will be bookmarking your hub for future use. Good work, voting up :)

    • kikalina profile image

      kikalina 6 years ago from Europe

      I am still amazed at how clean the items feel when I use vinegar!

    • Rachel Richmond profile image

      Rachel Richmond 6 years ago from California

      Uh, I will have to try a different method for washing our clothes...very interesting. Thanks!

    • Alexander Mark profile image

      Alexander Silvius 6 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      This is timely for me because I am slowly moving toward a healthier lifestyle and I never thought I could get away from industrial laundry detergent. I will keep this in mind when I am ready to leave that environmentally unsound detergent behind.

      Very well written and informative.

    • kikalina profile image

      kikalina 6 years ago from Europe

      Yes, you can use vinegar to clean everything, from laundry to kitchen counters, to bathrooms, to kettles etc.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 6 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Great tips for cutting chemical use in the laundry! Vinegar comes in so handy, so many uses! And I am surprised to see they still have Fells Naptha out there - that's a real oldie.