How I Get My Laundry Clean & Green
When you're as concerned about toxins and chemicals as I am, the laundry room can become a bane to your existence. Especially when you have kids that insist on getting every form of stain-causing substance on their clothes every single day. Nothing gets those stains out quite like the formulas that receive a solid F rating on the Environmental Working Group's website. After various attempts at revising my routine, this is where I have landed. I thoroughly expect to adjust this routine as life goes on and I get inspired to try something as outlandish as making my own laundry detergent. (Read about why you need to detox your laundry routine here)
1. Soap Nuts. I kid you not, this is a berry shell that contains soap. It doesn't get much crunchier than this, folks! I love this product. I think I love the concept of it more than I love the actual product. Don't get me wrong, it gets clothes clean, however there is a bit of trial and error here. I have noticed some loads come out with a garment or two containing a slight brown streak. I believe this happens mainly when I have pre-soaked the nuts in warm water before adding to a cold wash. When I use soap nuts in a warm water load (no pre-soaking required), I don't think I have had this problem. The other thing that I am not totally crazy about is I believe that some loads (ahem, my husband's gym clothing) don't come out smelling as clean as when I use my detergent. This has happened on only the rare occasion, and adjusting the amount of nuts and temperature of the water may help resolve this issue. However, I usually resort to using my detergent in these cases because I am not that obsessed with being 100% green.
Not convinced they will work on your laundry? Try a combination. I like to use Soap Nuts on my minimally soiled laundry (sheets, towels, adult clothing and of course baby clothing for the sensitive skin), and detergent for loads that need an extra boost of dirt, grime and smell fighting power.
Major benefit of this product: You can use the same 4 soap nuts over and over again, for 3-4 loads before needing new ones! Serious cost savings here. And the nuts can be composted. How's that for sparkling green? I give it an emerald.
2. Biokleen. I use this for my detergent in the loads that I don't want to use Soap Nuts on. This gets an A on EWG's website, and works well. I realize I need to keep an eye on my detergent formulas, since they regularly change, so this product may be replaced in the future with a higher rated one. (Read more on my experience with non-toxic/green rated laundry detergents here)
3. Ultra Power Plus. This is a Norwex product I buy from my sister-in-law. It meets all the right requirements I have for a green product, but is just a bit too on the pricey side of life. I keep it stocked mostly for washing my Norwex cloths, although I would feel totally safe using it for ALL my laundry. Potentially even for baby #3's laundry, but for now I stick strictly with the Soap Nuts for her sensitive skin. My SIL says making this into a paste and treating stains works great. I have yet to try, but will revise this when I do!
4. Biokleen Oxygen Bleach. My go-to laundry booster. Safe to use with colors and helps get those stains out.
5. Norwex Stain Remover. This product is brand new to my routine, but I was pleasantly surprised when it removed a weird gunky stain on the back of my daughter's school uniform, leaving not a trace. I'm not super convinced of the non-toxic nature of this product simply because finding an ingredient list has been difficult, and EWG doesn't have a rating on any Norwex products. The other thing that is sort of annoying about it is the product is a gel and you have to rub the bottle into the stain to dispense the gel. I will always be a lover of stain sprays, so I'm not pumped about the application, but the product seems to be effective.
6. Wellness Mama's Stain Remover Spray. Her recipe literally uses Sal Suds and water (and a spray bottle!), so it is super easy. This is my typical go-to stain remover, but I am not totally wowed by it. It has been mostly effective, but does not get absolutely everything out. The sooner I get something treated and washed, the more effective this product is.
7. Hydrogen peroxide. This stuff is dirt cheap, easy to find and it works really well on blood and snot. Just make sure you wash right away. The sooner you use it on a stain, the more effective it will be. I pour this in a spray bottle and use it like stain spray for all of my baby's laundry stains. It doesn't get dirt out very well, but my baby has super sensitive skin, so I just live with the remnants of dirt on her clothes for now.
8. Distilled white vinegar. This is my "fabric softener." I typically use 1/4-1/2 cup in the rinse/softener compartment of my washer.
9. Lemon essential oil. I put a few drops in my homemade stain remover spray, as well as 2-3 drops in the vinegar rinse. It's a great all around disinfectant.
10. The sun. Just in case you haven't heard of this sweet little trick, the sun is quite the powerhouse of stain removers. I have used it the most with baby blowout stains, and it is almost magical how well it works for this. I haven't made a habit of using it for all manner of stains, and part of me is paranoid of bleaching out the colors in our clothing, so I tend not to use it very often. But it is certainly effective at getting whites just an extra bit of sparkling white, and returning your sweet little onsies back to their original appearance after yet another leaky accident.
How do you get your clothes clean while still being a nice, non-toxic shade of green? Any favorite laundry detergent recipes that I just have to try?