Your Clean Green Laundry Routine
Toxins and unwanted chemicals lie in more places than you might think, and when it comes to bedding and linens, the last thing you want is to sleep in residue all night long. Naturally laundering your linens and avoiding harsh chemicals benefits you and your local environment in a number of ways. If you're looking to clean up your laundry routine, here are some natural practices you might like to consider:
Use Vinegar and Wool Dryer Balls
Fabric softener and dryer sheets are perhaps one of the biggest offenders in conventional laundry practices. Quaternary ammonium compounds, called "quats" for short, are the chemical compounds found in liquid softeners and dryer sheets that make your clothes feel soft. The problem is that these compounds can trigger asthma and linger on the clothing you wear and linens you sleep in long after they've been removed from the dryer. That means you're carrying these chemicals with you all day and sleeping with them all night long. Combine quats with all the other fragrances, colors, and preservatives found in fabric softeners, and you've got yourself a wearable chemical cocktail that sticks to your clothes, pollutes the air in your home, and gets dumped right into your local water source with every wash.
The great news is that avoiding fabric softeners doesn't mean you have to wear stiff clothing or sleep in scratchy sheets. You can use vinegar in the washer and wool dryer balls instead to help soften your clothes and linens naturally. Wool contains a natural oil called lanolin that is released from its fibers when heated by your dryer. As an added bonus, if you want to naturally scent your clothing, just put a few drops of your favorite essential oils right onto your wool dryer balls before each cycle. Most wool dryer balls are about the size of a baseball and can be purchased online, or you can make them yourself by balling up and felting some 100% wool yarn.
Sun Your Stains Out
Chemical bleaches and stain removers might be effective at removing stains, but they are harmful for the environment, harsh to breathe in, and can damage your skin if you accidentally come into direct contact with them. Did you know that you can actually remove stains by drying your clothes and linens out in the sun? Even some of the most stubborn stains can be bleached out in a sunbath. The next time you have a rough morning and spill your coffee on your shirt, don't sweat it. Save yourself the cash, time, and hassle of dealing with stain removers by simply hanging your stained fabric outside in full sun after it's just come out of the washer. Usually, two to three hours will do the trick. Keep in mind that sun bleaching is often more effective when the fabric is wet, so even if you don't want to wash the whole thing, wet down the stained area before hanging your fabric out in the sun to get the best results from this all-natural, chemical-free, age-old stain removing method.
Consider Natural Laundry Detergents
Fortunately for conscious consumers, new all-natural laundry detergents are being added to the market all the time. You can find a small selection at almost any grocery store, and if you're someone who enjoys an occasional DIY project, you can even make natural laundry detergent yourself! There are all sorts of easy DIY laundry soap recipes online, so you can experiment as much or as little as you please to find whatever concoction works best for you.
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