When I started writing this post it was to ‘hang my head in shame’ and admit that my DIY washing liquid was not all that it was cracked up to be. It seemed to be alright on lightly soiled clothing but when it came to the whites, they were becoming greyer with every wash.
It was when I had to resort to adding Vanish Oxi-Action (a chemical based bleach) to the whites’ wash that I decided to call it a day and return to the Ecover laundry liquid which I had been using before.
However, when I was researching natural laundry products this morning I realised that I might just have accidentally stumbled across the answer; for those tougher washes, why not just supplement my homemade laundry wash with an environmentally friendly alternative to bleach or 3% hydrogen peroxide.
Natural Laundry Lives On!
This eureka moment occurred when I was looking into using a laundry egg or soap nuts as an alternative to the more traditional powder or liquid products. Both of these tend to have mixed reviews for similar reasons as I was finding with my homemade washing liquid; they were good for lightly soiled clothing but not as effective for tougher stains.
I had found that when I mixed the Vanish for the tougher washes it had worked just as well as a commercial washing liquid. After a bit of research I discovered that there are natural and environmentally friendly alternatives to Vanish which are just as effective, one of which I already had in the cupboard; hydrogen peroxide 3% solution.
So, my plan is to use the 3% hydrogen peroxide in the same way that I am currently using the Vanish Oxi-Action and add it to my homemade laundry wash, Laundry Egg or Soap Nuts when I am doing my whites load or have stained clothing to deal with.
Laundry Egg and Soap Nuts
Now I know what I would be thinking if I had been reading this a few months ago; What on earth are laundry eggs and soap nuts? Luckily I now have the answer for you…
• Laundry Egg – this is basically an egg shaped device that you put in the washing machine with your washing. The egg contains mineral pellets which naturally produce a cleaning foam. One of the big bonuses with the Laundry Egg is how cost effective it is. For £19.99 you can get a Laundry Egg which will last for 720 washes, after which you can get a refill. It has mixed reviews online but it has won awards and is recommended for people with allergies or eczema.
• Soap Nuts – I have to admit that the thought WTF popped into my head when I heard the words ‘soap nuts’ and laundry being bandied around together but they actually sound pretty intriguing and some people swear by them. From researching them a bit more it appears that soap nuts are neither a soap nor a nut. They are actually the berries from the Chinese Soapberry Tree. The berries contain saponin which is a natural surfacatant, allowing water to penetrate into fabric so that it can clean clothes more effectively as well as holding the ‘dirt’ in suspension. You place a small number of ‘nuts’ into a fabric bag and put them in the wash with your clothes. They need warm water to create the ‘soap’ and then they act as a natural detergent and can be re-used for several washes. These also seem quite cost effective with a 1Kg bag of nuts coming in at around £10. An added bonus with these is that the nuts can be composted after use as they are effectively a fruit from a tree. I have also been told that once finished with they are a good deterrent for slugs in the garden.
This seems like an opportune time to bang the ‘plastic pollution’ drum again and tell you about the Guppy Friend Washing Bag
It has been widely publicised now that our daily laundry cycles are contributing to the plastic pollution crisis which is facing our marine life. With every wash plastic fibres are released from synthetic clothing which then gets washed into our rivers and marine environment. This bag is based on a very simple idea. You place your washing inside it before you put it into the washing machine and it catches the synthetic fibres stopping them being released into the environment.
In an ideal world we would all be able to afford clothing only made from organic cotton but I know that this is not something that I currently achieve. So for people like me the Guppy Friend is a great alternative and is definitely on my list of things to try.
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