My Laundry System – Eliminating Chemicals and the Problems They Cause

This is about my dirtiest laundry: Dog toys. For this load I used 2 T. Orange Sunshine and 1/4 C. of washing soda. Half water, half vinegar in dispenser for rinse. Sparkly clean and soft results!

Update note: I never use more than 1 T of Orange Sunshine anymore. If you have my pump bottle that’s about 4 pumps. If it’s really dirty I  do add 1/4 cup of washing soda or borax (which I seem to get pretty similar results with and which I rarely use anymore.

I am very picky about my laundry. I want it clean, soft and smelling good. I realized that the smell I had come to associate with clean was not really what clean smelled like. After all, real clean smells like bathed-in-sunshine, it doesn’t smell like Gain (which I really loved the smell of).

If you are changing your laundry habits in the search for remedies for environmental sensitivities (allergies, eczema, etc.) you need to be very careful what you use and you need to use it for a while (I’d say 2 weeks, or two – three washings of each item) before you evaluate.

 

Instead of Detergent:  Orange Sunshine is my liquid coconut oil soap. It has extreme cleaning properties. Use  only 1 – 2 Tablespoons per wash load. (I keep a coffee scoop next to my bottle of soap. Coffee scoop is 2T (1/8 cup).  Some people use a shaved or shredded bar of Orange Sunshine. It’s just a matter of preference. Use it also as a pre-treater on stains. It will remove most potential stains. We’ve had success with coffee, blood, some grease stains and some who-knows-what stains. Try it. I would love feedback on what works and what doesn’t. (If I never sell another bar or bottle of soap, I plan to keep making this forever for myself and my friends. It’s that good.)

 

For my own clothes which are not terribly dirty, sometimes sweaty, and spotted usually only with coffee I use 1 T of Orange Sunshine and nothing else.

 

Purchase Note: Orange Sunshine is available for sale either locally (Myrtle Beach, SC area) or in my Etsy Shop. I only have the 16 ounce bottles listed there in a bulk deal – otherwise shipping is prohibitively high. (I do have 8 oz. pump bottles listed individually. – $6)

[etsyshoppro section=”Liquid Soap”] 

If you are not using my soap but you want to use this info, us a pure liquid soap like Dr. Bronners or use a grated bar of some very pure (which probably means handmade) soap. If your goal is to reduce environmental sensitivities (allergies, eczema, etc.) you must use pure soap like mine or Dr. Bronners – something with no suspect ingredients and no artificial fragrances. If you are switching as a matter of preference or frugality you have more leeway and can be less careful in your choice of soap.

 

Detergent Booster:  I generally use 1/4 c. of washing soda (or borax). I never use both. They are very similar acting and using both is just like using twice as much. It won’t hurt anything but it’s not needed. Both products say to use 1/2 c. as a laundry booster. I think that’s a lot more than is needed.

 

Second Chance:  If the item comes out of the washer and you can still see the spot, go on to this step: Soak in a mixture of washing soda and peroxide (I’d try 1/4 c. of each, mixed in enough water to soak the item). Essentially what you are making here is the equivalent of OxiClean. After about 6 hours,  I’m told,  this mixture will lose potency so you can soak overnight but probably don’t need to. (You can add peroxide as a color safe bleach in any load of laundry. I think washing soda has greater power and that’s generally all I use. )

 

Softener:  I can’t abide scratchy clothes so I had to come up with a solution for soft. Fabric softeners (including dryer sheets) are suspected of being a major player in skin problems and environmental sensitivities so you need to be very careful about this. Fortunately it’s easy.  Use vinegar and water.  If your washer has a softener dispenser fill it with a mix of 1/2 water and 1/2 vinegar. (I mix this a quart at a time and set it on my laundry shelf). If you use a Downy ball or something like that try mixing half and half. If that is not sufficient, increase the percentage of vinegar.  This is your plain old cheap by-the-gallon white vinegar that costs under $4. a gallon. You don’t need to use your organic Braggs ACV for cleaning or rinsing.

 

The vinegar is also good for keeping the machine and the clothes free of any soap residue. It does not leave the clothes smelling like vinegar. As soon as they are dry the smell will be gone.  If you hate the smell while they are rinsing, add a couple of drops of Essential Oils to the rinse mix. (See more on EOs below)

 

The Smell of Clean: If you line dry your clothes, you with the homemaker prize! (The prize is the real smell of clean, the smell of sunshine.) I had an issue with the smell – or lack of it – of the clothes cleaned with the method above. They don’t smell bad, they just don’t smell good. I need for my clothes to small good. I don’t know why, I just do.  The solution is Essential Oils (EOs). First, you must use an oil you know your family can tolerate. If you are trying to eliminate any problems keep this in mind. However, EOs will cause far fewer problems than fragrance oils. EOs are the natural distillations of the plant they are named for. Lavender EO is made from the lavender plant and nothing else. Most reputable EOs (and all of mine) are produced by steam distillation. That’s what you want. Fragrance oils can be made from anything, are synthetic smells and the manufacturer doesn’t have to tell you what’s in them so if there is a problem you won’t even know what chemical precipitated the problem.

 

Using Essential Oils on “Dryer Sheets”: Your laundry will usually not end up with an identifiable scent (i.e., lavender or tea tree) using this method but it will have a clean and fresh scent and the scent will be somewhat depending on which oil you use. Put a few drops on your cloth by holding the cloth over the EO bottle and turning the bottle over to make a “blot”. I do this 3 or 4 times on the cloth.  I have about half a dozen little cloths (about 4 x 6 in.) that I use as dryer sheets.  (I offer essential oils for sale in the scents of my soaps for this purpose and for room sprays, linen sprays & body sprays.  They are good quality, reasonably priced, steam distilled oils)

 

If you are a person who works with essential oils regularly, do this: Any time you are measuring oils wipe your spoon, dropper, bottle, whatever with a scrap of cloth earmarked as your “dryer sheet”.  I have about half a dozen little cloths (about 4 x 6 in.) that I use as dryer sheets.

 

Linen Spray (alternative to Febreze):  Linen sprays are marvelous!! Spraying your clothes with a linen spray is another alternative to dryer sheets. I use a linen spray on any clothes that I’ve worn and plan to wear again before laundering. It just makes them feel new. I also love using a linen spray on my bed before making it. Linen sprays,, room sprays and body sprays are inexpensive and easy to make but we’ll have to wait until next time for those instructions. Stay tuned.