When my first baby was born I took a look around our apartment and began to notice all the chemicals we had and used on a daily basis. The desire to get rid of everything toxic started to grow. I was worried about the health of my baby and began considering how toxins could be affecting my husband and myself. The task seemed daunting and I had no idea where to start. That baby is now 5 and I am happy to report our home is probably close to 90% chemical free- when it comes to cleaning and body products. One area of our home that I have mastered is the Laundry Room. My chemical free laundry routine is very basic and economical.
I didn’t make changes all at once. Over time the way I did things began to adapt as I was trying to be more mindful of our health in regards to the products we use. It’s sometimes difficult to make alterations but simple and slow steps can make all the difference.
3 Easy Steps for Chemical Free Laundry:
Biodegradable Laundry Detergent
This step was the easiest for me because luckily, I was already doing it. I grew up with my Mom cleaning our clothes with scent free detergent from Amway and she sent me off to college with a big box of it that I was still using when my baby was born (yes, it had been several years).
Detergents with manufactured scents smell nice and perhaps bring with them a cozy comfort (smells can do that). However, think for a second how that scent came into existence. If it isn’t from organic natural sources it could be doing more harm than good. Our clothing sits directly on our skin all day and night. Our skin is very porous and will absorb toxins if they are there. I recommend leaning towards things like essential oils if you need to have fragrant clothing. I don’t care if my clothes smell like flowers, so I enjoy using detergents that smell like absolutely nothing (in fact, it makes me happy).
Here are the two detergents I use:
Legacy of Clean SA8
Norwex: Ultra Power Plus – this detergent can be used for many other things and is especially great for making a paste for a stain and spot remover. (No more baby poop stained onesies around here! )
One thing that was hard for me to change was my use of dryer sheets. I used a dryer sheet with each load of laundry I did. Even though I used a scent free brand, I knew that they were bad news. The use of them also coats the fibers of clothes and causes them to be less absorbent, which is most apparent in towels.
When my oldest was almost 2 (yes, this process took me time to figure out) I discovered dryer balls. There are different kinds of dryer balls, but I determined that the most natural and effective ones would be wool ones. Plastic ones are popular as well, but I was still concerned about heating up plastic for long periods of time with my clothes.
There are many places to purchase dryer balls, and I’m sure that they are all very similar. I ended up making my own to save money and they have worked great! I purchased some wool on sale from Michaels, rolled the yarn into balls, and used some old nylons for the felting process. I’ve been using them regularly for about 3 years.
Occasionally I put a few drops of essential oils on a ball before I throw it in the dryer to give the fabric a light scent. It’s not necessary, but it is one way to get past the “but I want it to smell nice” barrier.
There are many blog posts with instructions on how to make dryer balls. Here is the one that I used to make my dryer balls: How to Make Dryer Balls
Dryer balls replaced my dryer sheets and vinegar replaced fabric softener. I didn’t use fabric softener very often in my laundry, and likewise, I don’t use vinegar very often. I find that my loads of silky or fuzzy clothing items end up much less staticky if I use a few TBS of Vinegar in the wash. Super simple and cheap, and it works great!
There is no need to go throw out all of your current products right now. Although that may be the best for your family, small changes are also great. It took me years to get in the habit of using natural products and have a chemical free laundry routine. Pick one, two, or even do all three of these easy steps to start the process of eliminating harsh elements in your laundry care. I spend way less money on laundry products than I used to. In fact, I can’t even remember the last time I had to purchase any of the things I have listed. All of the products go a long way and are very effective.
If you have any additional insight or questions please leave them below in the comment section.