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Doing Laundry the Green Way

Cut back on harmful chemicals, and use cheap, eco-friendly ingredients for washing your clothes! These all-natural detergents are great if you have sensitive skin, and if you want to take the next step towards sustainability.

Eco-friendly laundry detergents

There are three basic green ingredients you can use as laundry detergents: soapnuts, washing soda, and laundry soap. They are great on their own or combined with each other according to the color and other properties of the clothes. About the dosing, you should know that it is highly dependent on how hard the water is in your area. For harder water you should increase the dose, because that reduces the effectiveness of detergents. Experiment with dosage to find out what suits your machine and water best!

The shells of the Indian soapnuts contain saponin, a soap-like compund that is a natural degreaser. In India people have been using it for washing for centuries. It is suitable for all kinds of textiles on 30-40°C. Put 3-4 shells in a canvas bag with the clothes in the washing machine, and dry them afterwards so they won’t get moldy. These shells can be reused 2-3 times, and you can compost them after. For really dirty clothes or whites you may want to combine them with 1-2 tablespoons of washing soda, or soak the clothes before in stain removing salt (sodium percarbonate). You can also make a soapnut gel by warming up 100 grams of soapnuts in 1 liter water, bringing it up to a boil on low heat, cooking for another 10 minutes, and straining it. The soapnuts can be used again like this two more times. Use 100ml of this gel for a load of laundry, and add stain remover salt to boost the effect for whites.

Washing soda is made of 100% sodium carbonate. It is a water softener and detergent commercially made of salt and limestone. It can be naturally found in sodium rich soils, and the ashes of plants. It can remove grease, oil, and wine stains. Depending on the dirtiness of the clothes you should put 120-180 ml for a 5kg load in the laundry detergent compartment of the washing machine. We recommend you to solve it in warm water before, because that way it is more effective. Some people experience that it can slightly pale dark and colored clothes. In this case you can use soapnuts or laundry soap for those. But for white clothes, washing soda is the best!

 

 

Laundry soaps are made of fats and/or oils and lye, just like regular soaps but they usually contain more lye, so they have a stronger degreasing effect. The Zöldbolt laundry soap is made of used cooking oil and slaughterhouse waste animal fats. The traditional laundry soap from Orosháza is made of animal fats by a small family business going back to six generations. If you are a vegan and want to avoid animal products, you can buy the Vega Wash soap grating, the Almawin Marseille soap or the Soapnut laundry soap. Laundry soaps are great for washing by hand or by machine. For hand washing, fill a tub or sink with water and put the clothes in it. Scrub them with soap and froth, then rinse. Repeat if necessary! You need grated soap, if you want to use it in the washer! You can either grate it yourself or buy gratings. Add 2 tablespoons grated soap in the laundry detergent compartment. You can combine it with washing soda: add 2 tablespoon of washing soda and 1 tablespoon of grated soap. This is best added dissolved in a little bit of warm water. You can also make your own laundry gel from laundry soap! Pour 6 liters of water in a large pot and add 100 grams of grated laundry soap of your choice. Warm it up on low heat (no need to simmer), it just has to solve and melt. When it is mostly dissolved, you can mix it with a hand mixer to make sure there are no lumps in it. Pour it into old bottles of detergent, fabric softener or any other suitable container. Use 100ml of this gel per load.

If you aren’t ready to give up ready-made laundry detergents, but want the best solution environmentally, try the EcoNut gel with soapnuts or the iecologic orange and lavender scented detergent. For clothes that need extra special care, we recommend the Sonett olive laundry detergent that is suitable for wool and silk!

 

Our line of detergents and cleaners

 

Removing stains and whitening clothes

The stain removing salt (sodium percarbonate) whitens and disinfects just like chlorine bleach, but in an eco-friendly way. The active oxygen from hydrogen peroxide whitens in chlorine bleach too, but there is no toxic chlorine in the compound. For stains or white clothes add 1-2 tablespoons of sodium percarbonate to the laundry detergent, or soak them with the same amount in warm water.

The enzyme in ox gall has a strong degreasing effect, so it is great mixed into a laundry soap to get an effective stain remover. Before washing, wet the stain of wine, grass etc. and scrub it with the ox gall soap. Leave it to rest, and wash it out! Removes stains of lipstick, oil, jam, wine, coffee etc. fast from all kinds of textile. Efficient at 30°C too!

Salt and vinegar also have roles to play in the laundry room not just the in kitchen. For starters, a basic mixture of half water and half vinegar makes a good pretreatment for just about any common stain. We suggest that you keep a spray bottle of this mixture by the washing machine. Just spray it onto the stain a few minutes before washing and then wash as usual. It is especially great for ink, sweat, glue, rust, and paint spots. Salt can also be a good stain remover, especially when the stain is still fresh. Salt's magic qualities also help maintain and restore bright colors, reduce yellowing, and eliminate mildew in fabrics.

The natural way of fabric softening

The eco-friendly solution to remove excess detergent from the clothes is vinegar! It is completely harmless for the environment, it's easily biodegradable and made with biological fermentation. Vinegar also descales the washing machine, and it boosts the colors of textiles! Scale can stick on the fibers of clothes that make the colors greyish and the fabric hard. Vinegar can solve all these problems, just replace fabric softeners with it! Don't worry about the smell of vinegar: it will go away soon after the washing. But if you really can't stand vinegar, there is another solution: citric acid! Replace the vinegar with 1-2 tablespoons of citric acid dissolved in water, it will have the same effect!

 

Ecoizm laundry perfume

 

The smell of fresh laundry

If you want a lovely smell for your clothes, you can add essential oils, or laundry perfume for a more stable scent. You will only need a few drops from these! As they are concentrated, they have a smaller volume and weight, so they need less packaging and energy for transportation. Some essential oils, like tea tree or lavender have antimicrobial effects as well! But their scent won't last for a long time, because the oils in them evaporate quickly. For a long lasting scent, we recommend the laundry perfume. It makes your clothes smell wonderful with natural essential oils and nature-identical perfume. These are made water soluble with non-ionic plant based surfactants, which makes them more stable. We have many varieties like sweet orange, vanilla, lavender, etc. They sound delicious right?

More eco laundry tips:

1. Upgrade to an energy efficient washer! The energy efficiency of washing machines improved by 88% between 1981 and 2003, so if you have a really old one, it may worth replacing it!

2. Use concentrated products, like laundry perfume! They have reduced packaging and a smaller carbon footprint because they can be shipped using less space and fuel.

3. Opt for lower temperatures! About 90% of the energy associated with doing laundry involves just heating up the water.

4. Wash full loads, but don’t overload! Overcrowding the machine might lead to less clean clothes and doing half loads can add up to a huge energy bill!

5. Wear clothes more than once, most of them aren’t dirty or stinky after one use!

6. Skip the dryer, hang clothes to air dry instead! Keeping your clothes out of a dryer extends their life, reduces energy use, and cuts costs. Drying whites and linens in the sun also helps to make them brighter, without having to resort to chlorine bleach or alternative whitening agents.

7. Don’t iron if you don’t absolutely need to! Carefully line the clothes on the rack, so they won’t get wrinkled, this way you save the time and energy use of ironing!

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