Laundry, the one task that seems to loom over us for weeks until we can avoid it no longer. Even just writing about this task has me a little bit on edge. But what is it about laundry that has us heading to the store to purchase extra socks & underwear just to avoid it?
Realistically laundry is not a hard task, you throw your clothes into the machine, press go, and wait. It is not physically exhausting, nor does it require any real skill. So why do we all dread it so much? For me the anxiety that came with seeing my laundry basket fill up & my sock drawer empty was that when I did go through the steps of washing my clothes I knew that either I was going to have to use a plethora of nasty chemicals, or I would use my go to natural pods & end up with clothes that were still dirty as if I hadn’t washed them at all.
When I switched to an all natural lifestyle I struggled to find a laundry detergent that really got the job done, and finally I settled upon these familiar looking “pods” that claimed to use all natural ingredients to get those tough stains out of clothes. That all sounded great on paper, but after a few loads of noticing that the pods didn’t fully dissolve, and left a residue on any fabrics that weren’t stark white, I gave up on the idea of ever truly having clothes as clean as those that I would get when using chemical fabric cleansers.
That was until I found the perfect all-natural, low waste laundry routine that has me actually kind of excited for the day that I get to unload the dryer and see that all of my clothes are clean, soft, and smelling amazing.
All you need are 3 simple, and easily accessible items for clean & fresh laundry for up to 2 years without having to repurchase anything.
Up first: Soapnuts.
Small, natural berries that you can tie into a small cotton cloth (a small few go a long way, I use about 4 in my loads), or toss them straight into the washing machine with your clothes. I got mine from a coworker that I share most of my natural products with, exchanging new & unheard of remedies a few times a week (hi Justine!).
You can also find them in the bulk section of bulk-barn as “soapberries” or on amazon for a very reasonable price as the berries last load after load and can be reused for a fair while.
The trick to these little dried berries is that they’re naturally packed with saponin, a natural detergent & surfactant, meaning that they’ll soap up and get those dirty white t’s lookin better than ever. Just make sure that you use a warm or hot rinse cycle to activate the berries, or if you opt for cold water you can soak the berries in boiling water for 5 minutes to allow them to activate, and then pour the berries and the water into the laundry machine along with your clothes before starting the rinse.
These actually saved all hope that I had lost in the natural laundry process, my clothes that had previously been left dirty, and coated in a weird film are now coming out clean, fresh, and softer than even before.
The next items that I was unsure about for a while was fabric softener, and dryer sheets. Fabric softeners tend to be filled with chemical names that I can’t even pronounce, and that I know my skin resents the thought of, not to mention they’re expensive and honestly unnecessary.
I found that I could use my miracle mixture of magnesium chloride & lavender essential oil to give my clothes a soft to the touch feeling and a subtle soothing scent if I sprayed them before I began the drying cycle. I use this mixture of 3 parts water to 1 part magnesium chloride crystals, with 10 drops of lavender oil, as a natural deodorant, calming sleep spray, and as part of my laundry routine. I live for products as versatile and multifunctional as this one.
In terms of dryer sheets, I felt bad using one or two every load only to throw them away afterwards. Not to mention I had no idea what kind of chemicals were giving the sheets their greasy-to-the-touch feeling, but I knew that I didn’t want that on the clothes that were clothing my body day to day. It wasn’t until I was wandering a local health food store that I stumbled upon these natural static eliminating cloths (also available on amazon when out of stock on the companies site).
These sheets do everything you would ever want a dryer sheet to do, leaving my clothes soft, static free & ready for wear. With each sheet lasting up to 300 loads, and having to only do a load every 1 or 2 weeks, I can rest easy knowing that I won’t have to repurchase or throw out this part of my laundry routine any time soon.
What are you waiting for? Let me know on instagram how you have transformed your laundry routine to fit a natural low-waste lifestyle, and what tips or tricks you have that might even improve upon my routine!
Hopefully you found this guide helpful, and now have some new ideas of how to reduce your waste and the amount of chemicals you use when tackling this oh-so-daunting task, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll grow to love laundry day (probably not, but one can be optimistic).
Until next time,