Toxin Free Laundry
I love clean clothes and fresh linens. I find joy in the routine of laundry. Washing, drying, folding, putting away. The best weekend morning to me involves a nice early morning, some water with lemon, fresh coffee and cleaning- believe it or not! Then when Saturday night rolls around, I relish climbing into fresh, clean, soft sheets. My traditional method of laundry included an eco-friendly brand of detergent from Costco, a fabric softer and dryer sheets. This left my clothes feeling what I thought was nice, smelling fragrant and was simple to follow. After I made the decision to put the environment before myself, I found myself so annoyed at all the plastic and waste my laundry routine produces. After I finished the last of my detergent, I made the switch to soap nuts and wool dryer balls.
Soap nuts are quite literally berry shells. Berry shells which happen to contain soap (saponin). They grow on the Sapindus mukorossi (Soap Berry) tree in the Himalayas. The soap nuts are a chemical free alternative to harsh soaps and detergents. Saponin is an effective, hypoallergenic, biodegradable organic cleaning agent that ends our reliance on sulfates, synthetic chemicals and other toxins. Soap nuts are a great option if you suffer from allergies or have sensitive skin. I use NaturOil Soap Nuts, which are USDA organic and wild harvested from Himalayas. I also like this brand because they come without any plastic packaging, they are just placed in a large cotton bag. The one downside is they include a small plastic bottle of a wash concentrate. To use the soap nuts, I place about 4 in a small cotton bag, tie the string nice and tight and use for about 5-10 washes. I use warm water for most of my washes, and I have found the soap nuts leave my clothes fresher than ever. Sometimes I wonder if it is the placebo effect, but I swear my clothes come out cleaner than before and softer than ever. I will never go back to liquid soaps, loaded with heavy chemicals and fragrance now that I know this amazing alternative!
I struggled with this one. Should I buy wool dryer balls? Was there a “cruelty free” version? After much research, I came upon Maple Hill Naturals. Maple Hill is a company based in the United States which manufactures wool dryer balls, an eco-friendly alternative to dryer sheets and plastic dryer balls. Okay, everything is looking great so far. Then I read this:
Does taking the wool from the sheep harm them in any way?
Wool is such an amazing fiber, and there is no harm done to the sheep to use it. My dad uses clippers, similar to what we use to cut men’s hair but bigger, to shear it off the sheep. He does this in the spring so the sheep are cooler during the summer months, and then it grows back to keep them warm in the winter!
SOLD! This is such an amazing company, I cannot say enough good things about them. 1. I love my dryer balls. They
are large and my clothes come out with no static or lint. 2. They support local farmers. 3. They support moms! (the balls are assembled by stay at home moms) 4. They support Down Syndrome Awareness.
I personally love adding some essential oils to my dryer balls to make my clothes have a nice fresh scent. Feel free to get creative and try blends!
The typical American household contains 3-10 gallons of toxic materials. Yikes! Let us say that your detergent is one of these toxic materials… The typical American family does 80 pounds of laundry a week (much less for me, since there are only two of us but still!).
The detergent you’re using may contain a cocktail of potent cancer-causing chemicals, some of which the manufacturer doesn’t even have to list on the label. This loophole reduces the odds that you’ll ever discover what’s in there.
My top three to watch out for:
- Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)/sodium laureth sulfate (SLES): SLS is a common ingredient in personal care products that allows the product to foam. SLS has been linked to cancer, neurotoxicity, organ toxicity, skin irritant and endocrine disruption.
- 1,4-dioxane: This is will not be found on the ingredient list, as it is a contaminate created when common ingredients react to form a compound when mixed together. 1,4-dioxane is a carcinogen linked to organ toxicity. Look for the following on the label: Sodium laureth sulfate, PEG compounds, chemicals that include the clauses xynol, ceteareth and oleth.
- NPE (nonylphenol ethoxylate): NPEs are nonionic surfactants that are used in a wide variety of industrial applications and consumer products. Many of these, such as laundry detergents, are “down-the-drain” applications. Some others, such as dust-control agents and deicers, lead to direct release to the environment. NPEs, though less toxic and persistent than NP, are also highly toxic to aquatic organisms, and, in the environment, degrade into NP.NP is persistent in the aquatic environment, moderately bioaccumulative, and extremely toxic to aquatic organisms. NP has also been shown to exhibit estrogenic properties in in vitro and in vivo assays. NP’s main use is in the manufacture of NPEs.
New Laundry Routine
Ugh, who needs all those toxins? I personally try to keep my chemical load as light as possible. Switching over to my toxin free laundry routine is one of the easiest switches you’ll make!
All you’ll need is:
- 5 soap nuts tied in a cloth bag
- 2-3 wool dryer balls, with a drop of lavender essential oil on each ball
You’ll just need to toss the soap nut bag in the washer and turn it on. The soap nuts work best in warm water. If you like to use cold water, soak the bag in a small amount of warm water before to create a “soap nut tea” and pour the “tea” and the soap nuts into the wash. You can also use this method if your clothes are heavily soiled. Then, when you are ready to dry, remove the soap nut bag and place your clothes in the dryer. Throw in the wool balls and dry away!
Let me know if you have tried my toxin free laundry routine and how you like it! I’d also love to hear your toxin free laundry routines!