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April 17, 2014  |  Login
Eco-friendly Approaches to Washing Your Clothes
By Elizabeth B. Goldsmith PhD, Betsy Sheldon
If a garment doesn't require a washing but needs an airing-out, hanging it out in the sun is a much gentler remedy than spraying it with a clothing freshener - which is, in essence, a perfume masking the musty odor of the clothing.

If fading is concerned, turn the garment inside-out. This tactic also serves to expose the underarm area, which is likely where most of the freshening is needed.


As you prepare to launder, always remember to read garment and linen labels and follow the manufacturer's instructions when using a washing machine.

  • Use the proper load setting for the size of each load.

  • Match the temperature setting to type of cleaning desired is also important.

  • When using detergent, measure properly. If you use too much, the load won't rinse properly.

Here are some beginning recipes for cleaning everyday home laundry. Remember that many green product makers offer ecofriendly laundry detergents.

Dry Laundry Detergent

Mix the following ingredients and store them in an airtight container:

1 cup soap flakes or shreds of homemade soap, or any store-bought type without lotion

½ cup washing soda

½ cup borax

A few drops of essential oil (optional for scent)

Use ¼ cup to 1 cup detergent, depending on the size of the load and the machine type.

Liquid Laundry Detergent

Use ¼ to 3/4 cup of this detergent per load. You might need to remix it before you use it. It tends to congeal.

1 cup soap flakes (homemade soap, or any store-bought type without lotion)

½ cup washing soda

½ cup borax

2 tablespoons glycerin

2 cups water

Mix soap, washing soda, and borax. Add glycerin and water, stirring until thoroughly combined.



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