Monday, June 23, 2008

Simple, All-Natural Laundering of Whites and Lights...

My bedroom curtains drying in the sun this afternoon.

It's been a beautiful, sunny, breezy day-- just perfect for doing laundry! Today, I decided to wash my bedroom and master bath curtains as well as the white bedcover I use on my bed in summer. Doesn't it feel so nice to have everything clean and fresh?

Until recently, I had been somewhat frustrated with the way my light colored laundry was coming out. I'd been noticing that it was looking dingy, and since I don't want to use bleach in my home, I tried several different all-natural laundry soaps and laundry additives in an attempt to get my laundry cleaner and fresher-looking. Nothing really seemed to make much difference.

Then, awhile back, I suddenly realized that my once-dulled whites were looking much brighter, something I definitely attribute it to my current routine and products for washing whites and light colors. So I thought I'd post it here for anyone who is determined to maintain an all-natural laundry routine. Maybe this will help you, too, or maybe you'll have some additional tips for me!

Here's what I've been using and doing:

1. Mrs. Myers liquid laundry soap. I probably use barely more than half the recommended amount of soap per load. You'll need to decide what works for you. I've seen recipes for making your own all-natural laundry soaps, but everyone who posts those recipes say they haven't used them for long enough to know for sure if they'll work well long-term. I'm picky about my laundry, and I like Mrs. Myers, so I'm sticking with her for now.

2. Biokleen all-natural Oxygen Bleach Plus. I love this stuff! I just dump it right in when I put in the soap. This product works really well for treating stains, too. (Instead of this, I use Borax or washing soda to boost cleaning for my colored laundry.)

3. Distilled white vinegar, scented with lavender and lemon essential oils for a rinse. This doesn't actually scent the laundry, but it sure smells nice when I pour it in the washer, and it helps to rinse all of the soap from the clothes. Just take a gallon of distilled white vinegar, drop in 15 or so drops of both the lemon and lavender essential oils (you can use different scents, too), and shake it around. Each time you use this, give the jug a quick shake before opening the lid and pouring.

4. I hang the laundered items in the sun. The sun is a great all-natural bleach. My mom used to leave stained white items in the sun for as many days as it took to bleach away the stain, and it worked great! Sun-dried items smell so fresh and sweet, too.

5. When the laundry is dry, I iron the things that need ironing, like pillowcases and curtains, with a homemade, all-natural lavender scented ironing spray. I love the smell of this so much that it makes ironing fun!

Just like everything else, laundry and ironing can be quite pleasant to do, depending on the attitude I choose to have toward it. And I always enjoy it if I'll just relax, settle in, and find pleasure in making things nice for my home.