• Simple, Natural Laundry Care Tips

    by  • March 29, 2012 • Healthy Home, Spring Cleaning Series • 16 Comments

    Yesterday we talked about how to sort through and get rid of clutter around the house. My home is pretty clutter free at this point but I do have a handful of clothing items I want to bring to the local consignment shop and/or donate. But before I sent those items out of the door, I want to make sure they are nice and tidy!

    I like to check for any stains or odors, then wash, dry and occasionally iron the items going to the consignment shop. The shop owners appreciate the cleanliness and are more likely to sell tidy items quicker and for a slightly higher price.

    With that being said, I thought it would be appropriate to share a few natural/frugal laundry care tips with you, since we are in the middle of the “Spring Clean the Natural Way” series and some of you may have a pile of clothes you are ready to donate…since I am sure you are working on de-cluttering, right? He he!

    Simple, Natural Laundry Care Tips

    the washer

    Choose Your Detergent Wisely

    Many commercially bought detergents are bad for the environment and your skin. They contain petroleum-based cleansers and artificial fragrances, not to mention the expense…hmmm, I’ll pass thank you! Instead, I prefer to make my own laundry detergent – it saves money, doesn’t irritate my DH’s sensitive skin, and it works like a charm! If you don’t have time to make your own detergent, try Seventh Generation or other “green” brands or look into soap nuts.             

    Here is my recipe for homemade liquid laundry detergent – great for most washing machines, low suds

    Here is my powdered laundry detergent recipe  – great for HE washers

    Brighten Those Whites

    All detergents eventually leave those whites not so bright! I am not a big fan of bleach, so I use these alternatives instead – vinegar, baking soda OR lemon (juice).  Try soaking dingy whites in a bucket full of water and 1 cup of lemon juice. Or add ¼ to 1 cup of baking soda to your laundry load during the wash cycle. Or add ½ cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle.

    Smell Fresh Naturally

    I am a huge fan of nice smelling laundry but the artificial fragrances cause my skin to break out in hives and my hubby doesn’t appreciate the headaches they cause. My solution? Use 100% pure essential oils. You can add them to your homemade laundry detergent or put a few drops on a clean, dry washcloth and throw it in the dryer with your damp clothes.

    Natural Fabric Softener

    Day 3 {3/22/09}

    My favorite fabric softener is… white vinegar.  When I first heard about it, I thought it would be crazy to put “stinky” vinegar on fresh, clean clothes. But I gave it a try…amazing! The white vinegar really softened the clothes and reduced the static and best of all…my clothes actually smelled fresher! Bonus!

    Ditch the Dryer Sheets

    Most people use dryer sheets to soften clothes, reduce static and enhance the smell of their laundry. Well, I have already covered how to soften and add good smells to your laundry, so let’s go over reducing static cling. I already add vinegar to my rinse cycle for other reasons, but it also reduces static. Or you can try grabbing some dryer balls (they look like baby hedgehogs)—they really help. Basically, they fluff out static and help your laundry get soft. I have also seen others who have made their own “homemade” dryer sheets, but I have been happy with my vinegar and dryer balls technique.

    Save Some Energy (and $$$)

    Clothes Line

    I don’t know about you, but I actually enjoy hanging my clothes out on the laundry line (of course I don’t hang my socks or unmentionables for everyone to see…I use the dryer or drying rack indoors). There is just something about jeans, skirts and t-shirts flapping in the wind that makes me giggle! Hanging clothes out on a clothes line or hanging rack saves on energy costs. Another thing that saves a little money is shorter cycle times and cold water washes…I use this method on clothing that isn’t super grimy or germy.

    Stain Remover Solutions

    Here are a few inexpensive solutions for removing basic stains:

    (remember, try to treat stains as soon as possible for the most effective result)

    General – I used my Fels-Naptha bar to pre-treat most stains…dampen stained area with cool water, then rub the soap bar into the stain before washing

    Sweat – spritz with white vinegar before washing

    Food grease/oil – try soaking/gently scrubbing item in a bowl of water with a few drops of dish soap before washing

    Acidic spills – allow baking soda to soak up and neutralize overnight then wash as usual

    What are your favorite natural or frugal laundry tips? I’d love to hear them, so please…leave a comment! :)

    p.s. Linking to Frugal Days, Thrifty Thursday, Natural Living, Hearts 4 Home, Proverbs 31 Thursday, Homemaker By Choice, Delightful Homemaking, Homemaking Hints, Homestead Helps, Consider the Lilies … {see link-up list)

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    Jasmine is a God-fearing, always-learning, stay-at-home-wife to the best husband in the world! In the past couple of years, her new found loves have become herbal fix ‘ems and things “all natural”! She is continually learning to slow down, enjoying the important, simple things in life…like naturally taking care of her home, husband and health. She really enjoys creating things “home-made” and showing others how to do the same! You can also connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.


    16 Responses to Simple, Natural Laundry Care Tips

    1. March 29, 2012 at 9:53 am

      Thanks for the awesome post! I found you from Little Natural Cottage’s Link up, and you have my vote! Great article! :)

      • March 29, 2012 at 12:27 pm

        Heather…thanks for stopping by! Glad you liked the post! :) I am loving your series on growing herbs!

    2. March 29, 2012 at 10:07 am

      Great article! I have all the makings for liquid laundry detergent but just haven’t gotten around to it. I might try the powdered recipe instead. I use soap nuts too but sometimes wonder how clean they get everything. I’ve washed brand new clothes and they come out of the dryer with that brand new clothes smell still on them. Not a great thing! I’ve found soaking the nuts in super hot water and then adding then to the wash water helps a bit.

      I like to use wool dryer balls to fluff my clothes, reduce static and cut drying time. I bought a set of 3 and really like them. I know they are fairly easy to make but I have such a long to-do list buying them on sale was easier :) I use vinegar and baking soda as well. I’m enjoying these spring cleaning articles!

      • March 29, 2012 at 12:25 pm

        Jess…I totally need to check out wool dryer balls. I have glanced at them, but never actually did my research, thanks for sharing!

    3. March 29, 2012 at 10:48 am

      Great tips – thank you!

      • March 29, 2012 at 12:24 pm

        Wendy…glad you liked them! :)

    4. March 31, 2012 at 8:55 am

      I just posted on my favorite stain remover…equal parts water, dish soap, and ammonia! Simple and cheap. I also love to hang my clothes outside to dry. They last somuch longer!

    5. March 31, 2012 at 8:25 pm

      Do you think the vinegar for sweat would work on armpit stains? I know after a while, all white shirts have that yucky stain! And I had recently heard about the dryer balls and am excited to buy some and use them! My husband is going to install in our new backyard (we move into our first home after Easter!) an umbrella/triangle laundry line and I’m so excited! Thank you for your tips- they are wonderful.

      • March 31, 2012 at 8:48 pm

        Nicole…to be completely honest, I am not sure. Vinegar does help brighten dingy clothes, but I am not sure how it would do on previously washed/dried armpit stains. I haven’t had the staining issue since I switched from OTC antiperspirant to homemade deodorant. I know it wouldn’t hurt to try the vinegar…if anyone else had a suggestion, I’d we’d love to hear it!
        p.s. Congrats on the new home…you are gonna love the clothesline! :)

    6. April 17, 2012 at 10:14 pm

      These are some wonderful tips! I’ve just recently started making my own laundry detergent and using vinegar as a fabric softener. Hubby says his socks have never felt softer! :)
      Thanks for the idea of putting ess. oil on a dry rag and throwing it in the dryer with the damp clothes. I will have to try that.

      I’m a new follower.


      • April 17, 2012 at 10:33 pm

        Marcia…welcome! I am so glad you are making your own laundry detergent, it is very rewarding (especially when hubby notices)! :)

    7. Lori Davis
      July 18, 2012 at 6:58 am

      Love the photos! One thing I do to help with my husband’s sweaty, dirty work uniforms is to add 1/2 cup of baking soda to his white shirts. It takes the phew! out of them and also helps to reduce static cling.

      • Lori Davis
        July 18, 2012 at 6:59 am

        ** to the washer with his white shirts**

      • July 18, 2012 at 8:15 am

        Lori… good to know! Baking soda does do an amazing job at removing odors elsewhere, so why not stinky work clothes ;)

    8. Jen
      February 8, 2013 at 6:53 pm

      Thanks for this post! I do most everything chemical free now, and have just discovered Molly’s Suds laundry detergent, which is all natural. I also love using dryer balls, and white vinegar in the rinse! I am gonna make up some small flannel cloths to put some essential oils on for the dryer. Awesome idea, thanks!!! I am printing out your natural stain removers & pinning them to my laundry room wall!

    9. September 4, 2014 at 1:22 am

      I just wanted to say, great post. I have used white vinegar in my wash for some time now. Its absolutely the best to whiten and keep cloths soft hands down. I don’t even need dryer sheets. Great for washing and saves on money.

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