Welcome to Sunday! If your household is anything like ours, it's laundry day! I can hear my washing machine upstairs as I type this and for some reason that always soothes me. It reminds me of my childhood. It conjures up memories of our Sunday family gatherings at my gran's house. All of my cousins would arrive and we would spend the day outside building forts, tromping through the garden or getting filthy in the barnyard. Oh the laundry we created! In the evening, after all my cousins had gone home, I would help gran fold all the laundry. Just me, her and piles of laundry. I reveled in it. I soaked it up. I loved every part of the process from sorting to folding. I watched the love in her hands as she completed those mundane tasks. Laundry was never a chore to me and has become something I now look forward to at the end of the week. Doing the laundry forces me to slow down. The repetitive process of folding the clean clothes soothes my scattered mind. Instead of thinking of the one million things I should be doing I just simply fold.
OK, time for my second cup of coffee! Grab yourself a cup and settle in. I want to share with you today some natural laundry tips and little tweaks you can do to make your laundry experience more enjoyable and earth friendly. I know many of you have children and its possible your washing machines run 24/7 but there are things you can do to make the laundry process more efficient.
- Sort it out - in order to get the most from your dryer you need to sort your laundry. Dry your towels alone! Separate heavyweight and lightweight items and don't mix them. Loads of similar weight items will dry faster and more evenly. Adding wool dryer balls makes this happen even faster!
- Forego the niceties - ditch the chemical laden fabric softeners, dryer sheets and even the ironing! Use wool dryer balls instead of dryer sheets (trust me they are amazing). I have three in my dryer at all times! Add 1/4 cup of salt to the wash cycle to brighten whites and colors. Add vinegar as fabric softener! Say what ???? Yep, good ol' vinegar. I keep a jug in the laundry room and add it directly into my fabric softener area on my machine.
- Do full loads - this may sound like a no-brainer but stop and think about it. How many times has your child or spouse ran the machine just to wash a couple t-shirts? You need to maximize your wash cycle by having everyone commit to full loads. Plus it saves electricity and water.
- Wear twice - or heck even three times! Just because you (or your teenager) wore that item once does not mean it earned a spot in the laundry hamper! Honestly, the simplest way to cut back on laundry is to just do less of it. Hang your shirt when you remove it instead of tossing it in the hamper. Unless visibly soiled or foul smelling you really do not need to wash each article of clothing after only one wear. Exception to this rule: underwear. You should own enough underwear to wear a clean pair everyday and still not have to do laundry till Sunday!
- The energy hogs - if you can..go cold on your wash cycle. Nearly 90% of the energy associated with washing your clothes goes into heating the water! Let's look at the other hog in the room. The clothes dryer. Did you know that approximately 6% of your residential electricity use is your clothes dryer? When possible, hang clothes outside to dry. Build a clothesline and use it! Even a simple rope hung between two trees will do! If you have never slept on sheets freshly dried in the sunshine you are truly missing out! The sun naturally brightens whites and actually helps eliminate dust mites. If you cannot build a clothesline use an indoor drying rack. Washing machines more than 10 years old use significantly more water than newer machines. If possible, switch to the newer EnergyStar machines.
- Ditch the detergents - simply start by eliminating anything with artificial fragrances. Replace your laundry detergent with laundry soap, which is naturally more antibacterial. If you aren't up for making your own laundry soap (or don't have a local source to buy it from) your next best bet is to buy a commercial product that is free of dyes, perfumes, brighteners and phosphates. If you need scent just add 2-3 drops of essential oil to your wool dryers balls.
We all have a responsibility to take care of our planet. Little tweaks in our daily lives really do add up! Another great thing that happens when you switch up your laundry routine is the sense of well being that you are not only improving our planet but improving the lives of your loved ones! I couldn't resist throwing in this photo of me and my laundry "on the line". With all the snow we have been receiving this month I am longing for the green of summer!
Till next week.....
Disclaimer: I hope you have found my blog useful and helpful. I am a professional registered nurse of 23 years and my blog posts are intended for informational and educational purposes only. They should not be seen as health, nutritional or medical advice. I am not a doctor nor have I ever played one on TV. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. I recommend checking with your doctor before beginning any new treatment as I am unaware of your entire medical history.
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