One of the great things about the environmental mini-challenge is that I now have a reason to look into things that I knew I wanted to research, but never got around to doing. Today’s topic is detergent and when I started nosing around on the Web I found this: The Laundry Alternative. I feel downright giddy!
They had this page on eco-friendly laundry detergents. They had info on the ingredients found in detergents. Hmmm… looks like the site isn’t fully baked – some of the articles are missing. Oh well… it did get me thinking about my dry-clean-only clothes.
To Dry Clean or Not to Dry Clean — The Real Question Is, Why Did I Buy Those Clothes?
I usually don’t buy dry-clean only clothes. Occasionally I find something at a consignment shop or garage sale that is just so great — and cheap — that I go against my better judgment and buy it anyway. Then I try to wash it.
I have hand-washed or gentle cycled some clothes that say dry-clean-only with no ill effects but there are a few where I use a home dry cleaning bag, which obviously has to go in that energy-sucking clothes dryer. So I have two questions: a) Is there a non-toxic way to wash those clothes, and b) is there a way to not use the dryer?
- This laundering delicates article gives some tips on washing silk, rayon and wool – notoriously difficult fabrics that people usually dry clean. This avoids both toxins and the dryer.
- Quite a few articles recommend professional “wet cleaning” as a good environmental solution. Here’s a list of places that wet-clean in Minneapolis. Looks like boiled wool (my clogs) cannot be wet cleaned.
- Dryel, the home dry cleaning bag I use, says it’s perc-free – that’s the toxic stuff in professional dry cleaning. Does anyone have any info on the environmental safety of Dryel?
Back to Laundry Detergent
TLC, yeah, the TV network, had this article about alternatives to detergent. I haven’t tried them yet, but I will. To bleach clothes, they suggest lemon juice in very hot water (but not for silks, see article above).”mix 1/2 cup lemon juice with 1 gallon very hot water. Soak the clothing in it for at least one hour, though it can soak as long as overnight.”
Sorry I haven’t tried these products yet so I can’t report on effectiveness or ease of use, but it’s next on the list. Please comment if you have any suggestions for me about safe laundry soaps to try.