Welcome to Part 2 of the Clean Swaps series. Feel free to catch up on Part 1 here if you’re new to the blog. As I mentioned last week, I had the vision for this series a while ago but with the holidays it’s hard to fit too much else into the editorial calendar. In March it just seemed right because the subtle start of spring is the perfect time to focus on ridding your home/closets/cabinets of harsh chemical products and replacing them with beautifully made, cleaner items that make for a healthier life.
While last week’s post was all about bath products and what to replace them with, today I want to focus on something basically everyone interacts with on a weekly basis – laundry.
In today’s post we’ll explore
+ what your everyday detergents and laundry essentials are made out of
+ what to eliminate for a healthier home
+ how easy it is to take care of your quality items
**what we’re not necessarily talking about in this series is saving money in the short term. I realize some of the products I’m going to mention are a bit more expensive than your typical grocery store/bargain items but if we’re looking at long-term health success them a few more dollars up front is definitely worth the investment.**
Unless a laundry detergent specially says sulfate-free, look on the back of the bottle ingredient list. It’s often one of the top ingredients and should be avoided if you’re concerned about making a switch away from harsh chemicals.
The next section is all about chemicals that you can see and smell. It’s no surprise that as a culture we are obsessed with heavy, rich fragrances. Bath and Body Works is a store dedicated to creating artificial smells made by chemical additives. Laundry products are some of the top offenders in this category using products to enhance the smell and look of popular products.
So with a better idea of what to avoid, now we can take a look at some of my favorite products that keep laundry fresh and clean but also keep my home free from chemicals.
If you want to go ahead and check these products I’ll link them here and then go into detail about them below.
I would be remiss if I didn’t include this in the featured line up of hero products. I’ve been changing out all of our heavy winter clothes – mostly sweaters – and this is the first year I’m actually doing it correctly. A capful of this detergent that’s specially designed for wool and cashmere fabrics and our sweaters have been coming out of the wash fresh and gently infused with a cedar scent.
**cedar is a natural bug and moth repellant so the naturally cedar-scented detergent and a few cedar chips in our sweater storage bin keep the fabric fresh until the fall.**
If you’re not already familiar with the brand The Laundress it’s truly one of my favorite “splurge” brands to purchase. They are a women-owned brand that takes laundry and the process of performing laundry tasks to the next level.
They have a philosophy that 90% of the items you own don’t need to be dry cleaned (even if it says dry clean only) and rather if you use the right products and know how to take care of your fabrics you’ll save so much money in the long run.
They are also a clean and green brand with no harsh chemicals added to their products. Again, it is a bit of splurge and I definitely don’t use their detergent for everyday loads of laundry but I absolutely love the Wool & Cashmere Shampoo, the Delicate Wash, and Bleach Alternative.
Dryer sheets and scent boosters are actually some of the biggest offenders of harmful chemicals in their ingredient lineup. And while we all love static free, heavily scented laundry fresh from the dryer using wool dryer balls with a few drops of essential oil is not just better for you but also dries your laundry so much faster.
I add about 5 drops of essential oil to each dryer ball and throw in 2 for a big load of drying laundry. It cuts down drying time by like 20% typically, the clothes come out smelling fresh and clean, and there’s never any static. All done with artificial boosters and chemical products.
It’s sneaky, but not all “natural” detergents are truly free from sulfates and other chemicals. It really takes reading labels and educating yourself in order to find the cleanest detergents on the market. Not all products from Seventh Generation are free from Sodium Lauryl Sulfate but their Free and Clear products are and it’s what I use for everyday laundry detergent.
+ Sun and Earth – a light citrus scent. 1 gallon is $25 on Amazon
+ Biokleen – multiple scents. 1/2 Gallon is $11 on Amazon
+ 365 – the unscented has the best rating and can be purchased on Amazon or at Whole Foods
+ Vinegar – purchase from any grocery store to clean everything from the inside of your washer to stains