You may have heard fumes from your dryer vent can cause cancer. And many of the chemicals in your detergent can stay in your clothes even after a wash cycle. From there, they can seep into your skin, causing breathing issues and making you sick.
So are there natural laundry detergents that can keep these toxins out of your home and off your skin? How can you get that clean clothes smell without the corresponding carcinogens?
There are methods of doing laundry that keep harmful chemicals out of your house. Here are some of the best ways to keep your clothes clean and your family safe.
1. Natural Laundry Soap Bar
A natural laundry soap bar is a must for your all-around laundry needs. They're incredibly versatile! You can use it on hand wash products or you can use it as a spot treatment for stained garments. You can grate it up and throw it in your washer like you're usual laundry detergent.
Bars like these from O'Canada Soapworks are made from only a few ingredients. Plus they're ones that you recognize and can pronounce on the first try! They're made with saponified coconut, vegetable & olive oils, water, borax, baking soda, and a fragrance.
These bars come in scents like clean, fresh, or breezy.
2. Dryer Balls
You'd be amazed at how many toxins lurk in your dryer sheets. But do you know why you even use them?
The idea is to make your clothes feel softer, and reduce static electricity. If you have a scented variety, to make your clothes smell fresh.
But, they're full of toxic chemicals, and on top of that, they're incredibly wasteful (use once and toss.)
Instead, get some wool dryer balls. They bounce around your dryer and help your clothes dry faster (saves energy). They help reduce static cling. If you add a few drops of essential oils, they'll help your clothes smell fresh too.
If you use wool, over some other dryer ball options, they'll make your clothes soft too! Best of all, dryer balls don't have any of the toxic chemicals that riddle your dryer sheets. So help your family stay free of toxins and replace your wasteful dryer sheets with wool dryer balls.
3. Use Vinegar for Musty Clothes
Sometimes clothes get an odor, especially if they're coming out of storage. When that happens, you may be tempted to splurge on some fresh smelling laundry detergent. Don't.
Instead of masking the smells with chemical-laden perfumes. Use vinegar. Vinegar helps get rid of odors at their source, and it only takes 1/2 cup directly into your washing machine.
Then to get that fresh smell, add a few drops of essential oils to your dryer ball. Voila! Clean smelling clothes that are toxin-free.
4. Use Baking Soda to Brighten Fading Clothes
If your clothes are looking dingy or have tough stains, add 1/2 cup of baking soda in with your laundry detergent. Baking soda is a natural deodorizer, and it helps get rid of tough stains.
Best of all, it's a cheap, natural product, that you likely already have in your pantry.
5. Castile Soaps
Look for Castile soaps made with organic sunflower seed oil, coconut oil, or a blend of the two. Castile soaps made from plants make them vegan-friendly. They're often so pure with so few chemicals they're safe to use in rivers and lakes.
And soaps like this one from the Green Beaver are incredibly versatile! You can use it for body wash, washing produce, cleaning your floors, or, of course, as a laundry detergent!
6. Fold It While It's Hot
Some fancier detergents come with promises like "wrinkle prevention." If you're allergic to the iron and rely on these new detergents, we have a better idea. Fold it while it's hot.
If you can get your laundry out of the dryer and fold it while it's hot, you can virtually eliminate wrinkles. No need for an iron. No need for expensive, toxic detergents.
And best of all, you can spend a second burying yourself in that dryer hot, fresh laundry feel. And you get to cross one more thing off your to-do list.
If you're lucky enough to have a clothes-drying line, take advantage of it! Line drying gets your clothes a special summer wind smell you can't get anywhere else. Plus it helps prevent wrinkles.
Best of all, it's the most eco-friendly way to dry your clothes, with nothing but the sun and wind doing the work. You can save over $200 annually, and help the environment, just by putting your clothes on the line.
8. Use Soap Nuts
There's a plant that grows in Nepal called the Sapindus mukorossi tree. It has a special fruit that has a lot of natural soap like properties in it. You can order "soap nuts" online to make your laundry super clean - the natural way.
All it takes is 4 to 6 nuts in a little nut bag that you throw straight into your dryer.
Best of all, growing these nuts is great for Nepal! It stimulates the economy and prevents erosion where the trees are grown. So know you're keeping your family safe, and supporting neighborhoods in Nepal too.
9. Laundry Liquids
When you're picking laundry products, look for products that say plant-based or biodegradable. Check out this one from Sapadilla. They're made cruelty-free, with no artificial scents.
You can get natural scents like sweet lavender and lime, grapefruit and bergamot, or rosemary and peppermint.
And since it's plant-based and biodegradable, you can use it to wash laundry on long camping trips. Or, sub it out as a body wash and rinse off in lakes or streams.
Using Natural Laundry Products is Safer for Your Family
Once you know the right brands, it's not hard to swap out your current, toxic products. Choose ones that are safer for your family, and the environment as a whole.
Natural laundry products are easy to find, easy to use, and they're affordable too. So do your research, and buy products safe for your family.
Ready to cut toxic chemicals from your laundry routine? Check out our favorite soaps here.