So you’ve switched to vinegar and baking soda for cleaning. You eat organic food. You recycle. But what about your laundry?
Detergent is incredibly detrimental to our freshwater and the fish that live within. It is poisonous to all aquatic life in sufficient quantities; it can damage gills and destroy the protective mucus layer that keeps fish healthy. It can also cause algae blooms, which are bad for the fish, bad for the environment and bad for us.
So how do you get your clothes fresh and clean, without killing our fish friends?
One of the most environmentally conscious options is soap nuts. These are actually a type of berry that naturally contain a soap-like substance that acts as a surfactant to break the water’s surface tension, to allow it to clean the fiber of your clothes and linens. They are gentle and safe for the environment, but they really do get clothes clean (even cloth diapers!).
Have some stains? Hydrogen peroxide, left on for 30 minutes, can do wonders for underarm yellowness. And salt rubbed into a red wine stain, then rinsed with boiling water, can work wonders without harming you or the water systems. Blot ink stains with high proof alcohol after you lay the garment over an old rag or paper towel; launder as usual.
Adding a little tea tree oil to your wash cycle is also really helpful in eliminating odours, without adding a toxic element to the environment or your skin. You can also make or buy satchels of lavender seed or other naturally scented plants and seeds, and toss them into the dryer with your laundry to add a light touch of scent.
Nobody wants to walk around with grubby, smelly clothes – not even the fish want that for you! Luckily, you can have clean clothes and a clean conscience.