I've been converted by Bea on getting rid of paper products. I bought microfiber cloths, reusable makeup pads, handkerchiefs, natural wooden dish scrubbing brush, dishrags, dinner napkins--so I'm going to be doing laundry where some is a lot dirtier than what I'm used to. I only wash in cold water and line dry my clothes. I use cold water Tide, but since the cloths and things are going to be dirty I bought a Wonder Ball. Some people using a Wonder Ball wash with no detergent, but I like adding a teaspoon of detergent per load just to be on the safe side. So I am still going to have the plastic container to throw away eventually, but it's going to take a long time to use up just one bottle.
I loved Soule mama's laundry post! I like her recipe, and esp loved that she washes cloth diapers in that soap. I use only cloth on my 8 month old baby. Her recipe was similar to the one I used before, but she uses dr.bronners. I know you can buy dr.bronners liquid in bulk at my whole foods market. And probably baking soda, but not the washing soda. You would have to make the liquid version of this, found in my link above. But, if you use her method the wrapping paper and the cardboard box on the washing soda is recyclable. But would not be exactly zero waste. Is there a zero wate recipe for laundry soap? I have an he machine.
I am not sure there is an answer..I was trying to see what Bea uses. Did she post that? I am going to make the laundry soap linked above. All the boxes are cardboard, and the Dr. Bronner's bar soap is a paper wrapper. At least they can be recycled. But we all know Bea does laundry with 2 boys! So what DO you use Bea?? :) TIA!
Bea says she uses Seventh Generation powdered laundry detergent in the Feb 2010 post "ZW Cleaning and Laundry." It comes in a cardboard box, with a recyclable plastic measuring scoop. I've been trying out this brand of detergent, with good results. The water in my area is very hard, and I've found that letting the powdered detergent dissolve in some warm water first before switching to a cold wash cycle helps prevent powder marks on clothing (as does cleaning the washer with a once-a-month rinse only cycle plus a cup of vinegar).
Stores like Whole Foods offer liquid laundry detergent in bulk. I think the brand was called 'Sun and Earth', and you can bring your own container or buy one of theirs.
I acknowledge that I am not local but in Australia we use soap nuts which are:-
Soapnuts are 100%:
Pure and natural
Non allergenic (not a nut, really a berry)
Antibacterial, antimicrobial, antifungal
Wild harvested (organic)
Beneficial to grey-water and septic systems
Not tested on animals
Easy to use ...... and most importantly, effective
I buy my soap nuts from http://gogreenathome.com.au/soapnuts.html, I know they post internationally!
It only takes 4 nuts in a sock for 1 wash that can be used 3-4 times. Then boiled up in larger quantities for other cleaning uses. Fantastic for cleaning tiled floors - Hope this helps!
I recently made my own wool dryer balls. They haven't quite felted like I thought they would, but they are staying in tact. I have been using them for about 2 weeks and I would say they cut down on the amount of time drying even with my he washer and front load dryer. As for keeping thing static free....I haven't noticed too much static other than a load I did that had a polar tek-type sweatshirt in it. That shirt was stat icky but the other clothes seemed fine. I did try and scent the balls with essential oil, but haven't found that it gives off enough scent to make the clothes smelly like with liquid softner or dryer sheets. I do like them tho and will keep using them. Hope this helps..
I can't say I used one site in particular... they all basically said the same thing on how to make them, so I don't think you can go wrong. I used the fishermans wool as it said it was "perfect for felting" and I not knowing anything about anything yarn thought that would be best. I chose to use the natural color- I wasn't too sure about the color bleeding into other things tho some sites claim you can use any color. I used two skeins of yarn and made 6 balls. I used coupons and watched for sales so that cut the cost too.
what's your take on fabric softener? I have used liquid for a long time, but in an effort to go more green and less waste, I've been looking at options. I have read that people use vinegar and I think someone here used baking soda. I tried vinegar, and tho I was amazed my clothes didn't come out smelling like vinegar :) I can't say the clothes felt soft.... haven't tried the baking soda yet, but I wonder if using these alternatives are really working and the clothes are soft but because I'm so used to the chemical and fragrance of the "regular" stuff they don't feel that way. Maybe I just need to get used to it what's your experience?
Personal Experience/IMHO: Used white vinegar for years with no complaints, switched to softeners last few years (affordable "luxury") but will be quitting soon as we finish this bottle. I feel like the softeners are just compensating for flawed detergents, which leave a residue. Will also be cutting back on amounts of detergent used. Switching to Charlie's when finish off my hoard of detergent. Also going with the wool dryer balls.
I made some wool dryer balls- but they unravelled after a bit- cheaper IMO to purchase the balls through etsy.com or diaperswappers.com than to purchase the wool!
Soapnuts are awesome- have used them with no complaints- and with cloth diapers!. A new company is all set to mass market them in the U.S. soon.
Vinegar is a great- I would almost say superior fabric softner because it doesn't make cloth 'droopy' soft. Just be sure you don't have a nasty stain that might set w/ the vinegar.
I make my own laundry detergent- but now going ZW, I need some new options. My detergent was borax & Arm & Hammer SUPER washing soda- equal parts -measure out 1/4 cup with some squirts of the original blue dawn dish soap per load. Even wors awesome w/ my energy efficient washer. But the dawn comes in plastic containers... :(