Detergents & Washing

Similar to kitchen soaps, commercial laundry detergents create problems for marine ecology. The phosphates, chlorines, perfumes and anti-caking agents all play a role in disrupting the quality of water. Buying laundry detergent that is marked as environmentally sensitive is helpful. All detergents will bio-degrade; the larger question to be asked and answered is how long will it take to go back to nature, so choose carefully.

Here are some other ways to change our habits, and utlimately change the amount of resources we use for laundry:

  • Set water level accurately to the amount of laundry in the machine
  • Run only full loads of wash as much as possible
  • If given the option, choose to buy a front loading machine
  • Wash dark colors in cold water and white colors in warm – using cold water is less of a drain on the hot water tank and your clothing
  • For stains, choose to pre-treat with soaking rather than using harsh chemicals
  • Begin to reduce and possibly eliminate bleach and fabric softners
  • Hot water, bleach and hot dryers will literally rob you of months and years of your clothing, and the dryer lint represents a loss from clothing



Drying clothing outside on laundry lines and laundry racks is a lost art, but one that can be reclaimed at any time – Mother Nature provides a free and natural solution. Once you are in the groove you will begin to enjoy the benefits! The sun is a natural bleach and will clear up simple stains such as tomato. Towels may come back feeling a little bristly, adding an exfoliating benefit as well as being super absorbent if they are free of fabric softeners.

Have you ever slept in a bed with sheets that were dried outside, blowing in the wind? Many people have fond memories of taking a deep breath of that fresh smell that comes from the outdoors. Enjoy clothing free of perfumed fabric softeners and full of nature’s perfume!  And lastly, hanging laundry is similar to hand washing dishes, offering meditative moments in the day.

Avoid using the dryer as much as possible. Along with an electric stove, this is the largest outlet in your home and is the largest draw of energy. During the cold months clothing can be air dried in the home, adding humidity to balance out the drying nature of indoor heating. Do a test run, and enjoy the windfall when the electricity bill is lower than usual!