This blog chronicles my life as I try to balance healthy lifestyle habits with my husband's penchant for pizza rolls and my daughter's desire to watch iCarly 8 hours a day. It contains a mostly humorous, kind, and somewhat spiritual look at everyday life and the people who live it.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Green Tip Tuesday: Using Vinegar in the Laundry

I really like doing the laundry.  I like sorting the clothing by colors, it appeals to my sense of order.  I like remembering to rescue all of my favorite fitted T's or comfy sweaters from the dryer because it makes me feel like I am top of my chores.  I love the warm, clean smell of clothes fresh from the dryer.  My laundry "room" is really just a closet in my daughter's bathroom.  I don't have any fancy shelving or cabinets.  My washer and dryer are serviceable 11 year old Maytags.  I have absolutely no lighting in the closet, and almost no storage.  I always say that someday my laundry room will look this one, but right now, not so much.  I even love putting away all the fresh laundry because we (finally) bought a dresser last year and there is enough room to put everything away properly.

I began investigating "greener" laundry detergents about  5 years ago when my friend Chellie bought her new front-load washer and dryer.  The purchase came with a few years of free servicing and Chellie, who is good at remembering that kind of stuff, scheduled the visits.  The woman (!) who came to service the appliances complimented her on how clean her machine was after a year of constant usage.  The technician attributed the condition of the appliances to Chellie's commitment to not using petroleum-based detergents.  I am embarrassed to say that I honestly didn't realize that my old favorite Tide was a petroleum-based detergent!  I like to reduce our exposure to (and dependency upon) petroleum so I started using the Seventh Generation line of laundry products.   I still do use the laundry detergent, but let's face it, those products are
expensive and not always widely available, so I searched for something else to use as a fabric softener.  That's when I discovered vinegar. 

Vinegar is the perfect fabric softener.  It removes soap residue, freshens the load, brightens colors, whitens whites, and causes no harm to the environment.  My washing machine has a large center cup for adding fabric softener so I add 1/2 cup of white vinegar and about 8-10 drops of lavendar essential oil to each load.   The clothes smell great, they are soft (even the towels and jeans) and it costs about half of what Downy costs.  I buy Heinz white vinegar at the warehouse club in a 1.32 gallon jug for $3.99 and it lasts about 36 loads of laundry. 

The great thing about vinegar is it's versatility.  I can spray it directly on my workout clothes to remove sweat stains and odors.  I can run it through my machine with hot water to remove any musty smells in the washer.  I can spray it on stains to help them dissolve.  I can combine it with baking soda and really whiten socks. 

Perhaps if you have some vinegar in your pantry you could try adding it to just one rinse cycle, just to see if you like it?  Or put some in a small spray bottle and very lightly mist shirts you are about to iron.   I like using products with which I can create dressing for salad, scour my coffee pot, and clean my clothes.

Be green, your socks will get whiter.


K said...

You are wonderful Beth! Thanks for still being you

Anonymous said...

There is an acutal vinegar book it is amazing. My uncle drank sine red cider vineger thingy after triple bypass and the surgeon up at Uof M couldn't beleive how well he did in such a short time. Thanks for reminding me of this wonderful product. It is great also at taking residue off from stickers. LAF

Beth said...

Hello K! I think you're wonderful too.

LAF, I think I once saw a book about vinegar and now I wish I had bought it. I know that some of the uses are probably redundant or take too long to work, but I still like to try a "natural" approach first.

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