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Going Green in the Laundry Room

Over the past year, I have been on a campaign to replace my old laundry detergent with an earth -friendly alternative, and I have tried several different options. Unfortunately, my biggest problem has been price. Like all consumers, I want to get the biggest bang for my buck, and many of the natural laundry detergents I tried were very expensive and didn’t last very long.

If you have a little money to spend, I highly recommend Shaklee Fresh Laundry powdered laundry detergent. It works great, but it is rather pricey at almost $18.00 per box and I also have to pay shipping since I have not found a reliable distributor in my area. Shaklee claims that this one small box of detergent will handle 88 loads of laundry, but make sure to read the fine print that indicates that it will handle 88 medium size loads. To concerve energy, fewer, larger loads of laundry is the general recommendation. If you usually have large loads, use the recommended amount of detergent on the box. You won’t get 88 loads from one box, but it still lasts longer than other natural laundry detergents (such as Seventh Generation or Earth Friendly Products) and does a great job.

In tighter financial times, I have switched to Arm & Hammer Free and Clear powdered detergent. It is inexpensive, widely available, and Arm & Hammer claims that their products are completely bio-degradable and “environmentally sensible.” Their powdered products also come in boxes made from 100% recycled materials. It is not ideal, but it is great in a pinch, works well, and is better than other commercial alternatives that use petroleum based ingredients.

Arm and Hammer has also recently developed with a line of natural liquid laundry detergent called Arm and Hammer Essentials. This product uses plant based soaps and is reasonably priced, but I didn’t care for the strong perfume smells it produced.

There is also the option of making your own laundry detergent. I haven’t tried this yet, but when I do, I will report back. The recipe I plan to try was published in Natural Health in 1999 and can be found here. If you try it, let me know how it works!

Another great way to save energy and save your clothes from early retirement is the clothes line or rack. I line dry many of our clothes including most of our business wear and jeans. This helps them last longer and I run the dryer a little less than I did before. I don’t have a clothes line yet, but if you do, it is a great way to save energy in nice weather.

Tip: When measuring laundry detergent, be sure to follow the guidelines on the box. Many people use far more detergent than necessary, and the product does not last as long as it could. I usually try to use a little less than the instructions call for. My clothes still get clean and the product lasts that much longer.

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