I used to be a lawyer. Now, I’m a (willing) unpaid charlady. Hence today’s post is about the fascinating topic of….laundry.
There was a time, pre-baby, where Tim and I could get away with doing laundry every 2 weeks. Those days are long gone – now we’re doing laundry every day, every second day if we’re lucky. Partly it’s because I’m trying to be a bit more eco-friendly by sometimes using reuseable nappies, but mainly it’s because NKOTB wets, soils, dribbles and spews on a lot of clothing and linen. And not just hers, but ours as well.
All I can say is Thank God I live in the 21st century and not the 19th century. At least I can do the laundry with a touch of a button rather than scrubbing and beating over a hot copper pot.
Now that I’ve become a self-appointed expert on laundry I’m going to share my recommendations on my favourite laundry products!
1. Ecostore laundry powder. I am a little bit of a greenie so I hate using chemicals for washing and cleaning. Also, baby skin is very delicate and I suffered from severe childhood ezcema, so I’d hate for NKOTB to become scratchy and irritable like me. I’ve always been very conscious of what is contained in commercial cleaning products, which is why I’m a fan of New Zealand brand Ecostore.
Ecostore’s laundry powder is skin friendly and garden friendly. From an environmental point of view, it’s highly biodegradable – there’s no toxic petrochemicals, phosphates, nitrates, ammonia, enzymes, chlorine, optical whiteners or synthetic dyes or perfumes – so the grey water is perfect for watering the garden. Plus you only have to use a little each time, making it an economical option too.
I’ve found it just as effective as chemical-filled laundry powder, without the nasty stuff. I’ve not tried the laundry liquid and I’m not sure what difference it makes to the wash to use one or the other.
2. Ecostore Oxygen Whitener (which is now called Laundry Soaker & Stain Remover). I hate bleach. I hate the smell of it, its harshness and the damage it does to our environment when we pour it down the drain. However, it’s a fact of life that dirty nappies and vomit stains need an extra bit of help getting clean, which is why I use Ecostore’s oxygen based in-wash whitener. I generally have a bucket ready with some dissolved powder in it where I can just throw in the dirty gear until it’s ready to be washed. I fish out the soaked clothing to put in the machine and then take the bucket out to water our garden (but not our food plants – Ecostore recommend grey water from the pH balanced laundry liquid for that). You can also add the powder directly to the machine wash.
I buy both Ecostore products from the local Woolworths but you can also get it at health food stores. Incidentally, I also use their household spray cleaner and rinse aid in the kitchen.
3. Soapnuts. Wild soapnuts are a 100% natural cleaner which looks like the a wizened macadamia-sized nut shell. It contains a high percentage of saponins, a surfacant, which removes dirt and oils from fabric when dispersed with water and apparently have been used for centuries in India, China and Nepal.
I use soapnuts if I’m washing items that aren’t heavily stained (business shirts, tea towels, clothing with just a little bit of milk dribble on them etc) as they’re an easy, cheap, non-chemical alternative to washing detergents. Just pop 4-6 nuts in a small bag and wack them into the machine drum – they don’t need to be removed during the rinse cycle as they don’t leave any residue. You can use soapnuts 4-6 times (you’ll notice them start to disintegrate in the bag) and then compost them in your garden.
I buy my soapnuts from Ebay or from my local hippie store Friends of the Earth in bulk.