I’ve already written a post explaining what intentional living is and why I’ve decided to take this route of living. There are so many things one could possibly do from removing yourself from the realm of fast fashion towards sustainably produced panties to carrying a reusable straw in your handbag. Once you start reading up about all the things you SHOULD be doing it gets overwhelming very, very quickly. For that reason I’ve decided to slowly re-evaluate various parts of my every day life and create one action step at the time. No matter how random they might sound, these are areas that occurred to me as having a potential for improvement.
As you might have guessed from the title, we’re talking laundry today. Seriously though, who is this person?!
4 green hacks for your laundry routine
DITCH THE WASHING POWDER
My first, and definitely most fun, tip is to swap your washing powder for soap nuts. I cannot believe I’ve never known these existed. Soap nuts are berries that grow on a tree called Sapindus Mukorossi in Nepal. The shells contain saponins which in hot water foam up and can act as a washing agent. They are absolutely natural, organic and contain no chemicals, which means they are much better for our skin (especially for those with sensitive skin as they cause no allergies and irritation), for our clothes (it lasts longer because the fabric isn’t affected by harsh chemicals), for the waste water (standard chemicals in washing powders, which can also often contain phosphates, do not disintegrate in water and sometimes cannot be extracted in a waste water plant) and even for your pocket (they are super money saving!). I got these from a Czech shop called Econea but you can also get them here at Holland & Barrett’s. For about a tenner you get enough nuts to last you anywhere between 6 months to a year depending on how often you wash. You put about 5 nuts into a little cotton bag and pop in with your laundry. You can re-use them multiple times before they stop foaming up.
They are obviously no contender to chemical detergents so they won’t wash out a wine stain however they do just great at every day washing and I even prefer their scent to the scent of a strong washing powder, it’s very subtle and earthy.
I do recommend you keep a little bag of an eco friendly washing powder on side, just in case you murder someone and need to wash out all the blood, but for most cases, the soap nuts will do. The same goes for the fabric softener. The soap nuts don’t make your laundry too stiff, but they definitely don’t make it dreamy soft. I always add a splash of this eco friendly fabric softener from Econea. In the UK you can buy this one directly from Frosch or this one directly from Ecover, which is meant to be also very good!
BEAT THOSE TOUGH STAINS
If you’re absolutely dedicated to ditch the washing powder and be super natural then you can use ox gall soap to wash off the toughest of stains. Ox gall soap is a proper old fashioned soap, that has been around for centuries, containing bovine gall. This gall is always taken from grass fed cows and it’s a part that would otherwise not be used at all and just thrown away. Instead it’s been mixed with other natural ingredients to create a strong soap that, thanks to its bio content, works on blood stains, soil, grass, fruit stains, sweat, food, red wine and all the other horrid splashes you can’t get off your favourite dress. I use this one from Greenstore but you can get it here from BioLindo in the UK. And it’s super cheap!
SAVE ON YOUR ELECTRICITY BILL
Many people argue that living in a small apartment means you HAVE TO own a dryer. Sometimes it is just more convenient but very often it’s just not a necessity and not owning one can save you in fact a lot of money off the electricity bill. All you need to do is to get yourself in a habit of planning your washing in advance because it will take a few more hours to air dry (and get an air drying rack, obvs). Using up less energy helps the environment as well as your pocket, that should be a no brainer.
Why it’s important to use eco friendly low impact cleaning products?
When using strong chemicals such as bleach, you’re doing so much harm to yourself, your family, pets as well as the environment. Especially bleach that comes in a form of gel tends to create a reaction once applied during cleaning producing a volatile chemical compound which has been proven to cause respiratory problems and it’s even been linked to cancer. I totally understand the need to bleach the shit out of your toilet because that’s the kind of germaphobic society we’re grown up in but as one bleach scientist once said (for the love of God I cannot recall his name), no good comes from killing bacteria around us because we need them as much as they need us. I grew up eating sand and mud in the field and I was never ever ill as a child. The day I stopped eating shit off the ground was the day I got my first flu (not literally but close enough to make you see bacteria in a different light).
That goes for you, Hinch Army – I can see that cleaning can be fun, and it’s definitely a great idea that Mrs Hinch has create a social movement where we all take a moment and create a clean, lovely environment around ourselves. Nevertheless, the approach is lacking in the bigger picture. Be it the absolute overkill of bleaching your home to the bone or mopping the floor with wet wipes (yes, I’ve watched a YouTube video where someone WIPED THE WHOLE FLOOR with them, bloody hell, Karen). And wet wipes are basically non-degradable. Despite the fact that they are being advertised as flushable, it’s not entirely true. They combine synthetic cellulosic fibre with plastic fibres which are non-degradable. So they are flushable, however will eventually be flushed out on a beach somewhere in Phuket.
This is how it works with many cleaning products so do your research and think twice or even thrice before committing yourself, your family, pets and the environment to the harms of strong chemicals and “one use” cleaning tools.
And dear God, please, ditch the Hinching for eco friendly alternatives!
Have you tried any of these laundry hacks yet? Or any other intentional living tips?