Thursday, March 10, 2011


If we are attempting to adopt environmentally friendly practices, we should definitely aim at our laundry. Not only do we pollute the environment with phosphates and other harsh chemicals, we also let these interact with our skin and respiratory system. Washing in conventional detergents can cause allergies, rushes, skin disorders amongst other health problems. This note pad will identify environmentally friendly products for laundry washing and those that minimally impact our health.


There is a vast range of eco detergents available in most countries. Salection can be made from both liquid and powder detergents.

Eco detergents are phosphate-free and are made with biodegradable ingredients. They contain plant based fragrances or are unscented. Green detergents often emphasize minimal packaging, recycled or recyclable wrapping, minimize resources for production and transportation. Depending on a country, those detergents can be found in hypermarkets and supermarkets, health food stores, drogeries (Europe) and on-line. Eco friendly softeners are widely available by the eco brands.

Another option is washing with SOAP NUTS which have been used as a natural detergent for centuries. There are around a dozen soap nuts species native to India, China, Southern Asia, parts of north and central America. The one most widely used for its detergent attributes is the Soap Nut Tree or Chinese Soapberry (source). Washing can be done directly by inserting a cotton bag with few soapnuts shells into the washing machine or with a detergent made of the shells substance called saponin. Detergents are available in liguid or powdre form in many countries. Search for a soapnuts detergent in your country so you do not impact the environment with transportation from remote areas. 


Ultimately you can test YOUR OWN MAKING

Home-made detergents are not only the most environmentally friendly option, they are also the most economic solution. Some people are skeptical about their efficacy but I have tried them and they certainly work equally well as their petroleum based counterparts. Heavy soiled laundry and stains need special attention, however, so does washing in conventional detergents.This blog dedicates a section to home-made cleaning products and detergents as well.

So which is the best option?

All of the above options work well. They get your clothes clean. The criteria is also what suits you and what kind of conditions you have (hard water etc). I would suggest you test the option that is more appealing to you. I have tried almost all. Currently I use eco-balls for not so soiled and sweaty laundry (the eco balls save also water and energy since you can shorten the rinse cycle). I combine their use with a home made detergent that gets my laundry clean and has limited impact on the environment.

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