Beyond going without a dryer and using natural washing powders, there’s a few washing rituals that will help to make your laundry a more sustainable place:
+ Have a washing day. Rather than doing little loads all week, it’s a better use of time and resources to wash larger loads all at once. I tend to have a washing day at the start of the week while Ol’s at school, so I don’t spend the time I have with him worrying about the washing, but rather focus on much more important things, like building train tracks…
+ Choose reusables and natural materials. I tend to forgo the cleaning wipes for a few thick cloths and a bit of home made spray, plus I always try to choose wooden scrubbing brushes over plastic ones when it’s time to replace the old ones… I don’t feel so bad throwing an old wooden brush into the bin knowing that it will take about 5 years to biodegrade, over about 500 for a plastic one. One of my favourite sayings in life is that the truth is in the feeling… whether it’s a job that you love, a person you love to spend time with, or just picking a wooden scrubbing brush, it applies to all manner of decisions!
+ Basic cleaning products. Just a little bit of vinegar and bi-carb can solve most cleaning challenges around the home. To naturally clean your washing machine, just pour half a cup of plain vinegar together with a bit of bi carb soda directly in the drum and run an empty wash on the drum clean setting.
+ Laundry soap. Forget the pricey spray bottles; a bar of plain old laundry soap and a bit of elbow grease is all you need to remove most stains from your clothes. I recently picked up a cube of Savon de Marseille – this laundry soap recipe has been working wonders for French women since 1668.. yes that’s more than 350 years!
+ Use less. You actually only need a teaspoon or two of powder for the washing machine (same for the dishwasher), it’s better for your machine and the environment, it also makes your powder last a lot longer and the results are the same. I buy natural washing and dishwashing powder from the bulk store but still use a traditional powder for nappies and sports gear – in times of great need.
+ Take a leaf out of your Nan’s book. One of my fondest memories from my Nanna – apart from the generous roasts that she used to cook with all of the trimmings, is seeing her with a flowery apron on, sweeping the kitchen with a broom, and often muttering thoughts to herself as she worked through problems in her head to the rhythms of the sweeping. Most of the time I’m cleaning when a little one is asleep so choosing the broom over the vacuum is not just a nicer way to clean but also contributes a calmer sense of home overall.
A word on towels. Earlier this year we donated most of our thick heavy towels and replaced them with thinner ones that will dry quicker in the winter time. Muji have some really nice waffle towels on offer, together will a lot of other really nice things for around the home…