Sunday, August 4, 2013

Green Cleaning: Fabric Softener

You may already know this, but I didn't at one time.

I have a lot of "skin allergies"... and am limited in the laundry products I can use.  I buy the "free and clear" detergents with no added fragrance, and commercial fabric softeners, liquid or dryer sheet, are a definite no-no.   I have ended up in the ER with cellulitis because someone put fabric softener in my laundry.

The solution?  White Vinegar.!  For years I jsut added a dollop of white vinegar to the fabric softener holder on my washing machine and all was cool.

Then I bought a front loading washing machine.  Yes it saves water. Yes it spins the clothes dryer.  But what I didn't know before buying was that it really really loves to let mold and mildew flourish.  They even sell special "laundry machine cleaners" to kill mildew spores. 

I'm sorry. I refuse to have to clean my washing machine!   But,  unless I catch the wet clothes *promptly* and get them in the dryer or hung up or whatever... they will start to smell a bit musty if allowed to sit for an hour or so.  And clothes that hung to dry in my bathroom might also not smell like they were just washed.

Bleaching the clothes will fix that.  All well and good if I only wore white clothes. Bleach is NOT a viable solution.

Essential oils to the rescue.  My choice is usually our Fresh Aire synergy, a blend of Himalayan Lavender, Lemon and Bergamot, because I love it, and it leaves everything smelling fresh and.. like fresh air!   But I suspect any essential oil will work. Lemon oil would be fresh and uplifting.  Lavender would be wonderful for sheets and pillowcases.  One friend mentioned adding Cedarwood to her husband's washload, because it smells so masculine.    I add a few drops of the chosen oil or blend, 4 to 6?, to perhaps 2 fl oz (60 ml) of white vinegar.

Pour into the Fabric Softener dispenser, and wash as usual.   

Please note: I used to add those few drops to an old washcloth and toss it into the drier, as you would a commercial dryer sheet.  Someone online recently reminded me of the low flash point of a lot of the essential oils and in the dryer's heat.... why take a chance.    Adding during the wash cycle removes any risk of fire.

Susy homemaker signing off for the day...I have laundry to get out of the washer!

1 comment:

Kathy B. said...

I've been adding essential oils to my wash for quite awhile now, my favorite blend is 4 parts lavender & orange & 5 parts rosemary. I use soapnuts as my cleaner & add put baking powder in the detergent dispenser with a few squirts (very scientific method :)) of the essential oil blend.