Plastic Free July Day 17

Plastic Free July Day 17: Easy laundry switches | Cellist Goes Green

Laundry is another easy plastic-free switch. 

For laundry detergent you can:

Use soap nuts !  Soap nuts are actually berries that produce natural saponins (which act as a surfactant, to break the surface tension of the water and clean your clothes).  We buy from EcoNuts, and they package the soap nuts in a cardboard box.  If you are super lucky, maybe a bulk store near you carries them.

If you've never used them before, it's really easy.  They come with a little cloth bag, and you stick 4-5 soap nuts inside and throw it in with your wash.  They can be used up to ten times, and it actually costs a lot less than regular detergent.  When the soap nuts are used up, you can throw them in the compost.

Some people also make their own laundry detergent.  You can grate up a bar of soap (I use this soap for washing my dishes, and it can be also used in laundry detergent), and mix it up with some baking soda and washing soda.  If you look on Pinterest, there are a ton of different recipes.

Instead of fabric softener:

Use wool dryer balls.  Dryer balls cut down on the static and the drying time.  You can put a couple of drops of essential oil on them if you miss the scent of dryer sheets, and you'll avoid the synthetic fragrance.

If you need your clothes super soft, you can also put a cup or two of vinegar in the washing machine. 

Instead of bleach:

Use the juice of one or two lemons in with your whites, and wash on hot!

If you aren't familiar with Plastic Free July, take a look at this post.  Basically, it's a month-long challenge to reduce the amount of disposable plastic you use.  It's a great starting point if you just want to give cutting out disposable plastic a try.
My first Plastic Free July was in 2013(!), and this month I'd like to highlight some of the things I do to reduce my plastic use, and some struggles.  Many things are part of my routine at this point (buying in bulk, refusing plastic silverware, etc.), but I am not perfect, and I always find this challenge to be a good time to refocus and look at what trash I am actually producing.