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Make Your Home Greener and More Efficient

Find alternatives to the chemicals you use to wash your clothes

by Jannette Tibbs  |  3243 views  |  2 comments  |       Rate this now! 

Each month, I seem to discover a new way to improve the simplicity of my life. Most of the time, these initiatives end up making my home greener and more efficient, so they are a real plus. It makes very good Feng Shui sense to reduce the amounts of harmful chemicals in your home, as they are considered to be low-level energy that attracts low-level energy. Replacing them with a eco-friendly alternative which has high-level energy will in turn attract more high-level energy, of course.

One easy way to start is by reducing toxic chemicals in your laundry. This one is easy peasy! Just before my first child was born, I switched to a more eco-friendly laundry liquid because I found out that powders generally end up sitting in the material of our clothes and can lead to skin problems (ike eczema and general dermatitis) and can even promote respiratory sensitivity. Later, I found that the sodium laurel sulphate used in most detergents is highly harmful to humans, and so I decided to find a totally safe alternative.

Using Bicarbonate of Soda (also known as washing soda or even baking soda) a washing aid softens the water and naturally deoderises, and white vinegar makes a good fabric-softener substitute. Fabric softeners break the fibres of the materials to make them feel softer, and the perfumes used in them are synthetic. Instead, I use an essential oil like lavender (mixed in with the white vinegar in the rinse spout) for washing my linens, Tea Tree oil for towels, and lemon for whites (which can also help brighten your whites if you hang your washing out in the sun).

The other totally organic product I use now is Soap Nuts. A soap nut is not actually a nut at all, but the outer shell of a fruit (sapindus mukorrosi, or Chinese Soapberry Tree), similar to the lychee. It is used throughout Asia as the way to clean anything. The shell contains natural saponins, which are released when the shells are soaked in water and naturally clean and soften fabrics. A mixture using the saponin can be used for applications around the house too, for doing dishes and cleaning d furniture. Most of the time, when doing laundry, I use soap nuts for the darks and colors, and for the linen and towels. But I also use them for whites if I know I will be hanging it out inside the house because of rain. Everything is cleaned well, and smells like clean water after just using the soap nuts.

The purely environmental benefits of this are that I can use all the rinse water from my washing on the garden without any concern that there may be some chemical that is potentially harmful for my plants. I can even use the rinse on the organic herbs that I use in my cooking! In addition to the economic savings and the lift in vibrational energy of my home, I love the fact that I am doing something that is promoting good health for my family and the earth, too.

About the Author

Jannette operates her own consultancy, and is dedicated to observing and practicing commonsense approaches to good health, in all aspects, and is a passionate advocate of subtle therapies.

Read more by Jannette Tibbs

2 comments so far...

  • Yes, its a problem no matter what age, and I find it possibly the one thing that can be changed in the family's household 'routine' that doesn't impact upon a behaviour. It is just a change of product. Like changing which milk you buy! :) easy.
    Thanks for putting in the details about the SoapNuts, much appreciated.

    The most convincing thing that has kept me motivated towards using greener and organic products is my children's health. They have no skin 'issues', no respriatory problems, and no 'allergies' to foods except for sensitivity to processed sugars and colours etc. That's saying something nowadays! :)

    Glad you liked the article

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Jannette Tibbs on 31st January 2008

  • This is great. Thanks, Jannette! I only recently discovered eco-friendly washing products (when I switched baby to cloth diapies). I have been using Charlie's, which is pretty much just a very high grade washing soda. I don't think most people realize how many chemicals are in conventional detergents. It's a real cocktail. Makes sense that so many kids are having chronic problems with skin issues, huh?

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Diane on 29th January 2008