Tweenie’s Greenies

Week 1: Household Cleaners

Did you know that when you do your laundry, you may be washing them in toxins?  So much for feeling clean and fresh.  The worst part is that depending on what you use for detergent/soap/fabric softener/dryer sheets, you may also putting these toxins next to your skin and even inhaling them.  Some of the ingredients are known to cause cancer, disrupt hormones and cause allergic reactions including respiratory problems and asthma.  Here’s some quick hints on how to be more green in your laundry.  This is for you Cleaver Mama!!


 DO NOT USE/AVOID these ingredients:  chlorine bleaches, surfactants (NPE’s), Artificial fragrance, EDTA, Optical Brighteners, Phenol, Polycarboxylates, Sodium Hydroxide, and dyes. 

TO BE LIGHTLY GREEN IN YOUR LAUNDRYUse a nonchlorine bleach, look for oxygen based or percarbonate bleach as well.  Use a detergent that has no fragrance or dyes.  Try to use an all-in-one detergent with fabric softener (you won’t have to buy 2 items.  This means not as much plastic is being used and money.)  Buy concentrated detergents so you put less of an amount in your wash.  My own personal tip is to not leave your laundry wet in the washer for 3 days because you forgot to switch it to the dryer.  Then you have to wash it again because they stink like dirty wet tennis shoes!  Do it right the first time and save time, water, detergent, and money. 

TO BE BASIC GREEN IN YOUR LAUNDRY:  Buy all natural/green detergents.  Popular brands include Seventh Generation, Ecover, and Sun and Earth.

***DID YOU KNOW that government trade secret laws do not require manufacturers of cleaning products to list all ingredients on the labels of cleaning products?  So be careful, if the container says natural, it may not be.  There are no specific regulations on the words “nontoxic”, “natural” and “organic”.  It can mean different things.  So look for all ingredients to be disclosed so you know what you are getting into.


To whiten: soak clothes overnight in solution of one part hydrogen peroxide to 8 parts cold water, then wash.

To Brighten:  Add 1/2 cup of strained lemon juice to rinse cycle or 1/2 cup baking soda.

To Soften Fabric:  Add 1 tbsp of distilled white vinegar or add 1/4 cup baking soda to rinsing cycle of washer.  (don’t worry, the vinegar smells is gone when it dries.)

To Add Fragrance:  To smell lovely add essential oils to the rinse cycle.  Just a few drops of lavendar, wintergreen, or rosewood will make your clothes smell like a luscious garden!

To Reduce Static Cling: (Try not to use Dryer sheets.  They are made with petroleum products which are suspected to affect all systems of the body, possibly cancer causing) Add 1/4 cup vinegar to wash cycle.

To Treat Stains:  Make paste of 3 tbsp of baking soda and 2 tbsp of water.  Scrub stain with paste. Vinegar works well on whites.

To Clean Your Washing Machine:  Add 1/2 gallon (2L) vinegar and run the whole cycle. Do once a year.