Upon entering my laundry room, it looks fairly typical (the cloth diaper pail on the wall isn't as common), but when you check out the shelf of my laundry essentials, it may look a little different than most.
I have to admit, before I started cloth diapering the boys, I really didn't know too much about how to turn my laundry room green. Once I learned about why cloth diapers needed a environmentally-friendly detergent, I started to learn about the environmentally-unfriendly ingredients that were in the detergents I was using (brand-name stuff, cleaned my clothes and smelled good).
Then I learned about why dryer sheets weren't great for me, my clothes, or those of my kids. We live in a dry climate (not the desert, but close enough), and so I thought I was destined to use fabric sheets forever (since I long ago swore off fabric softener).
After learning why the stuff I was using wasn't good, I found some even MORE amazing eco-friendly alternatives. And now I'm hooked. I'll never go back to petrochemical based items again. And as I told a friend recently, I'm actually loving laundry day (regular laundry and diaper laundry!).
So, what do I use?
For detergent, I occasionally use Allen's Naturally. Allen's is a fantastic, bio-degradable, dye and perfume free detergent that is eco-friendly. It is fantastic for diapers and clothes, but if you're like most people, it's nice to have a scent. Nice smelling things are always a little cozier. You can add some vinegar to the rinse cycle scented with an essential oil, but I'm lucky to get the detergent in. More steps take time!
Enter Crunchy Clean. Really, it is eco-friendly detergent heaven. It is available in a regular and diaper friendly version (although the diaper version works well on clothes too) and dozens of wonderful scents. The scents range from fruity to spicy to fresh and clean. There is a scent to please everyone. And it comes in unscented too. As a work-at-home mom, I love that this is actually a homemade product, and I'm a huge fan of supporting small business.
(See the glass jar (I had a jar that fit the 136-load order perfectly!) and reusable containers with powdered detergent? I can't pick one scent, so I have a scent (Linen Breeze) for clothes, and two scents (Baby Bee Clean and Vanilla Insanity) for diapers).
If I need to get out the stinkies, some Bac Out (by BioKleen) or a little vinegar in a Downy Ball (for the rinse cycle) are ideal. And I found a plant based, eco-friendly (and kind to your skin) fabric softener for those times when I wash the sheets - Ecover.
On to drying. Ideally, it'd be great to line dry everything. But I admit, I don't. So the dryer is used. Once I eliminated dryer sheets, I learned about dryer balls. I found some at a big chain store, the plastic, "As Seen on TV" balls. They were priced right, but really didn't work that great. I still had static, and I hated using the plastic things!
I recently discovered Fuzzy Wuzzy Dryer Balls, another handmade product. And I'm in love. These 100% merino wool balls are not only beautiful, but they're natural and work SO much better than those plastic ones I used for months. They even nearly eliminated the static that I was afraid would happen if I didn't use dryer sheets in this semi-arid desert!
My laundry now is not only clean, but smells good, is fluffy dry and everything I'm using is better for my family and the environment.