How to Clean Without Detergents

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Commercial laundry detergents can contain toxic chemicals that can be harmful to the environment. Surfactant agents are such chemicals that are used in detergents to break down stain particles and clean clothes. Some of these surfactant agents can damage marine life. Research carried out by The Sierra Club has suggested that these agents may play a role in the development of liver and kidney cancers. There are safer ways to clean clothes.

Things You'll Need

  • Soap
  • Baking Soda
  • Vinegar
  • Bio-degradable washing solutions
  • Clean your clothes with standard bath soap. Bath soap is an effective cleaner of natural fabrics and can soften clothes just as well as many supermarket detergents. Not all clothes should be cleaned in the same way, however. Use a mild soap (one with reduced levels of the chemicals found in standard bath soap) mixed with baking soda for items with feathers or down, such as pillows and bedding. Mix protein-based shampoo with mild soap for garments made of wool.

  • Employ baking soda and vinegar as natural alternatives to detergents. Add 1 cup vinegar to the laundry cycle to help clothes retain their color. Add 1 cup baking soda to the washing machine to keep the laundry smelling fresh and help retain softness.

  • Purchase bio-degradable washing solutions instead of laundry detergents. These products are free of phosphates and other damaging chemicals and usually can be purchased from health food or environmental stores. Bio-degradable powders also are fragrance-free and can be used in the same way as normal laundry detergents.

Tips & Warnings

  • Even if you prefer using standard laundry detergents, you can still help preserve energy by washing your clothes in cold water. Hot water is necessary only to remove sever, stubborn stains. Using cold water can preserve energy and save money.
  • Don't use vinegar in combination with bleach when washing clothes. This can produce noxious fumes that can be harmful if inhaled for prolonged periods.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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