An Eco-Friendly, Non-Toxic Laundry Room

The laundry room can be one of the most toxic rooms in the house, yet is completely unavoidable. Sigh.

Non-Toxic Laundry

Laundry is not a task that I – or even most people I would venture – enjoy. We still often find ourselves washing and folding massive amounts every week.

This is particularly true for those of us with children who like to dig in the soil and eat with gusto! And even though those sweet cloth diapers drying on the line is something to swoon over. The dirty ones? Not so much.

Luckily there are lots of ways to reduce our impact on the environment and minimize our own exposure to toxic chemicals.

Green and Non-Toxic Laundry Tips

Wash less. The first step to eliminate our trips to the laundry room is to only wash our clothing when necessary. Clothes are not dirty after the first wear, unless we are digging in that aforementioned dirt. Washing our clothing less will keep them looking better for longer.

Wash cold. Only wash when you have a full load and do it with cold water. It is just as effective as warmer temperatures, plus it saves energy, money, and is gentler on clothing. Stained clothing may need a little extra love, but cold water is ideal for every day.

Eco-friendly detergent. Make a switch to a natural detergent and avoid the bleach altogether. Look for something plant-based, biodegradable, and free of fragrance, dyes, brighteners, SLS, to name just a few. Another alternative is to make your own laundry detergent!

Rethink the dryer. For most laundry, the dryer is completely unnecessary. Dark clothes can be hung to dry inside  all year while light clothing, towels, diapers, and sheets love a little time in the sun. When you do have to use the dryer on occasion, try wool dryer balls instead of dryer sheets.

What are your best tips for an eco-friendly, non-toxic laundry routine?


An Eco-Friendly, Non-Toxic Laundry Room — 22 Comments

    • What have you tried already?

      The best option, if it is available, is sunshine.

      Hydrogen peroxide is a really good bleach alternative. Put about 1/2 a cup in the wash. I have had good success using hydrogen peroxide around the house and in the laundry. I would test it first if you use it with anything colorful.

      For anything darker, I would put in 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1/2 to 1 cup of vinegar directly in the wash. Vinegar is great in the rinse cycle also.

      Lemon juice is another good option, just throw in about a cup with the wash. It’s also a stain remover when put directly on the stain.

      Let me know if any of these help!

  1. I have had a chance to express how I feel about laundry time. To be redundant I would like to point to the simple fact, if you stop using detergents this will result in a total elimination of the allergic response to any chemicals even in alled eco-friendly products. This also has a huge impact on the petroleum industry. So the first result you will experience will be the savings and secondly knowing that you are talking a big step in the green effort to save our energy.
    Gerard Sirois

  2. I once forgot to put detergent in my load and only noticed it (from the lack of fragrance) when I was hanging up my clothes. Huh, I guess I really don’t get my clothes that dirty! I think less is more when it comes to laundry. I don’t bother with anything but detergent (usually), line dry, and if I have to use the dryer, don’t bother with dryer sheets. I also find soap nuts are reasonably effective, though they don’t get out stains as well as my usual Seventh Generation.

    • I think most adults don’t need to wash their clothes nearly as often as they do! Aside from that, I plan to try the soap nuts as soon as we run out of what we have now. Then I plan to nail down the best diy recipe I can come up with.

  3. I use vinegar frequently instead of fabric softener. I just started making my own laundry detergent and absolutely love it. I have super duper hard water and for the first time since we lived here my whites are actually whiter than usual. Who knew?? I also use baking soda and or tea tree oil in the wash to help with odor. Our towels get musty smelling and those two things have helped a great deal.

    I found your blog through the blogger comment club– thanks for letting me visit and great topic!

    • Vinegar is truly a miracle worker for all sorts of things! We have really soft water, which means something completely different for washing, cleaning, and drinking. Using tea tree oil is a great tip for any type of water though!

  4. I wash most of my things in cold water and try to line dry. The place we live, don’t allow to have out side cloth lines. So I put them on a foldable cloth line stand in the living room.

    • That’s great! There are so many places that don’t allow outdoor clotheslines, which to me doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but many people can reduce their use of a dryer by drying inside like you do.

  5. I gave up fabric softener a long time ago and use vinegar instead. I do use oxygen bleach by Natural Choices and it really gets stains out if you soak them. It’s a bit gentler than hydrogen peroxide which breaks down natural fibers like cotton, and over time your clothes may wear out sooner.

  6. It’s true hydrogen peroxide breaks down natural fiber of clothes and even
    irritate our skin on hands. I experience it many times, my hands was so dry and sore.
    My friend recommend to me vinegar.It is effective and safe for my hands.
    thanks for the share of your tips here.

  7. Hi! I love this post, and have done many of these options already… But my clothes are just not as soft as they used to be with the drier sheets. While my husband and I won’t go back to that particular chemical spill, we were wondering if there are newer, better options out there. I know Seventh Gen makes drier sheets… Are these any good?

    For most of our clothes, we don’t care, but with a little one on the way, I have the urge to make everything as pillowy soft as possible!


  8. Great tips! We only do cold until we get to the cloth diaper round. It makes a huge difference in the gas bill.

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