Teach About U.S. Blog

Day 7: Laundry day

Day 7: Laundry day

by Clara del Rey -
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Clara del Rey // 25 June 2015 // #GoingGreen #WasteNot

Once I had crossed out from my list all the potentially hazardous home cleaning products and replaced them with a handful of biodegradable and almost edible ingredients, only two more plastic bottles were left in my cabinet: laundry detergent and softener.

Day 7 

Making your own softener from scratch isn't that difficult| (c) Clara del Rey

I was quite skeptical in the beginning, but it was a pleasant surprise when I discovered that vinegar, in spite of its strong smell, really is the best natural softener you can find. If you combine it with a bit of soda and the essential oil of your preference (mine is ylang ylang or perhaps lavender), it leaves a pleasant fragrance on your clothes. If by any chance after using this for a while you need to get back to the industrial, run-of-the-mill softener, you most likely will feel bit overwhelmed by the smell, realizing how strong it actually is. For the actual detergent I use either some washing soda from the drugstore, or simply my grated Castile soap. Also, lately I have discovered these comfy soap nuts that biodegrade completely. According to the Paleohacks blog, soap nuts are

the shell of the fruit that grow on a bush/tree in the lychee family, native to Nepal and India. The best part is that they’re an all-natural, (usually) organic alternative to chemical laundry detergents. They’re totally non-toxic. On top of that, you can also use them in a variety of ways unrelated to washing your clothes.They’re great for babies and for people with chemical sensitivities.

In a nutshell (no pun intended), all you do is put a couple of these shells in a little cloth bag, throw it in your washing machine, and do your laundry. That’s it. Each batch of shells lasts a few loads, so they’re economical as well. When they are no good to use anymore, you can throw them into your compost bin.

You see, even if you’re not into making your own soap and detergent, there are lots and lots of ways to green your laundry.


Clara del Rey, the winner of the travel well MAGAZINE's #WasteNot 30-day challenge , was invited to share her favorite ideas on reducing trash. Clara, a Spanish native, taught in St. Joseph, Missouri (USA), and is now living in Edinburgh, Scotland. Not only does she know both the U.S. and the European perspective on sustainability, but her ideas are creative, unconventional, and yet easy to follow.She is conviced: "I truly think being environmentally conscious starts with reducing your consumption of resources and products. Sometimes I stop, reflect upon people's frantic consumption habits and just think to myself: we are all addicts, in a way, having to buy compulsively insane amounts of disposable, poor quality 'goods'. It makes me wonder how we are losing the ability to create things with our hands or imagination—simple things such as cooking, growing greens and vegetables, or sewing a button. I refuse to represent this mindset."