‘Tis the season to simplify: get rid of things you aren’t using, and make room for new things (in the form of Christmas or Hanukkah gifts, hopefully!).
This time of year, plenty of local and national organizations are taking donations of winter clothes, canned food, children’s toys, and more. But before you un-hoard your house and toss your leftover belongings in the charity bins, consider washing them—especially clothes.
When you buy laundry-cleaning products, be an eco-savvy consumer. Here’s what you want to look out for:
Look for the keyword “biodegradable,” and make sure it doesn’t contain phosphates (nasty inorganic chemicals that contribute to water pollution and inhibit the growth of organisms when their balance is out of whack).
Toxic, pungent bleach irritates the lungs and the environment. Instead, add a cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide to your wash. For whites, you could instead add ½ cup borax. And for darks, a cup of white vinegar (which locks in dye—think Easter eggs).
A cup of baking soda works in a pinch!
Most of the fabric dryer sheets you can buy contain synthetic chemicals and contribute to landfill waste. Instead, consider investing in a lavender sachet that you can toss in with your laundry as it dries. It’s re-usable and smells naturally great!
And here’s another tip: stay away from dry cleaning if you can.
Dry cleaning methods use chemicals instead of water to clean your things. Those chemicals are not only environmental contaminants, but they have been known to infiltrate the body’s systems and even seep into breast milk. Nasty! The easiest way to avoid dry cleaning chemicals? Buy clothes that don’t need to be dry cleaned.