I’ve previously written a few Eco Living articles on green laundry and house cleaning tips. Here are a few more eco-friendly tips!
To remove stains and odors:
I like using oxygen based cleaners to remove stains and odors. A couple popular brands are oxiclean and sun oxygen cleaner. Oxygen based cleansers are usually made from sodium percarbonate and/or sodium carbonate. Basically when the powdered cleanser gets wet, it releases oxygen, which helps removes stains and odors. Oxygen based cleaners are a gentle alternative to bleach. It is also usually safe to use on most colored fabrics (but I recommend doing a test patch, since not all fabrics are color fast). I use it on my clothes as well as on my bamboo, hemp, and cotton cloth menstrual pads—it works really well to remove deeply imbedded stains (even stains on white or cream colored, and brightly dyed cloth). To remove stains or odors, fill a sink or bucket with very warm to hot water, add a scoop, and let soak for at least an hour. You can also add a scoop to your regular laundry (add it at the same time you add your laundry detergent) for mild odors and mild stains. Usually it is recommended to use with warm or hot water but personally I always run my machine using cold water, and it works with cold water as well (it just takes a little longer to activate). You can find oxygen based cleaners in the detergent aisle of many stores.
Another method to remove odors and to gently scent clothes:
I just started using this method a couple months ago to remove odors from clothes. As I fill up the washer, I add 1/2 cup of borax to the water, 7-10 drops of an essential oil (please note that not all essential oils can be used, some may not be color safe, or may stain too), and also my laundry cleaner (usually I use soap nuts, but you can use a laundry detergent too). After the washer fills up all the way, I shut off the machine before it starts washing the clothes, and I let it sit for at least 10 minutes (if the clothes have an extremely strong odor, then let it sit for longer, up to an hour). Then I start the machine back up and let it wash as usual. I’ve found that using borax is very effective, and also color safe (most of my clothes are dark or bright colors like red, olive, etc, and it did not affect the colors at all). I had some really musty smelling clothes and blankets that had been in storage, and used this method: it completely eliminated the odor. Some people use borax as a bleach alternative too. Many essential oils and also soap nuts are antibacterial, and the essential oils impact a nice light scent (7-10 drops of essential oil is plenty of essential oil to scent a whole load of clothes, you can use less or omit them if desired). Some essential oils I like using are lavender or lemongrass: my clothes smell very fresh after I use them. You can usually find borax in the laundry section of stores, and essential oils and soap nuts in health food stores or online.
My previous green cleaning Eco Living articles:
Laundry (and also a paper tip too).
Using soap nuts to clean clothes and for house cleansing.
Green house cleaning on a budget.
About The Author:
Li Wong has a B.A. in Environmental Studies (Biology) and a M.S. in Environmental Science and Policy. She has been crafting natural cosmetics and studying aromatherapy and herbalism since 2001, and is currently a student of Jeanne Rose’s Aromatherapy Studies Course. Environmental interests include conservation, botany, ethnobotany (uses of plants by indigenous peoples), mammals, organic standards in cosmetics, urban wildlife issues, environmental education and awareness, and public perception. She is the owner of Earth Alkemie, an all natural, vegetarian skin care and mineral makeup company.