Update note: This page was originally posted on 11/29/12. I have made some changes since then so have changed the page to reflect those improvement.
I am very picky about my laundry. I want it clean, soft and smelling good. I realized that the smell I had come to associate with clean was not really what clean smelled like. After all, real clean smells like bathed-in-sunshine, it doesn’t smell like Gain (which I really loved the smell of).
If you are changing your laundry habits in the search for remedies for environmental sensitivities (allergies, eczema, etc.) you need to be very careful what you use and you need to use it for a while (I’d say 2 weeks, or two – three washings of each item) before you evaluate.
Instead of Detergent: Orange Sunshine is my liquid coconut oil soap. It has extreme cleaning properties. Use only 1 – 2 Tablespoons per wash load. (I rarely use more than 1 T anymore.) Some people use a shaved or shredded bar of Orange Sunshine. It’s just a matter of preference. Use it also as a pre-treater on stains. It will remove most potential stains. We’ve had success with coffee, blood, some grease stains and some who-knows-what stains. Try it. I would love feedback on what works and what doesn’t. (If I never sell another bar or bottle of soap, I plan to keep making this forever for myself and my friends. It’s that good.)
For my own clothes which are not terribly dirty, sometimes sweaty, and spotted usually only with coffee I use 1 T of Orange Sunshine and nothing else.
Purchase Note: Orange Sunshine is available for sale either locally (Myrtle Beach, SC area) or in my Etsy Shop. I am currently changing the shop info because I’ve found a cheaper way to ship it My 16 ounce bottle costs $10 and the 8 ounce pump bottle sells for $6. I often put together deals where you can get a good discount on buying a combinaton package. Aside from the disounted prices i pack it so that you can get the absolute max in product for the cheapest shipping. Until I make the changes in Etsy, ask me about it.
Soap Makers: You can make your own. I have a tutorial here.
Pre-treating potential stains. Use a bar of Orange Sunshine and rub it on the spot or just squirt some liquid Orange Sunshine on it. Then wash as usual. Below is a blanket that my poodle gave birth on. Birthing fluids mixed with blood looked to me like a perfect test of Orange Sunshine so I squirted some on the stain and used nothing else. It cleaned every trace out.
Detergent Booster: I find that a combination of washing soda and peroxide works better than the popular washing soda plus borax. I use about 1/4 cup of each if I need a good booster or if I need to get cat pee out of fabric. By mixing washing soda and peroxide you are making something that essentially the same as Oxi-Clean.
I have tried the popular “make your own” detergents and butters but I think they are a waste. You are adding things you don’t need for every wash. (I’ll be writing another article about that soon but ask me if you’re interested.)
Softener: I can’t abide scratchy clothes so I had to come up with a solution for soft. Fabric softeners (including dryer sheets) are suspected of being a major player in skin problems and environmental sensitivities so you need to be very careful about this. Fortunately it’s easy. Use vinegar and water. If your washer has a softener dispenser fill it with a mix of 1/2 water and 1/2 vinegar. (I mix this a quart at a time and set it on my laundry shelf). If you don’t have a softener dispenser, use a Downy ball with the same half and half mixture. This is your plain old cheap by-the-gallon white vinegar that costs under $4. a gallon. You don’t need to use your organic Braggs ACV for cleaning or rinsing. You can add EOs to this but I find they work better in the dryer.
The vinegar is also good for keeping the machine and the clothes free of any soap residue. It does not leave the clothes smelling like vinegar. As soon as they are dry the smell will be gone. If you hate the smell while they are rinsing, add a couple of drops of Essential Oils to the rinse mix.
The Smell of Clean: If you line dry your clothes, you with the homemaker prize! (The prize is the real smell of clean, the smell of sunshine.) I had an issue with the smell – or lack of it – of the clothes cleaned with the method above. They don’t smell bad, they just don’t smell good. I need for my clothes to smell good. I don’t know why, I just do. The solution is Essential Oils (EOs). First, you must use an oil you know your family can tolerate. If you are trying to eliminate any problems keep this in mind. However, EOs will cause far fewer problems than fragrance oils. EOs are the natural distillations of the plant they are named for. Lavender EO is made from the lavender plant and nothing else. Most reputable EOs (and all of mine) are produced by steam distillation. That’s what you want. Fragrance oils can be made from anything, are synthetic smells and the manufacturer doesn’t have to tell you what’s in them so if there is a problem you won’t even know what chemical precipitated the problem.
Using Essential Oils on “Dryer Sheets”: Your laundry will usually not end up with an identifiable scent (i.e., lavender or tea tree) using this method but it will have a clean and fresh scent and the scent will be somewhat dependant on which oil you use. Put a few drops on your cloth by holding the cloth over the EO bottle and turning the bottle over to make a “blot”. I do this 3 or 4 times on the cloth. I have about half a dozen little cloths (about 4 x 6 in.) that I use as dryer sheets. (I offer essential oils for sale in the scents of my soaps for this purpose and for room sprays, linen sprays & body sprays. They are good quality, reasonably priced, steam distilled oils).
If you are a person who works with essential oils regularly, do this: Any time you are measuring oils wipe your spoon, dropper, bottle, whatever with a scrap of cloth earmarked as your “dryer sheet”. I have about half a dozen little cloths (about 4 x 6 in.) that I use as dryer sheets.
Linen Spray (alternative to Febreze): Linen sprays are marvelous!! Spraying your clothes with a linen spray is another alternative to dryer sheets. I use a linen spray on any clothes that I’ve worn and plan to wear again before laundering. It just makes them feel new. I also love using a linen spray on my bed before making it. Linen sprays, room sprays and body sprays are very similar, varying only slightly in formulation. (They also work like Downy wrinkle reducer) I’m going to give you those recipes as soon as I can. In the meantime, message me if you need them.
I’m old… I’ve tried a lot of things. This is the best laundry system ever. I’m still open though. If you have one I haven’t tried that might be better, by all means let’s talk about. Also if you have an issue that this page doesn’t address… ask.
Happy Cleaning and congratulations on staying as far away from the corporate greed and poison as you can. This is how we change the world!
Be sure to see other testimonials here.