We are giving away a copy of Planet Home: Conscious Choices for Cleaning & Greening the World You Care About by Jeffrey Hollender with Alexandra Zissu. This comprehensive guide to a green home covers every room of the house and features topics on everything from reading labels and DIY green cleaning to buying a mattress. Check out this excerpt and leave a comment for your chance to win a copy of the book!
Do-It-Yourself Laundry Solutions
You can find Borax (sodium borate, a naturally occurring mineral composed of sodium, boron, oxygen, and water) in the detergent aisle of most grocery stores. Add 1/2 cup of Borax to your regular detergent (liquid or powder) to give it an extra boost. Borax will help to improve the cleaning power, whiten, and remove stains and odors. You can also soak clothes in water with Borax (1 tablespoon per gallon of water) before washing. When using on delicates, add 1/4 cup to your regular detergent instead. Exposure to Borax can be harmful in high amounts, so avoid inhalation and ingestion.
Adding 1/2 cup of baking soda to the usual amount of liquid detergent at the beginning of the wash cycle will improve the cleaning power of your detergent. To help eliminate odors, add 1/2 cup of baking soda during the rinse cycle.
Make your own starch spray by mixing 2 tablespoons non-GMO cornstarch with 2 pints cold water in a spray bottle. Shake well before each use. For laundry starch, stir 1/2 cup cornstarch into 1 cup cold water. Add boiling water (2 quarts for heavy stiffness, 4 quarts for medium stiffness, and 6 quarts for light stiffness). Dip newly washed clothes into starch mix and dry. Sprinkle lightly with warm water and iron as usual.
Boost whitening power naturally by adding 1/2 cup of lemon juice to the rinse cycle. Do not use lemon juice with hydrogen peroxide or chlorine bleach. If lemon isn’t enough, add 1 cup of club soda to your wash as well. For a pleasant scent, add a teaspoon of lemon juice to the wash cycle of any load.
Use washing soda (sodium carbonate, a highly alkaline chemical compound) to help make the switch from conventional detergents to natural soap laundry cleaners. First-time loads should be washed once with 1/3 cup of washing soda only. This will eliminate residues left by other detergents, which may react with soap, causing fabrics to yellow. For all subsequent washes, add 1/3 cup of washing soda to water while the machine is filling. Add clothes and 1 to 1 1/2 cups of natural laundry soap. You can also add 1/4 cup of white vinegar during the rinse cycle to improve cleaning if your water is hard.
Excerpted from Planet Home: Conscious Choices for Cleaning & Greening the World You Care About by Jeffrey Hollender with Alexandra Zissu. Published by Clarkson Potter. Clarkson Potter an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc.
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