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Detox Your Laundry Room

Detox Your Laundry Room

Did you know the laundry room might be one of the more toxic areas of your home? Researchers have found that dryer vents can emit more than 25 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) when scented laundry detergent and dryer sheets are used. Fortunately, you can take several steps to ensure your laundry room is healthier and more efficient.

First, avoid hazardous chemicals in laundry detergents. Few of the chemicals in laundry-care products have been thoroughly tested, and some chemicals are still widely used despite tests showing they can be harmful to human health. Although laundry detergent manufacturers aren’t required to disclose all ingredients on labels, most still list ingredients on products or online. Use this handy laundry chemicals chart to look for and avoid the worst offenders.

Instead of using chemical-laden products, choose responsible ones from the list here, or make your own using the recipe below.

Simple Washing Powder:
This simple, homemade detergent is inexpensive to make and free of harmful chemicals.

16 cups baking soda
12 cups washing soda
8 cups grated castile soap
3 tablespoons lavender, lemon or grapefruit essential oil (optional)

Combine baking soda, washing soda and soap flakes. If using, add essential oil and mix with a wire whisk. Use 1/8 cup per load.

Yield: This recipe makes enough powder to last a typical family of four for one year.

Finally, follow some of our tips for a healthier, more efficient laundry room.

• Avoid products with labels that say “warning,” “danger” or “poison.”

• Eliminate the use of fabric softeners by using 1/2 cup of vinegar in the rinse cycle instead.

• Forgo dryer sheets. For fragrance, add a few drops of essential oil to a damp rag and throw it in the dryer with laundry. Use dryer balls (check out the recycled wool ones from EcoSisters) to reduce drying time, wrinkles and static.

• Add baking soda to detergent to naturally brighten colors and eliminate odors.

• Make sure your dryer vents outdoors and clean out the vent periodically.

• Rid the washer of bacteria, soap scum and grease by running a cleaning cycle with white vinegar and hot water.

Read all of our tips for a healthier laundry room.

Read more: Health & Safety, Home, Household Hints, Non-Toxic Cleaning, Uncategorized

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Jessica Kellner

Jessica Kellner is the editor of Natural Home & Garden magazine, a national sustainable home and lifestyle magazine. She is dedicated to helping readers create more sustainable, delightful homes that are in tune with the natural world. She is also the author of Housing Reclaimed: Sustainable Homes for Next to Nothing, published by New Society Publishers in autumn of 2011. Email her at jkellner@naturalhomeandgarden.com.

35 comments

+ add your own
3:50PM PST on Jan 22, 2014

Thanks for sharing.

1:46AM PDT on Mar 18, 2013

Thank you

10:58AM PST on Feb 18, 2013

Thanks

2:24PM PST on Jan 13, 2013

Ok.

4:40AM PDT on May 18, 2012

thanks for sharing

12:03PM PDT on May 15, 2012

Thanks for the info.

12:13AM PST on Feb 29, 2012

thank you

2:35PM PST on Feb 27, 2012

Thanks.

6:50PM PST on Feb 22, 2012

thanks

9:58AM PST on Feb 21, 2012

Dryer sheets can also cause dryer fires and decrease the efficiency of your dryer. The waxy substance on them clogs up the lint trap's screen so air can't be pushed through as easily. If you use dryer sheets you should wash the lint screen regularly with dish soap and hot water to keep it venting properly.

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