After your baby is born you may begin to wonder how anyone so little can produce so much laundry. And while these clothes will likely be some of the dirtiest you've ever seen, you will also want them to come out the cleanest they've ever been. Ironically, the very products you may be using to clean your clothes may be filling them up nasty chemicals that could harm you, your baby, and the environment.
Your laundry pile will expand even before your baby is born as you begin washing her clothes, bedding, and blankets. Here's how to make sure all of your laundry gets green and clean.
One of the biggest culprits in ocean pollution is phosphates, a common ingredient in laundry detergents and some cleaning products. High phosphate levels can kill aquatic life in rivers, streams, and oceans by causing algae blooms that suffocate marine life. Make sure your laundry detergent is phosphate-free.
Green Your Machine
As with dishwashing, be sure to wash full loads of laundry whenever possible to maximize your machine's energy and water efficiency. If you do need to wash a smaller load, adjust your machine's settings as necessary. Also, use the lowest temperature possible to minimize the energy needed to heat water.
If your clothes are not really dirty, you can simply wash them in cold or warm water to remove roughly 45 percent of the dirt. But if 45 percent just won't cut it, you will need to use detergent to get your clothes clean. Steer clear of chemical-laden laundry detergents and opt for an eco-savvy product from Seventh Generation, Ecover, or Planet. Get the most out of your detergent by treating your clothes with these natural laundry boosters.
Fabric softener. Add one-quarter cup of white vinegar during your washing machine's rinse cycle to remove odors and leave clothes soft and fresh.
Stain remover. Soaking clothes in laundry soap for about a half hour before washing is often all you need to remove a stain. But for tough stains (like spit-up or diaper stains), try using a paste made of baking soda and water. Apply to the stain and let stand for one hour before washing.
Use lemon juice and water to remove stains from white clothing. Rub into the stain and let stand for one hour before washing. Hydrogen peroxide can also be used as a bleach alternative to brighten and whiten clothes.
Detergent booster. You can cut down on the amount of laundry detergent you need to use by adding a little baking soda to boost your detergent's cleaning power. If you use a liquid detergent, add one-half cup baking soda at the beginning of the wash. For powdered detergent, add one-half cup baking soda during the rinse cycle.
Starch. Mix one heaping teaspoon of cornstarch with one cup of hot water until the cornstarch is completely dissolved. Pour into a spray bottle and use immediately while ironing clothes.