Oh, the laundry. It’s not my least favorite chore, but it’s not my favorite either. Honestly, my husband and I have a pretty sweet deal going: I let him know that while I don’t mind washing and folding laundry, I really despise putting it away (same goes for the dishes). So he decided to take his husband-ing to the next level and he puts away the laundry. Yes ladies, I’ve got a winner. And yes if you want your man to up his Husband-ing Game, you’ll need to actually tell him how.
Moving right along. When you walk into my minimal-ish house, some things might look a little different. My kitchen counter is (ideally) pretty empty. There aren’t a lot of knick-knacks sitting around. And you may have noticed the odd space-aged contraption in my backyard.
That’s a clothesline. That’s where you can spread your wet clothes out and let the sun do the work. 😉
My laundry routine is minimalish too. You see, we’ve tried to cut out a lot of the unnecessary products things like: dryer sheets, fabric softener, detergent with loads of chemicals and harsh scents. Things that probably seem pretty normal to the average person.
Why a Minimalish Laundry Routine?
First off, the ingredients in most of these products are harmful to our skin, to our environment, and they’re certainly harmful to my nose. Sorry, but all those artificial fragrances give me a killer headache (more on that another day). Like many household cleaners today, laundry care products are not regulated and the ingredients often used are known to be harmful. A great resource for researching ingredients and products is the Environmental Working Group site, found here.
Reducing the amount of ingredients in your products will be beneficial to you and the environment–where do you think all those harmful ingredients go when they leave your washer?!
Wash only when Dirty (save time, money)
I don’t wash every piece of clothing each time it’s worn. That’s right unless it has a stain, is stinky or stretched out from many wears it goes right back into my closet or dresser (underwear gets washed after every wear, but not bras). For stains, as soon as you get home use preferred stain remover and leave on the washer. For stinks, stick your nose in the pits of your shirt. No stink? Don’t wash. And you’ll know when your knit shirt or jeans are stretched too much for wearing. By washing only when dirty, your clothes will last longer and you’ll use less energy. Plus the time you’ll save by not constantly standing over the washer is a plus too.
My Laundry Choices
You can opt for detergent brands that use purposeful ingredients like this one from 7th Generation or this one from Biokleen.
If you’re up for the task, here are the tutorials for my Powdered and Liquid Laundry Detergents. I’ve been using the liquid version for a few years now and love that it makes 3-4 bottles worth of detergent.
To be honest, I still have a bottle of Shout spray in my laundry room. Why? Because I bought it 4+ years ago and don’t want to throw it away. Plus, sometimes I do just want to spray and move on.
Alternatively, I will rub some of the bar soap I use in my detergent recipe right on the stain before washing. The sun is also a great natural bleacher. Line dry anything with a stain and re-wash if necessary. If you can get at the stain pretty quickly a simple rub under warm water with mild soap will remove the stain.
Products ranking high on the Environmental Working Group’s list include: 7th Generation Chlorine-Free Bleach, OxyClean Baby Stain Soaker, Sun and Earth On the Spot Stain Remover (like a Tide pen), BuggyLove Organic No Wash Stain Remover.
My routine includes adding 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide in addition to detergent to the washer. Also, line drying on a sunny day will help naturally brighten whites. To purchase a minimalish product, I recommend the 7th Generation bleach above or Ecover Non-Chlorine Bleach.
Honestly, I never even used this stuff. My fabrics are soft enough for me, but if you absolutely want something and want something minimalish: Use White Vinegar. Yep, I put it right in that fabric softener ball and throw it in the wash. No, your clothes won’t smell like vinegar. This is an effective option that’s cheaper and better for you and the environment.
Again, never used these to begin with. I’m cheap, they weren’t necessary. But now, I use homemade wool dryer balls. I used to carry them in my shop (they’re too time consuming to make and not be crazy expensive). Just google it, they’re easy and will last forever. Every 2-3 loads I add a few drops of essential oils.
Other Minimalish Laundry Tips
- Delicates, sweaters, and cotton t-shirts should be turned inside out to prevent pilling.
- Jeans should be turned inside out to prevent fading (along with other dark fabrics). Don’t wash jeans until they’re actually dirty or stretched out–they’ll last longer.
- On a sunny day, line dry everything then throw in the dryer for 10 minutes to loosen stiff fabric.
- Save your detergent bottles to put homemade detergent in.
- Use essential oils if you must have a scent.
- Keep your lint and use to start your next bonfire.
- Buy in bulk to save money, these ingredients don’t go bad and you know you’ll use them.
- Unless a piece is: delicate, new (fabric dyes can stain other clothes), or really dirty wash colors and whites together.