Green Washing: Vinegar and Laundry
In more recent years the corporate attempts at using the more prevalent concern over the environment to create “green products” that will supposedly allow us to reverse the crisis of natural destruction. Along with these we have a huge trend toward soaps with a more sustainable composition. These are a preferable alternative to the more traditional industrial cleaning supplies, but any time we can use a fully natural remedy it is a full step toward non-toxic living. When it comes to cleaning clothes there are a lot of classic alternatives, but vinegar is perhaps the best known and most effective.
Before you even wash your clothes you may want to consider applying some vinegar to the clothing themselves. On tough stain spots on garments or linens you can rub a liberal amount of vinegar onto the stain location. Take another piece of cloth and scrub the area thoroughly, trying to get out as much as possible. After this you can run the piece of laundry through your normal washing cycle.
Get Rid of Lint
Vinegar is commonly used to help rid the laundry of accruing lint while drying. At a quarter to half of a cup of vinegar to the final rinsing cycle when washing your clothes and this will assist in repelling lint later. This is an especially good method when using lint-prone fabrics, such as wool or flannel.
Replace Your Detergent
It is not unheard of to use vinegar as the main cleaning agent when washing linens. It tends to clean close to as effectively as most commercial soap brands and it brightens colors substantially. This can make it a great alternative to bleach, which can end up degenerating the fabric of your clothes. Try mixing it up and using a combination of vinegar and laundry detergent.
One of the most difficult kinds of odors to remove from clothing is that of smoke. Whether it is campfire or residue from a near by agricultural burn, this is an offensive smell that can stick around after several washes. Vinegar can be used to remove this smell, but usually not in the washing machine. Try filling up a tub or large sink with very hot water, then add half of a cup to a cup of vinegar. Run a clothes line above the body of hot water and secure your clothing to it. The steam from the water vinegar mix will help to remove the scent.
Clean Your Washing Machine
If you do not want to actually trust your clothes to vinegar you can still rely on it to clean your washing machine. Add a cup of vinegar where you would normally pour your laundry detergent and set the machine to run through a full cycle. You will end up with a fresher and a better running machine.
This post is part of the series: The Green Home
Practical techniques for adding sustainability to the home.