If you use a commercial brand of laundry detergent, you may want to consider replacing it with a natural laundry soap. Why switch to natural? It's one giant step towards creating a healthy home for you and your family with the added bonus of lowering your impact on the environment!
Laundry detergents are petrochemical based. Commercial detergents contain such toxic chemicals that wreak havoc on aquatic life/lakes, stream and rivers, not to mention our health - from synthetic fragrances that are known to trigger allergies and asthma to those endocrine disruptors like SLS (sodium lauryl sulphate) and NPE (nonylphenol ethoxylate) that can potentially cause cancer or hormonal issues. For more information on the hazards of toxic ingredients in your laundry detergent, please go to http://davidsuzuki.org/issues/health/science/toxics/the-dirt-on-toxic-chemicals-in-household-cleaning-products/
Our laundry soap is a low sudsing powder that cleans well with simple, effective ingredients leaving clothes smelling fresh and feeling soft. It is perfect for septic systems and suitable for top loading washing machines as well as HE front loaders, too.
I use a front loader and have used this formulation in my machine for seven years now. For towels, facecloths and cloth diapers, I recommend using a plain vinegar rinse for boosting the fabric's maximum absorbency and to effectively rinse any lingering residue away. No need for commercial fabric softeners, and no need for chlorine bleach.
And don't forget nature's solar and wind powered dryer - the clothesline! Hanging clothes out to dry helps whiten your whites, too.
Here's a natural, cost effective cleaning tip whether you own a front loading or top loading washing machine:
WASHING MACHINE MAINTENANCE THE NATURAL WAY
For front loaders: Pour 2 cups of vinegar in the detergent receptacle and throw in 1/2 cup of baking soda in the tub. Top loaders: Vinegar and baking soda can be placed directly into the tub. Turn on the machine with the hot water setting and let it run through the complete wash cycle. The vinegar will disinfect, helping kill mildew and mold and help dissolve any residue in the wash tub while the baking soda will clean soap scum and deodorize the machine. Use a cleaning cloth with some water and vinegar to wash inside the lip of the opening of the wash tub, too. Do this every month, and you will have a sparkling "mean, clean washing machine"!
I have a confession. Last winter, I neglected to do a monthly maintenance for, um,
over a month several months. After finally getting around to cleaning it, this is what the water with the vinegar/baking soda cleaner looked like just before my machine drained:
Nasty, isn't it? Moral of the story, don't procrastinate like I did.
Give the tub and seal a wipe down with vinegar after your wash is done. This is even more important with a front loading machine as the lip and seal can hold water and any potential residue. Last, but not least, leave the door (and drawer in the front loader) open to dry thoroughly between washes to prevent mildew buildup and odours.
Happy Green Washing Day!