My approach to laundry has evolved from a desire to save money and reduce excessive chemical use in our household. I love finding simple housekeeping solutions that are effective, cost-saving, and demonstrate that we do not need most of the things that are advertised to us on television. I also became concerned about the long-term effects of things like fragrances and fabric softeners in our clothing. Our skin is a porous organ that not only expels toxins out of our bodies, but allows us to absorb them in to our bodies as well. I recently received an email about the many uses of Bounce dryer sheets. Mosquito repellent was one of them! If it's so toxic that it will repel bugs, what is it doing to our bodies?
1) So, I started researching fabric softener. Did you know that the best, most cost-effective, natural fabric softener is plain white vinegar? Use vinegar instead of liquid fabric softener in your washing machine and you do not need to use dryer sheets. The vinegar cuts through the soap residue in your clothing that the machine cannot rinse out completely. It is the soap residue and hard water deposits in your water that leaves your clothes stiff without fabric softener. Once the clothes are dry, they do not smell of vinegar. To add further fluffiness to your laundry, add a couple of dryer balls to your dryer. I know you can purchase rubber ones from Norwex, but you can also make them from pure wool. They gently bounce against your fabrics while tumbling and fluff them up. I haven't had any major issues with static cling either using them.
With just a few changes you can save money, reduce your dependence on consumer items, and take back some control over what you choose to use in your household. I had to be careful to maintain some balance though so I wouldn't get overwhelmed. You can even learn how to make your own soap if you want! These are the things I could manage on a full-time work schedule, and even at that, my husband is still a fragrance addict and prefers me to use Tide and dryer sheets on his laundry. So we use what works for us, and I encourage you to find what works for your family too.