Category
Dr. Bronner's Products

Green Laundry Care With Dr. Bronner’s

Profoundly grateful. Every time I load my washer, I feel it. I am so very, very appreciative for all the people whose ingenuity and curiosity led to the invention of the modern-day washing machine.

The whole process of washing my clothes takes roughly 5 active minutes of my time. I realize when I add in “thinking about the laundry,” “getting distracted while doing the laundry,” and “rewashing the laundry because I left it wet in the washer for a week,” then the process gets longer. But as far as my active participation in one load, there’s just a couple minutes to start it and a few minutes to hang clothes to dry or transfer to the dryer. As of yet, there’s no automated way to fold the laundry and put it away so we’re still pretty much just as mechanical as our 19th century counterparts. And while I am missing out on the cardio and muscle-toning aspects of washing king-sized bedsheets by hand, I can start a load while the coffee is brewing and feel productive while reading the morning paper.

If I had a pie chart of how I use the most Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds in my home, the greatest wedge would be laundry. Not because I use a lot per load, but rather because I do a lot of laundry. With five humans, two cats, one dog, and acres of dirt, that’s to be expected.

My laundry cabinet has both Sal Suds and Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap, but I reach for Sal Suds more often because it’s a bit tougher on stains and more effective in my hard water. I got started using Sal Suds on my clothes not because my dad invented it (sorry, Pop), but because as I learned about problematic ingredients in cleaning products, I realized that any of them left on fabrics in the wash were going to spend a whole lot of time in contact with my skin, and my family’s skin. That adds up to a lot of exposure. In the video, I go into greater detail about these ingredients, but the end result was my wanting “clean” laundry cleaners, which the Pure-Castile soap and Sal Suds are.

My laundry regimen

It’s pretty is simple. For clothing, I use about 2-3 Tbsp. (30-45 mL) of Sal Suds or 1/3-1/2 c. (80-120 mL) of Pure-Castile Liquid soap for each large load in my regular washer. When I’m washing something grubbier, like towels, I might throw in a ½ c. (120 mL) of baking soda and with the Castile, because I have hard water, I’ll add 1 cup (240 mL) of vinegar to the rinse water via the fabric softener compartment. For an HE washing machine, halve these amounts. Both the Sal Suds and Castile soap biodegrade readily and are safe for septic and greywater systems.

For the inevitable ketchup/grass/last night’s dinner on clothing, I pre-treat the stain by dabbing a small amount of Sal Suds directly on to it before washing. For broader stains, like ring-around-the-collar, I spray them with my Sal Suds All-Purpose Spray.

That’s it. I feel I should apologize for being so simple, but my laundry comes clean, the colors stay vibrantly in place, and my clothes don’t wear down unduly. I’m good with that.

Then comes the drying

Drying our clothes is probably the single harshest thing we do to them, or at least it is once we’re old enough to find that sliding on our knees on asphalt is no longer fun. The dryer shortens the life-span of our clothes, not to mention takes a tremendous amount of energy. Air-drying clothes is best for the clothes, best for your energy bills, and best for the environment.

All this talk about laundry is part of what I rather recently realized are the three foundational pillars of my house: bed, laundry, and dishes. These three tasks control my productivity, my house’s order, and my peace of mind. When my day rolls out in front of me each morning, with its roughly 1202 undone tasks, I get overwhelmed and don’t know where to start.  I am a naturally indecisive person – or as I prefer to say, someone who can see the value in many different possibilities. It’s paralyzing. Now I have a starting place. Make my bed, start the laundry, load the dishwasher.

Here’s why. If I do bed/laundry/dishes, then everything else falls into place, or at least it seems to, which is good enough for me. If I neglect bed/laundry/dishes and start elsewhere, then nothing seems done anywhere, regardless of what I might accomplish. At the end of the day, it looks like all I did was lay around.

I’m past the days when life seemed composed entirely of one giant pile of dirty laundry, like some sort of domestic haystack, with kids of varying sizes sliding down it. I don’t mind doing the laundry, but am far happier to have the time with the kids.

Download Now!

Sal Suds Cheat Sheet

Sal Suds, Sal Suds, How do I love thee?

DOWNLOAD

Download Now!

Castile Soap Cheat Sheet

Dilute! Dilute! OK! But how much? Print this guide!

DOWNLOAD

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Lisa says:

Hi, I’ve been using a brand of laundry detergent that I thought was eco-friendly, but it turns out that it’s actually not. I already use the castile soap for other things, so I thought I should try it with laundry. I have a small, top-loading with agitator, apartment-size washer, definitely older ad not HE, and I have hard water. With my old laundry detergent, I would always add a bit of baking soda and vinegar for their amazing properties. I will either use the Sal Suds soap or the baby unscented soap to wash my clothes now; however, I saw an article on your website about not combining castile soap and vinegar, but in this article it says you can? Is that only because it says to add the vinegar to the fabric softener compartment? My washing machine does not have one of those. Is there any way I can use castile soap for my laundry and still use baking soda and vinegar with it? Thank you! 🙂

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Lisa – Yes, as you deduced, the vinegar works here because it is released in a later stage of the washing after the soap is functionally used up. In a machine without a fabric softener compartment, I have heard others recommend the Downy balls that you fill with the vinegar. I haven’t tried them myself, but somehow they’re supposed to release at the end. My guess is that the spinning in the final stages opens them up.

Gina says:

Hello! Do I add the Sal Suds and baking soda directly into the top loader or in the soap dispensing tray?
Thank you.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Gina- It’s great that you’re giving Sal Suds a try in your laundry! Sal Suds can go in the dispensing tray as its your detergent and then sprinkle the baking soda directly onto the fabrics.

Brianna says:

What kind of vinegar do you use? White vinegar? Does it matter? Also, I have a very small laundry machine that can’t do large loads. How much should I decrease the amount liquid Castile soap for a load?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Brianna- For laundry, use plain old distilled white vinegar. It’s cheap and effective. Do you know how much water your washing machine uses per load? An HE washing machine uses about 12 gallons per load. If your machine is in that range, I would start with the same amount of Castile Soap – that is about 1/4 cup – and scale down to 2 Tbsp. if your washer uses 6 gallons, and so on. Let me know how that goes.

Nancy says:

Is one of the products better for whitening old faded white clothes?

Thank you!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Nancy- Sal Suds is best for tackling dingy laundry. Consider adding a booster as well. Normally I go with baking soda, which is the mildest of the options. However, if you have a pretty dingy load, you might want to up it to Washing Soda, which is sodium carbonate. It is a higher pH, so it is harsher on fabrics and can reduce their longevity, so it is not something I use regularly. Follow the amount recommended on the box.

John says:

I had to buy a new washing machine a few months ago, changing from the old water guzzler to a HE, and was worried sals would not work in the HE due to the lack of any specific reviews. I am happy to say that sals DOES work in a top load Maytag MVW6200KW without oversudsing and without any buildup. 1.5 tbs in regular loads and 2-2.5tbs in any deep fill loads (towels, sheets, heavy soil). This is my experience in about 3 months and about 50 loads.

Lisa Bronner says:

Excellent! Thanks so much for sharing, John! I’m sure your comment here will be helpful to others. Would you mind if I shared it on my Facebook page?

John says:

You may want to add for more information. I am on unsoftened well water at about 14 grain hardness, and do not use any fabric softeners.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi John- Great to hear that Sal Suds is doing great even under those extreme conditions!

Stephen Osterday says:

OK, you’ve got me using Sal Suds on my laundry and everything else. (Almost) My question is about your suggestion to use Baking Soda with the laundry. Can I use Borax instead? Can I use Oxiclean instead? If so, which one would be preferred and how much in an HE washer? In my mind I’m thinking Borax, but I need an expert opinion. Thank you, and your Dad for some great products!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Stephen- That’s great! I’m glad Sal Suds is working so well for you! When it comes to laundry boosters, I like to start with the mildest option and intensify as necessary. I choose not to use Borax ever because it’s a skin irritant and any left of fabrics could be problematic. It would also wear down fabrics more quickly than a gentler option. Oxyclean is often sodium percarbonate which disassociates in water to sodium carbonate (washing soda) and hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is pretty unstable, and the alkalinity of Sal Suds would just break it down. It would be a waste. Baking soda is affordable, available in larger bulk, and a little gentler on fabrics than other options which makes it a win for me. Use 1/4 cup in an HE washing machine.

Laundress says:

I noticed you said you use castille soap OR sal suds. Is there any benefit or harm to using them together?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi there- Both are effective cleaners all on their own, so it’s completely unnecessary (and also more costly). Chemically speaking, though, there are no adverse effects.

Aubrey says:

Hi, We are on a well and our water is very soft. Often times our clothes/towels don’t smell clean no matter what natural detergent we use. Any recommendations ?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Aubrey – With very soft water, sometimes products don’t rinse off as fully. If you’re not already, try using vinegar as a rinse-aid. Add it to the fabric softener compartment. The acid helps lift soap residues in hard water.

ABOUT / CONTACT

Lisa Bronner

Green means life. “Going Green” is living in such a way to promote vitality and vibrancy in every sphere of life. Grab an idea to make your days healthier, simpler, and more beautiful at their core.

Print Now!

Sal Suds Cheat Sheet

Sal Suds, Sal Suds, How do I love thee?

DOWNLOAD

Print Now!

Castile Soap Cheat Sheet

Dilute! Dilute! OK! But how much? Print this guide!

DOWNLOAD