After Elizabeth was born, and I had a new set of sensitive skin in my house, I knew that I wanted to begin to address something that I'd been thinking about for quite awhile–a greener and healthier approach to doing laundry. Not only did I want to try to find some laundry detergents and products that were safer and gentler–free of all kinds of chemicals and dyes, I wanted to find ways to make my laundry more efficient, cost-effective, and in the end, perhaps a little more "green".
So let's start with the healthy part. One of the main reasons, as silly as it may sound, that I shy away from natural, free of everything cleaners is because I'm addicted to the smell of clean. I know it sounds silly, but that is how I judge how clean something is, by how it smells. If my clothes don't come out of the washing machine and dryer smelling like Tide Mountain Breeze and Bounce Outdoor Fresh, I think they must not be really clean.
But once I started using some of these products, my perspective on what clean really is, changed.
I have to admit, that I was very skeptical of these green cleaning products. For starters, I feared that they wouldn't do the job as well as their chemical, full-of-everything counterparts. But I was wrong. The first product that I tried was Nellie's Laundry Nuggets. They are pre-measured hypo allergenic laundry nuggets that you drop into your wash–no measuring required. I love the no measuring, no waste part because I always get a little fidgety about how much to put in–is this a full load? a medium load? do I really need THAT much soap? What's the minimum amount of soap I can get away with using? So, these little nuggets were really exciting to me. I know, I know I get excited about simple things.
My only critique of the nuggets–some of them broke open and I had to measure how much was in each one in order to use up the loose powder at the bottom of the bucket. No biggie, but when the selling factor is the little pre-packaged cuteness, measuring isn't as exciting.
So the bottom line? I love the nuggets. I'm a convert. I've discovered that clean can be a smell–Nellie's Nuggets do have a mild fragrance–but clean is also the way my laundry feels. I wouldn't have believed it, until I tried it, but the first thing I noticed is how soft my clothes feel. They feel awesome. When I ran out of Nellie's Nuggets and started using Tide again, I was shocked at how scratchy and grimy my clothes felt when they came out of the wash–they felt like they had a residue or film on them. The didn't feel soft and fresh and new or clean. I was honestly shocked by the difference. And that difference sold me. Oh, and couple that with the fact that Mary and Dan both started having fits of itching once I switched back to Tide. Mary was in tears some days because she felt itchy all over her body. I can only believe it had something to do with the switch back to our old detergent. **edited to add: Nellie's Nuggets are front-load, HE compatible.**
And for the record, no, I don't work for Nellie's. I'm just one of those people who love sharing new, good finds.
And I still have a few more finds to share with you on my journey to cleaner, healthier, green laundry. I'll share them with you here, in the next few days. **edited to add: for those of you asking, I'll be talking about one more laundry wash product and then two dryer products.** Followed by a few laundry line tips I've "inherited" from my grandmother. Because I truly believe that we should look to the habits and practices of that generation to see what living green and living healthy should really look like.