good finds / link love / LIVING WELL

Going green and healthy :: with my laundry :: part 1

it ain't easy being green

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.

Nelly nuggets

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.

Happy Thursday.

it ain't easy being green

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.

Nelly nuggets

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.

Happy Thursday.

36 comments on “Going green and healthy :: with my laundry :: part 1”

  1. I’d love to know if you find a Green DRYER SHEET! My boyfriend is allergic to our kitty and dryer sheets really seem to help with the cat hair… but I can’t find an eco-friendly option!I’m going to have to get some of those nuggets!:)

  2. I am going to have to try those. I am like you, Gain and Downey smell clean to me, I like the fragrance. You never know until you try something though : ) Don’t know about the line drying, I have ALOT of laundry LOLOL The idea of hanging laundry is a nice one though, and the energy savings would be awesome! I may try a load or two : )

  3. We used Tide for a very very long time. I switched this spring. I tried so many brands. We can’t use powders because of skin sensitivities. Mrs. Meyers, Ecover, then Seventh Generation. Ecover had a not-so-fresh smell after a few days. Many people I know use it and love it. (and i love their dish soap) Mrs. Meyers had my poor husband itching like a crazy person after two weeks. Took about three weeks to clear his skin after we stopped using it. Seventh Generation liquid is working really well for us. And one of those companies makes dryer sheets. I know i’ve seen them. By the way, I had a hard time finding good information about green laundry soap when I first started searching. Not a lot of reviews, so I appreciate this post even more!

  4. LOVE this post, and looking forward the its sequels. I’d never heard of Nellie’s. We now use Ecos from Costco which I am really liking, though I wish they made a liquid fabric softener. I have used and liked both Seventh Generation and the Whole Foods 365 brand.

    I line dry March or April through October, though I do lose patience and toss a small load of socks and washcloths in the dryer now and then. Any laundry line tips are also appreciated– I am always tweaking my system, with the addition this summer of a lower line and boys hanging their shorts and t-shirts.

    And I so agree about the earlier generations being so key to understanding how to live more lightly– the things that seem so counter cultural now are just, well, what you did a few decades ago.

  5. Thanks so much for sharing this. I will have to look for these. I’ve noticed, lately, that some of my clothes feel dirtier after washing than before! My boys’ socks, especially. They came out feeling crusty this morning. Very frustrating, to say the least.

  6. Since I live in the house of the allergenic I might give these a try. We use Tide and Bounce Free for the grownups, Dreft for the urchins. A greener solution would be nice.

  7. I have never ever heard of those but now I need to try them! I am addicted to Tide with Frebreeze. I think that is cause I have a 15 year old boy in the house.

  8. I love this post! The photos and the suggestions and the thoughts on the smell of the clothes. I feel the same way about how the clothes smell. I’ll feel encouraged to give this a try!

  9. LOVE it! I’ll have to look for those. I’ve thought about making my own detergent (I love liquid!). I like the whole foods lavender fabric softener (I am addicted to lavender scent). Almost all of our laundry goes out on the line. I have a little hall-tree-cum-laundry-line that Gary made me last year. We use it even in the winter on sunny days. Can’t wait to read your next in this line!

  10. You know, my James always says he’s “itchy” and I’m ashamed to say it never crossed my mind that it might be our detergent.

    I’m going to have to look into those nuggets. I wonder if you can use them in a front loader, HE machine…

    Off to find out. Thanks for the tip!

  11. i totally want to try these.

    with all our allergies,we use cheer free and downy free (the white bottle) and i’ve noticed our clothes feel sticky when i get them out of the wash as well. and lo, I DON’T LIKE STICKY.

    do you use any softeners with these? or no? because i’d really love something where we don’t need to use softener items.

    (and a lot of people don’t realize they are super-allergic to dryer sheets unless they stop using them, which is why we do the liquid stuff but still, i want to get it out of the house as well).

  12. Oh, haven’t tried those! Looks interesting. W

    We use all natural laundry products. I have a lot of allergies, and am very sensitive to fragrance, so we have used the eco-friendly laundry stuff for years. It is funny you mention smell – because whenever I am around someone that uses regular laundry soap and dryer sheets I can literally smell them as soon as they are in the room – it overpowers even hair and body product smells, and I can usually identify the exact type of detergent they use without even getting too close. We have to wash anything we find at a garage/tag sale so many times to get that smell out. Gives me such a headache (not to mention hives).

    We don’t use dryer sheets if we do use the dryer (very allergic to those), but use ecos fabric softener in the wash cycle. Many of the eco-friendly products do in fact use essential oils for scent which can be quite strong, but some are very nice.

    🙂

  13. I am a huge fan of the Nellie’s products. Nellie’s also offers dryerballs instead of dryer sheets. After getting used to using both of these products (laundry nuggets and dryerballs) I cant go back. If I want scent in my laundry, I put essential oils on a wash cloth a throw it in the dryer with my clothes.I went to their new website and they are coming out with new products. They will have a dishwasher nugget and a whitener without bleach.

  14. I love your blog! I bet you wish you had a dollar for everytime you’ve read that:) I am headed over the Nellie’s right now to see about front loader compatablity. I love my clothes line and I showed my hubby the basket you had holding your pins…. THANK YOU!!! I had one of those cloth bags for the pins, but I never knew if I was gonna get a bug or lizard when I reached my hand in there, plus they always ended up being mildewed looking. I’m on a mission to update my line and detergent. Thanks for the motivation! Amy

  15. Can you PLEASE help me with hanging my towels out on the clothes line? They are always crunchy and scratchy. I use Seventh Generation laundry detergent but maybe I need to try Nellie’s (or have you seen those soap nut thingies?) instead.

  16. Fantastic!We shall be ordering these up right away.As always, thanks for sharing 🙂

    P.S. this photo of the clothesline always makes me pine for one of my own, however such a thing is very against the rules here in the burbs. blah!

  17. That laundry blowing in the wind is amazing. Is that your backyard? Thanks for the suggestions! When I finish my costco sized laundry detergent, I will definitely give Nellie’s a try :o)

  18. We use Ecover I use just a couple of spoonfuls and top it up with soda crystals these make it last longer and help with stain removal(very useful for other household jobs) I don’t use any softner at all, you don’t really need it but you can try white vinegar (not the pickling vinegar, the smell dissipates in the wash. I always try to line dry as this makes the washing smell better than any laundry products. Since finding out that optical brightners are what makes those whites white and that they stick to your skin I changed and would not go back. If it is raining I dry the washing in the airing cupboard or over the bath. I don’t know whether you can get Ecover in USA?

  19. Ooohhhh..I love it when people use clotheslines. It’s the first thing my husband got for me when we bought our first house. I use it from early spring to late, late fall. I’m loving the laundry nuggets.. I’ll have to try that since my girls have sensative skin. Absolutely LOVE the picture. I’ve been trying to find a great pic like that for the header of my blog.

  20. I really like your blog and have been reading for awhile….thought I’d leave a comment on this one.I’ve been using Shaklee products and have loved the result…from all purpose cleaning, to windows, to laundry. They pride themselves on being very environmentally friendly…the “greenest” you can find. They are on the web too! Shaklee.comHope this helps!God bless,~Jennifer

  21. This is really interesting. I too, try to be a little greener. I have tried soapnuts and those plastic laundry balls but found the results were not so good. I sometimes buy Ecover powder, I’ll have to try that tip from another commenter about adding soda crystals. I have however, completely stopped using fabric softener, I now use a glug of white vinegar and a few drops of lavender essential oil for fragrance. And the laundry is just as soft, if not softer, than when I used softener!

  22. Oooh! there’s something to get excited about! Unfortunately we have to stick with a major brand because it seems the littlest man comes out in hives with anyhthing else! I used the summer holidasy from school last year to try a few new things and will do the same this year. It means having the time to re wash stuff over and over! There’s something on the market over here called soap nuts, they sound fun!

    Good luck with your move, we’re joining you…moving that is. Somehow i think you will move with calm, style and grace. We will move Tasmanian devil style. http://www.bigbucketgirl.typepad.com shows my issues with movers!

    xxx

  23. Hi Molly, I’m a long time reader of your blog. After I read your post on the nuggets, I ordered 2 packs!! I can’t wait to try them. Thanks for the post!

  24. I’d like to know if you find a dishwasher tablet that doesn’t make all my glasses smell like citrus or lavender–ickk…even the green ones do it. Or if I have found one that actually HAS NO SMELL, the dishes come out dirty.

  25. Mollie,That photo is so amazingly beautiful it made me want to start hanging out my wash to dry. And I love my dryer!Would you mind if I used it on my blog to link to yours? I think it’s lovely.Deb

  26. i will have to find Nellie’s Laundry Nuggets now. we have an extreme case of psoriasis at this house and are always searching for the best perfume and dye “free” product. thanks for sharing.

  27. you just found me actually via flickr so i visited your blog — LOVE it!! and this post is wonderful. we are experience unexplained rash in my 2yr old now (think it was new dryer sheets) and i too come from the school of clean being determined by scent – so reading this was perfect. and i will try the nuggets. what a beautiful blog 🙂 ciao!

  28. The furthest I’ve gone green with laundry is to use Melaleuca’s laundry detergent. I’m not sure how green it truly is, though.

  29. When my husband and I moved in together, back in the day, I *thought* that I was a green-inclined kind of gal, but not as much as my hubby was. I fought him on many things, like buying eco-friendly cleaning products and paper products, because they were so much more expensive. He won out, and I’m glad that he did. We pretty much use all eco friendly surface cleaners and detergents. I’ve since realized how sensitive I am to other cleaners. Now when I walk down cleaning aisle at the grocery store, or a public bathroom that’s just been cleaned, I literally get a headache instantaneously from the fumes. “Clean” should definitely not induce sickness or rashes, and that’s what’s sold me again and again! Good for you for making small changes 🙂

  30. Oh, I’m going to have to try those out! I’m tired of the giant Tide, nasty chemical thing in our house too. What I’m really looking forward to is checking out the laundry line. We’ve got one, but our clothes always come back in stiff, so I haven’t switched yet. But I’m all set to convert, once I figure out the kinks. 🙂

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