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going green and healthy:: with my laundry:: part II

more laundry talk and a giveaway!

The heat wave has moved on and my brain has finally awaked from its heat-induced coma. Man! that heat and humidity just sucked all the life out of me….but storms rumbled through last night bringing sweet relief, better attitudes and a beautiful day.

I've been meaning to get back to the discussion about my pursuit of healthier and greener laundry practices. So finally today I want to share a few more things I've found and I have a giveaway!!

One of the other products I tried from the Gaiam catalog, (which I love) was the Wonder Ball. The Wonder Ball claims that you can eliminate all laundry soap from your wash, which is good for the water supply, good for the environment. And by eliminating laundry soap, you obviously eliminate any chemicals or dyes that might be irritating to your skin. Apparently, there are some petrochemicals and minerals inside the ball that change the surface tension of the water in your machine that make the water "wetter" and allow it to penetrate your clothes fibers and wash more deeply.

Did I lose you on that one? I'm not sure I completely understand it myself.

But here's why I am liking the Wonder Ball: I have to confess that I have not been brave enough to try it sans all detergent. But the other claim it makes is that you can use it with less detergent. So when I ran out of Nellie's Nuggets and had to go back to regular detergent for awhile, I was able to use about one third of the detergent I normally would.  This made everything seem less harsh and perfumey, it was still making my water less chemical-laden and it was saving me money. The wonder ball may seem a bit pricey, but it lasts 3 years or 2000 washes and if you can cut back on the amount of detergent you are using, it would save you money in the long run. So if Nellie's Nuggets or other green laundry detergents are out of your price range or inconvenient to come by, this might be a good option.

The other laundry product that I'm really excited about is for the dryer. When the temperatures start to warm, most of my laundry goes on the clothesline which is the ultimate in saving money, energy and avoiding sticky dryer sheets. But in the winter months (though I've been known to hang out laundry with my mittens on) and for those personal items that I don't like to hang on the laundry line–I am now in love with dryer balls.

06-0598

Two of these little blue-spiked beauties go in with your laundry and work to separate and soften your laundry. This also allows more air to pass through your clothes and speeds up drying time. Once again, I was skeptical, but I was proven wrong. I definitely noticed a difference in length of time it took my clothes to dry. I would estimate they were drying about 25% faster–which ironically is what it claims to do. The other thing I like about the dryer balls is no more dryer sheets which make my clothes feel sticky and slimy–a difference I did not notice until I stopped using them. But what a difference it was! And I also like the fact that when I put just a few things in my dryer–not exactly "green", I know–the dryer balls help to keep things fluffed and moving around instead of all clumping together in the corner–and those few things are dried so quickly.

The dryer balls are inexpensive. And they will last two years–as long as they don't get lost in the same land where socks disappear to. And thankfully, they are made from non-toxic materials because my teething babe really enjoys chewing on those bumpy spikes. And before your children chuck them across the room to see how high they will bounce–they really don't bounce. Oh, and one more thing–they aren't noticeably noisy–at least not to me. And remember, my washer/dryer is in my kitchen, which is in my living room, which is in my bedroom. And I really don't notice it.

They sound good, don't they? Good! Because the lovely people at Nellie's All-Natural (thank you, jackie!) sent me a set to giveaway!! Yippee!

So leave a comment and let me know you're interested and I will draw a name at the end of the week. But do me a favor…would you mind telling me your secret to stain-removal? Do you have a product you love? Or a technique?–besides not letting the stained clothes sit in the laundry bin for a week. Guilty. I'd love to hear it. And if you don't have a secret, no big deal–I have no special secret either.

But did you see those strawberry stains???

********THE WINNER IS: MARYBETH! Send me an email with your address and I'll pop them in the mail!*****

more laundry talk and a giveaway!

The heat wave has moved on and my brain has finally awaked from its heat-induced coma. Man! that heat and humidity just sucked all the life out of me….but storms rumbled through last night bringing sweet relief, better attitudes and a beautiful day.

I've been meaning to get back to the discussion about my pursuit of healthier and greener laundry practices. So finally today I want to share a few more things I've found and I have a giveaway!!

One of the other products I tried from the Gaiam catalog, (which I love) was the Wonder Ball. The Wonder Ball claims that you can eliminate all laundry soap from your wash, which is good for the water supply, good for the environment. And by eliminating laundry soap, you obviously eliminate any chemicals or dyes that might be irritating to your skin. Apparently, there are some petrochemicals and minerals inside the ball that change the surface tension of the water in your machine that make the water "wetter" and allow it to penetrate your clothes fibers and wash more deeply.

Did I lose you on that one? I'm not sure I completely understand it myself.

But here's why I am liking the Wonder Ball: I have to confess that I have not been brave enough to try it sans all detergent. But the other claim it makes is that you can use it with less detergent. So when I ran out of Nellie's Nuggets and had to go back to regular detergent for awhile, I was able to use about one third of the detergent I normally would.  This made everything seem less harsh and perfumey, it was still making my water less chemical-laden and it was saving me money. The wonder ball may seem a bit pricey, but it lasts 3 years or 2000 washes and if you can cut back on the amount of detergent you are using, it would save you money in the long run. So if Nellie's Nuggets or other green laundry detergents are out of your price range or inconvenient to come by, this might be a good option.

The other laundry product that I'm really excited about is for the dryer. When the temperatures start to warm, most of my laundry goes on the clothesline which is the ultimate in saving money, energy and avoiding sticky dryer sheets. But in the winter months (though I've been known to hang out laundry with my mittens on) and for those personal items that I don't like to hang on the laundry line–I am now in love with dryer balls.

06-0598

Two of these little blue-spiked beauties go in with your laundry and work to separate and soften your laundry. This also allows more air to pass through your clothes and speeds up drying time. Once again, I was skeptical, but I was proven wrong. I definitely noticed a difference in length of time it took my clothes to dry. I would estimate they were drying about 25% faster–which ironically is what it claims to do. The other thing I like about the dryer balls is no more dryer sheets which make my clothes feel sticky and slimy–a difference I did not notice until I stopped using them. But what a difference it was! And I also like the fact that when I put just a few things in my dryer–not exactly "green", I know–the dryer balls help to keep things fluffed and moving around instead of all clumping together in the corner–and those few things are dried so quickly.

The dryer balls are inexpensive. And they will last two years–as long as they don't get lost in the same land where socks disappear to. And thankfully, they are made from non-toxic materials because my teething babe really enjoys chewing on those bumpy spikes. And before your children chuck them across the room to see how high they will bounce–they really don't bounce. Oh, and one more thing–they aren't noticeably noisy–at least not to me. And remember, my washer/dryer is in my kitchen, which is in my living room, which is in my bedroom. And I really don't notice it.

They sound good, don't they? Good! Because the lovely people at Nellie's All-Natural (thank you, jackie!) sent me a set to giveaway!! Yippee!

So leave a comment and let me know you're interested and I will draw a name at the end of the week. But do me a favor…would you mind telling me your secret to stain-removal? Do you have a product you love? Or a technique?–besides not letting the stained clothes sit in the laundry bin for a week. Guilty. I'd love to hear it. And if you don't have a secret, no big deal–I have no special secret either.

But did you see those strawberry stains???

********THE WINNER IS: MARYBETH! Send me an email with your address and I'll pop them in the mail!*****

79 comments on “going green and healthy:: with my laundry:: part II”

  1. LOVE your blog, love the green laundry info, and would love the dryer balls! I’ve been meaning to get some for a while now, esp. to help with drying our cloth diaper inserts, but alas, I haven’t gotten around to it.

    And as for stain removal…sorry, no help there. I’m no very diligent getting to stains quickly enough, which isn’t good with two boys 3 and under and another one expected any day now. 🙂 So I’ve appreciated the tips left by others.

    And like I said, I love your blog. 🙂

  2. I use spray & wash or oxiclean for tough stains. A great natural and non-toxic way to clean laundry is to use a couple sprays of Simple Green w/ a few shakes of washing soda. You can also use white vinegar as a softener. I read about this on a cloth diaper website. It works great and is cheap. All my clothes come out clean and fresh.

  3. I have no special way to remove stains except Spray and Wash. I’m a 53 year old grammy to 8 kids ages 16 – 2 1/2 months. I love reading your blog, have no idea how to start my own blog and it would never be as fun to read as yours. I really enjoy reading about your family. My husband and I raised 4 kids and still live in the 5 bedroom 3 bath house. They are all married and live on their own. The farthest one away is 25 minutes. We live in Washington state and anytime there is something on the news about Mt. Rainier blowing up they always film from our town, next to the Eagles hall, because they say we have a chance of getting out in time but we all figure we won’t. The town has grown to a whopping 5,000 people since I moved here in 1975.I’m not competing for the dryer balls–I’m sure there is someone young with a houseful of kids that could use them. I just wanted to let you know how I enjoy reading your blog.Terri

  4. I just use a plain bar of soap (I use Kirk’s Castile) and water to treat stains. It does work best and is the least amount of work if you do it immediately but I can usually get a stain out if it hasn’t sat for months. Use cold water when treating protein based stains (blood, many foods, etc.). For fruit based stains (berries, wine, tomatoes…) pour boiling water through the fabric. Once cooled, you can treat any residual with that bar of soap.

    Also, I’m anal and inspect the clothes coming out of the washer. If I haven’t gotten a stain completely, I don’t put it in the drier (if I’m using it) and I treat the stain with soap again before the garment air dries. If a stain is truly stubborn, I will resort to soaking in a hydrogen peroxide based bleach. Seventh Generation and Ecover both make a liquid all-color bleach and I like those best but I have been known to use Oxyclean on occasion too.

  5. i just add some stain remover or that tide and go pen thing.

    interested in the dryer balls though, as my laundry takes forever to dry at the laundromat.

  6. I also check everything as it leaves the washer and will retreat any stubborn stains at that point. Thanks for the info on the Wonder Ball and the little dryer balls too. For those of us not lucky enough to win the give away could you set us in the right direction for where we can purchase them ourselves? Thank you.

  7. How cool! I’ll have to try those. Our clothes line blew down in a winter storm, but I never really used it anyway. I actually really really hate the smell of line dried clothes. I know. I am crazy and probably th eonly on eon earth who feels that way…

  8. Hi – I am a stain spray gal myself – but just read today that if you wash an item and then let it hang in the sun stains should fade all on their own. The post I read was using it to combat baby food stains. Im willing to try it!

  9. I was on the verge of clicking over to buy these when I read farther to see you were giving some away! Awesome! For stains I pretty much put Stain Stick on everything. I found it in college and got out just about everything and on top of that, I could apply it and then let the clothes sit for a week or two until I got around to washing them, and the stains would still come out. The only thing I can think off hand that it doesn’t work that well on is ink. Well, and tea stains, but nothing takes those out!

  10. i am very interested in the dryer balls. my dryer cycyles seem to take forever no matter what i choose. in the winter it all dries by the wood stove. now, on the line, but sometimes the dryer is necessary.

    i use shout for stains. unless i can get to cold water right away. it’s all tricky.love this pic by the way.

  11. Oxiclean seems to clean my stains out really well. Definitely agree with the “don’t dry it in the dryer if it’s still stained” idea. I also have a suspicion that a good, efficient washing machine does part of the work, too. We have three young children (oldest just turned 5) and stains are a huge part of life!

    So the dryer balls work? I’ve always wondered about those. Worth a try?

  12. just so you know, every single time i do laundry now, married mom of 3, i think of those nuggets. im a bit of a procrastinator so itll take a few more than a few more times ot get around to ordering them but…

    oh so i want these balls. (blush)

    my secret laundry tip: i bring them (stained clothes) to my mother who lives 5 miles away and has always been QUEEN of the laundry. her clothes have ALWAYS SMELLED AND FELT SO CLEAN!

  13. I wish I had a secret to stain removal! With two small children, one who will not wear bibs, I need all the help I can get. My mom swears by Dawn. She uses that stuff for everything. I’ve found the best thing for me is to get it in the wash ASAP (totally guilty of letting it sit.. and sit… ) I love those dryer balls though!

  14. After your last laundry post, I switched over the Nellies and just love it! Now I NEED those dryer balls. 🙂 I just have to share: I took apart the drum and the agitator in my washing machine recently to clean it and I was horrified by the amount of waxy gunk built up in there from liquid detergent and liquid fabric softener. ewww! Anyway…..

    As for stain removal, Well you’d think that having 3 boys would make me the stain removal queen but I am still looking for that magic potion. I do use Zout, or Oxyclean or Hydrogen Peroxide. I have also on occasion needed to use pure acetone and once I used hairspray. It’s amazing the things my boys can get on themselves!

  15. I am so interested in those dryer balls! They sound really cool.

    My Grandmother taught me to wrap my stained item over a pot and put a rubber band around it or hold it tight. Then using a little bit of boiling water with baking soda and dish soap pour the hot water over your stains and continue to do so until removed. I usually switch my item back and forth over the pots and sometimes do a little finger scrubbing of the spot, too. This works with almost anything. But… I have found that sometimes for a really tough stain, I use OxyClean in the water and that gets everything out!

    Goodluck!

  16. Thanks for doing these greener laundry posts! I am slowly, oh so slowly, trying to make good changes to how I do things- especially cleaning and grocery shopping. After my current detergent runs out I’m going to check out your laundry nuggets, they sound excellent!

    I have no great secrets to impart about stains. Like other folks I try to remember to check before I use the dryer and re-treat and wash again if something is really stubborn.

  17. Goodness girl! You are just a wealth of information! I’m going to have to read this three times just to get it all!

    Oh, and did you say giveaway??? Count me in!

  18. Stain removal at my house:

    Blood-pour hydrogen peroxide on the stain ASAP /rinse/pour peroxide again/rinse…even if you can’t wash right away, the blood usually comes out.

    Greasy/oily stains-Dawn dishliquid (I know not green, but better for the environment than throwing away an entire garment.) Just put a dot on the area and rub around with fingers. Alternatively, smoosh corn starch into the greasy area and let sit/vaccuum off or sponge off (you may have to do this a couple of times)

    Other stains-I love Stain Devil stain removers-they work! See http://www.carbona.com/

    Set in stains- Place garment in hottest water it can take/pour in generous amount of Clorox II color safe bleach and let sit, and sit, and sit….I successfully soaked a bunch of hand me down baby garments (that had been in storage for years) back into usefulness.

    Ring around the cuff/collar (caused by sweat) try scrubbing with basic shampoo and scrub brush or use Octagon or Fels Naptha soap-two old time favorites (also useful if you think you’ve gotten into poison oak or ivy-scrub right away.)

    Here’s another neat website:http://www.louisvillecleaning.com/house-cleaning/homemade_cleaners.htm

  19. I use a product called Oxo-Brite. I get it at Whole Foods and it does an amazing job with stains – coffee, grease, anything really.

    I would so love to win your giveaway!

  20. I’m a ‘shout’ gal myself. I just removed some very berry stains from my daughter’s new pink summer dress. I sprayed with shout left it over night washed the next day and NO stains.Love your blog.Rain

  21. Ah, well you know cold water sets stains, right? And we love super-strength Spray and Wash, even the only thing green about it is the color of its bottle. We like Melaleuca detergent, but I’d love to try something new. Well, I’d love for hubby to try something new–he washes and dries the laundry.

  22. I definitely don’t have an all natural secret for stain removal (since I tend to reach for the Zout) but I ordered up some of Nellie’s nuggets, and I can’t wait to try em out. Thanks for the info!

  23. Let’s see, my stain secret is probably just to not worry if my daughter’s clothes are stained. For adult stuff, my only goal is to catch it before the dryer. Sorry, got nothin’ 🙂

  24. I’m trying to go more green, and I’ve very excited to hear about detergent that actually works. My best stain removal secret is for inks stains – spray hairspray on the stain before washing. Works like a charm.

  25. I have no special way to remove stains, infact i’m really crap at it! I just let the kids wear the stained clothes as they are for play. What a bad Mum i am!I’ve heard stories that those wonder balls aren’t really all that good but i’ve not tried them out for myself. I make my own laundry gloop and it seems to do us just fine and is inexpensive to make.I do have a dryer and try not to use it often but in the colder weather when the clothes on the line will just not get dry then i will stick them in there to finish them off. I’m about to make some lavender laundry bags that i can throw in with the clothes to give them a little scent. I find that our clothes can sometimes have a slightly ugh smell since we don’t use any fragrance in our gloop. If i don’t win the dryer balls (which i won’t because i never win) then i may purchase some anyway 🙂

  26. Hi Molly,

    Thank you so much for your tips on laundry. I’ve been trying for a long while to find a better alternative to detergents, even though we fork out for the no-dye, no-perfume, healthy earth variety.

    I’m very intrigued about this Wonder Ball. I’ll have to convince the husband but I’m definitely willing to have a go.

    Thanks again for the info.

  27. I swear by Oxo-Brite now. I do a separate soak in a bucket with hot water and the Oxo-Brite. It’s not harsh on your fabric, is safe for the environment, and works great. And yes, enter me in the drawing. Thanks!

  28. I’m a big believer in the warm water dish soap and fingernails. Actually it can be baking soda and fingernails (and water) too. Mainly it’s the fingernails and something slippery.

  29. I have a great trick-its a book called ‘SPOTLESS’ written by two Australian women,Shannon Lush and Jennifer Fleming.They can get anything out of anything even if it has been sitting there for months! I highly recommend it.Even peanut butter plays a part : ))

  30. i use baking soda, a toothbrush and crossed fingers. if i get desperate, i use a bit of dish soap and let it soak. i also like trader joes version of oxy clean.

    i’m into the nellie nuggets. thanks for the links!

  31. I have a 6 year old boy and I have used a large size bottle of Shout every two weeks for the last 5 years! However, I have recently found that soaking the clothes in the washer with the normal amount of detergent and some OxiClean usually takes out food and grass and mud without having to use the Shout and in cold water. So…basically I fill the washer with cold water, the detergent, and OxiClean say on Monday evening and we add the whites or lights or darks (whichever is the next to be washed) as we use them or take them off; then when the washer is full I run it through it’s cycle. Of course that slows up getting the laundry done and you would have three times as much as I do, so the other thing I do is fill up the washer with the clothes detergent OxiClean and water at night before bed, let it agitate briefly, then let it soak overnight and finish the run in the morning. Actually I was trying to save on heating the water and tried to figure out a way to get things clean in cold water. Granted I have to check them as I pull them out of the washer and use the Shout then if there are still spots so they won’t set in when they’re dried, but really they are mostly clean except for some weird craft paints they use at school. Hope that helps. I have some Nellie’s ordered, thanks.

  32. Evidently making your own detergent isn’t very hard–I’ve been reading recipes online though I haven’t yet found all the ingredients. Typically recipes call for a bar of Fels Naptha, some washing soda, and borax. I’m not sure how green these things are individually–I haven’t dug around yet–but I think I might try it sometime. What’s nice is that greener detergents seem to be coming out all the time, so I no longer have to shell out for pricey 7th generation stuff. Right now I use Ecover fabric softener, but I read someplace white vinegar will work just as well. Perhaps I’ll try that sometime, as well 🙂

  33. Totally inspired by you greener laundry– I am running out of everything at the moment and thinking of switching over and trying some of your suggestions… I use Zout and good old stain stick. I sometimes have to wash twice but as long as I remember not to dry I am usually ok….

  34. I like Oxy Clean spray for stain removal, but I doubt it’s all that green…yikes. Also, I too am guilty of leaving the stains in the dirty clothes too long. On a different note, and completely unrelated. I checked out the Cynthia Rylant book that you have posted in your ‘girls’ reads’ (Let’s Go Home) It is so sweet. I think I must have it to own. When the librarian handed it to me, she said, “you know she grew up here, don’t you?” (in the same little town as the library) I did not know, but I do now. Who would have thunk it? Now we are on a quest to read more of her sweet stories. So, thanks for sharing!

  35. I just ordered some cloth diapers from Kelly’s Closet and she recommends Charlie’s. I’ll let you know after I try it.By the way, I’ve been meaning to e-mail. Do you use cloth diapers? Which ones?

  36. When i read your first post about your detergent I started checking out the website that carries them. I was this close to ordering an indoor clothes line and some reusable dryer sheets. Then I saw those dryer balls. I was concerned about the dryer balls though and the static factor. Does it get rid of the static?

  37. My only laundry trick is to use dish washing soap on greasy/oily stains, takes them right out and occasionally works on acidy stains like berries and tomatoes though less sucessfully.

  38. I know it’s not very green, but I use Shout Ultra Gel for stains…it works so well I’ve been dragging my feet about figuring out how to remove stains more naturally. I don’t think I’ve ever had a stain it couldn’t remove, even ones that I let sit around for a day or two.

  39. thanks for the reviews! i was wondering about the dryer balls. i was thinking about making my own detergent, but the recipes i saw said they needed hot water to really dissolve. i like using cold water, so i found a brand of ‘green’ detergent (at costco) that is concentrated, biodegradable, etc. The smell is more subtle (and lavender) and it’s actually a local brand, so i’m happy with that, now – you barely need any of it for each load.

  40. I’m afraid that I don’t have any good laundry secrets other than that I’m going to try oxygen bleach in the future instead of chlorine (Martha Stewart really pushes it…so why not give it a try?). I’d love a clothesline but know that I’m looking at laundromats for the foreseeable future, so anything that gets the job done faster and more efficiently is really exciting in my book!

    (P.S. Please keep going with the laundry posts — I am really interested! I also know people who make their own laundry detergent and have told me that it’s cheap + green, but I don’t know what the ingredients are.)

  41. we use charlie’s soap for everything- laundry, stain remover, greasy hands, bathrooms- really everything. it works a treat, i can tell you, and super-green.

    (oh, and i also check everything coming out of the washer- unless hubby gets to it first! ha.)

  42. Following your recent post, I tried the Nuggets for the first time yesterday! I’m really pleased about them. Haven’t noticed a real difference yet but I am just happy that it is so much healthier!Regarding stains. I usually deal with it straight away. I use stain spray and let it sit for a while. Wash it with a bit of soap, rinse and dry. Finally it will go in the washing machine when I do a load. Btw, I no longer use the scented sheets in the dryer.. not good at all for textiles.

  43. It is 90% about timing, isn’t it?Also, not putting it in the dryer until the stain is out. A soak for fruit and tomato stains. I can’t give up my Stain Stick (and I do believe the stick works better than the spray, but maybe that’s just me). I also have a bottle of color-safe bleach that I’ve had for at least 5 yrs. I use it on the rare persistent stain.

    Can you tell I think about laundry a bit too much? Reason #24 I love blogs—who else would want to talk laundry? But it is a big part of my life with 3 boys.

    Lastly, I really want the dryer balls. Have been trying to convince my husband to give up the dryer sheets with all their chemicals for years (he grew up with them and notices a difference w/o), and these might do the trick.

    I have to add you might not want your child to put them in his mouth. While 100x better than dryer sheets for the environment in my opinion, the balls are still made of PCV plastic:http://www.treehugger.com/files/2007/09/nellie_dryer_balls.php

  44. does ignoring the stain count? I usually do and somehow they go away or I’m blinded.

    count me in on the freebie! I’m pretty close to putting in an order, but I would love to test it out first and share with friends and family.

  45. no stain secrets from me – i prefer the stain stick by spray and wash (i think!), but would love some other alternative.

    your laundry posts are great – i need to get my act in gear. thankfully, i have a front loader so i can often get by with just a few loads a week.

  46. Hi. I ‘ve never commented here before, but I have to tell you that lava soap will get ANYTHING out. The bar works best, as you can use it to scrub directly on the stain. Oh and the bar lasts forever.Try it!

  47. Do you know if the wonder ball works on cloth diapers? I currently make my own laundry detergent, which is way cheaper than buying from the store, but I still have to buy detergent for washing diapers.

    I’d also really love to try the dryer balls. Anything to cut the drying time down! You’ve also inspired me to set up a clothesline in the backyard!

  48. Oh man — I’m no good in the stain department. Sometimes rubbing the spot with Spray and Wash stain stick before I throw it in the hamper works like a charm, but I haven’t found anything that works on knits. One look at my son will confirm this is the truth….

  49. I use Shout gel. I would like to find something more natural, but it works. I’ve not had as much luck with Spray N Wash or Zout. And you can put it on the spot and then throw the clothes in the hamper for days and it still works. It got strawberry juice out of Elise’s shirt.

    I’ve been wanting some of those dryer balls!

  50. Those dryer balls look intruiging!

    My best stain fighting method is to immediately douse the stain in water and whatever soap is the closest. That almost always gets things out.

    I have Spray and Wash, and it only does a so-so job. However, spray and wash with a pinch of OxiClean on it and rubbed really hard before putting in the washing machine is also a good method.

  51. Sorry I don’t have any words of wisdom on stain removal. I’m looking myself. But thanks for the giveaway! Sounds fun. And thanks too, for the heads up on Nellie’s products – I’ve been using them for several days now. They’re great!

  52. ooooh, I want some of those. I was gonna comment anyway, to tell you that I love Allen’s Naturally for detergent. It’s pricey, but sooooo worth it:) and it lasts FOREVER.

  53. Those sound delightful! I’ve been trying to figure out how to “greenify” my laundry without it turning, well, green. Most places talk about getting a clothes line, but in Oregon where it’s been raining since September, that doesn’t seem oodles of practical.

    Stain removal: guilty of using the Zout. But just the other day I heard something about laying clothes out in the sunlight while still damp . . . ?

  54. my favorite method is actually 2 products…oxy clean, overnight. and, fels naptha soap, known to get out grass stains, blood stains…it’s a little brown bar wrapped in paper that i get from the grocery store. my mom used it when i was a kid. with 5 dirty kids, i dont need any thing else.

  55. so funny. we’re without laundry machines during our renovation. so we took some over to the neighbors. and when i was folding the laundry that came home, i found two funny looking rubber nubbly balls in the basket. i couldn’t imagine what they were – a dog toy!? of course, they were the neighbor’s dryer balls.

    i was skeptical, but with your recommendation, i’ll be getting some when i get the dryer back.

    no good stain removal tips for you. but i’ll be reading here to find one!

    xo.

  56. I like stain removal. I use a bunch of different things, but none of them are “green.” Sorry.

    I use Shout spray. Oxi-Clean spray. Biz with detergent. Oxi-Clean with detergent. Liquid dish detergent. Clorox Bleach Pen for small spots. Borax. Greased Lightning (removed crayon from a white dress shirt). Arm & Hammer Washing Powder (I think that’s what it’s called). I think that’s about it. I don’t currently own all of these items, but have used them in the past at one time or another.

  57. Thanks for your laundry tips, Molly))) I’ve been using Borox laundry powder to freshen up my laundry, I have a 4-year-old and a 13-month-old, so a lot of stains come together with those))) Borox powder comes with a measuring cup and on the box there are instructions on how to prepare the soak for your laundry. I usually pour the powder in + water + the clothes and let it soak for 30 min., then add 7th Generation laundry detergent ( I get it from amazon.com, they have a pretty good deal on it there, and it is a great detergent too!!!) and let the washer do its thing :P)))

  58. Thank you for sharing about this. I had been looking at the dryer balls in the Gaiam catalog, but was hesitant to buy. Now I think I’ll give them a go.

  59. My favorite stain removal tip is for removing red wine over here at Martha Stewart: http://www.marthastewart.com/portal/site/mslo/menuitem.3a0656639de62ad593598e10d373a0a0/?vgnextoid=37c5ce908332f010VgnVCM1000003d370a0aRCRD&autonomy_kw=red%20wine%20stain&rsc=header_1

    It sounds a tad crazy and bothersome, but let me tell you – it works! I had a friend come over and spill red wine all down the front of her white jacket – and my nerdy self was stoked at the prospect of trying out this stain removal technique. The second you pour the boiling water on it (I used a tea kettle) the wine vanishes like magic…so cool. Okay – I’m a SERIOUS nerd….

  60. oh boy, my biggest way to tackle stains? play clothes versus nice clothes. i’m not even kidding.

    and the saddest part is that rule is mostly for myself. i have to change clothes when i come home. so sad, but very true.

    [have a very safe, very fun move!]

  61. I am in need of some stain-removal secrets but my only tip to offer is baby wipes…I am too cheap to buy these Tide to go sticks or whatever, but baby wipes are amazingly good at getting out stains of all sorts. It’s kind of scary since they are supposed to be gentle enough for a baby’s bottom. Don’t try it on ink though, it just makes a bigger ink spot. I’d love to win those dryer balls. You’ve inspired me to set up my drying line outside again, it’s been years since I’ve done this…I don’t really know why it’s taken so long but I guess I’m finally getting out of that new baby funk and back to normal life and I’m so excited to have it back my 3 year old thinks it is the best place to play outside right now. Oh, and I’m off to order some Nelly’s. Thanks!

  62. If I am picked, you don’t even need to pay shipping! I will just come by and get them 🙂 We want to come by anyway and see the new place. We have been awful sick around here though… but we are on the mend and will need to get out and about next week.

    Ummm…. my fix? Eat the strawberries in the buff 🙂

  63. I am probably late for the giveaway, but I wanted to share ideas for getting out stains…I am a stickler about getting clothes clean, so I have gotten quite good at this by now. I do use Spray n Wash, but when it runs out I am done with it for good. I also have the OxoBrite, which seems to do a good job. My favorite process is: rinse the stain in hot water. Add soap to stain and scrub with a toothbrush. You can also add a baking soda paste. Next I microwave or boil some water. Add some white vinegar and a touch of soap. Carefully add garments (kitchen tongs are great) and swish around. Allow to soak for a while, then launder. If it doesn’t come out clean, I agree with a pp, don’t let the garment dry before you try again!!

  64. I use ecover stain remover and L.O.V.E. it! Hydrogen peroxide is the best for blood, but otherwise it’s ecover for us. My local Whole Foods stopped carrying it recently…. I went crazy trying to find it.

  65. for using less detergent, I put in a 1/4th cup of baking soda with each load and I use less than the “1” line in the top of the liquid soap container (so very very little soap). then i put vinegar into the rinse compartment (i have a front loader)…it’s working. clothes are clean, use very little soap and as I hang everything, they are softer. with my three very messy kids, i soak for stains…and sometimes miss a few–so looking for ways to get out mold–so yukky! i do use borax sometimes for stains, and I think it does help, but soaking seems to be the best solution and not using a dryer.

  66. Wow – I am so excited to have found your blog and this post. We are trying to make our rather ineffective dryer last one more year, and these balls may just be the ticket. Sadly, I’m hopeless at removing stains, so I have no secrets to share, but I’m also way past the giveaway deadline, so I’m hoping I can get away with that! 🙂 Great blog!

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