Figuring out what I wanna be when I grow up.
Oop..I AM grown up...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Let's Talk LAUNDRY

Question: What is the difference between your clean laundry, and my clean laundry?

*Your clean laundry smells good.
My clean laundry smells good.

*Your clean clothes feel soft and snuggly.
My clean clothes feel soft and snuggly.


What if we all stopped using fabric softener when we did our laundry? I imagine right now you're thinking; "what?!? She's crazy! Stop using fabric softener? That's ridiculous! I can't stop using fabric softener--my clothes won't be soft and won't have that "April Fresh" scent!" That, my friends, simply is not true. I'm sniffing the shirt I'm wearing right now, and it smells like "clean clothes." Also, I never put anything on and think; "ow, my clothes feel all rough and scratchy," because they feel soft. The only time my laundry feels a bit stiff is when I hang it out on the line to dry, and it's hot but there isn't a good breeze. And even still, if I put on that stiff shirt, I still don't cringe from the feel of the fabric.

Just imagine if everyone stopped using fabric softener, particularly the liquid kind, how much less crap we'd be pouring into our water system. You know, WATER? That stuff that we need to live???

Don't you think we all have enough chemicals in our lives? Before you write me off as a crazy woman, please read this article about all the crap your favourite fabric softener contains and think about it: "Dangers of Fabric Softener - Airing the Dirty Laundry." Granted, there is a lot of sensationalistic stuff on the internet, but there are some thought-provoking things in this article nonetheless.

Take a moment and read this article as well, it makes some nice, not-in-your-face points, and has big print so you know it's not going to bore you to death with too many convoluted details: "Get Rid of Chemical Fabric Softeners - Protect Yourself And the Environment." What you may like about what they have to say here, is that you can still get soft clothes, but there are some viable, environmentally friendly alternatives. Come on, don't skip over the link--really, I'm a lazy reader myself, and didn't find it long-winded.

"But I can't bear static cling!" you say. Well, have a read here at "Grinning Planet's" website: "Stop Static Cling Without The Toxic Fabric Softener."

Finally, why not get in on the discussion of why fabric softener is bad for the environment HERE.

Why do we need fabric softener? Well, our mothers use(d) it. Our grandmothers used it. We are inundated with commercials about how fresh and wonderful it makes our laundry. However, our planet needs a hug (aw!), and if we could all do just one little thing, what could that one little thing be?
*I hang my clothes, sheets, and towels out on my clothesline every time I wash, as long as it's not raining (but not my underpants, people. The neighbours don't need to see how humongous they are)
*I use energy efficient lightbulbs.
*I use eco-friendly toilet paper and paper towels (yeah, they are GARBAGE, and when I've had the pleasure of using the cottony soft double rolls of toilet paper, they are pure heaven, but geez, who cares? Look what we use toilet paper FOR!)
* I love, love, love my backyard compost heap. I have cut my organic waste in half by turning my rotton vegies into lovely black soil that I'll use on my plants next summer (this stuff takes time)
* I always take my reusable bags when I go for groceries
* I use rechargeable batteries for my digital camera (and I never remember to buy replacement batteries for my kids's toys! Yay Me!)
* I set my air conditioner to come on at 25 degrees C when it's really hot outside
* I try to walk as much as possible to places rather than taking the car
* I use environmentally friendly dish soap

I can do better though! So just do me a favour and give it a try. Your clothes will still smell great, and besides--fabric softener is freaking expensive, and it breaks down the fibres of your clothes faster than if you didn't use it.

Leave me a comment and tell me the huggy snuggy things you do for the planet--it always brightens my day.


  1. for thought, especially the 'damaging to the clothing fibers' point.

    I am impressed. Not only is this blog cynical, jaded, and sarcastic, it is educational and good for my health (in moderation, of recommended by my doctor). Keep up the good work!

    Hey, I am starting to read a book, on recommendation of a close friend, called "Acedia & me", by Kathleen Norris. Given the theme of your blog overall, I thought to share a tiny bit. Feel free to delete this comment, if you feel it is irrelevant. "At its Greek root, the word acedia means the absence of care. The person afflicted by acedia refuses to care or is incapable of doing so. When life becomes too challenging and engagement with others too demanding, acedia offers a kind of spiritual morphine: you know the pain is there, yet can't rouse yourself to give a damn. That it hurts to care is borne out in etymology, for care derives from an Indo-European word meaning 'to cry out', as in a lament. Caring is not passive, but an assertion that no matter how strained and messy our relationships can be, it is worth something to be present, with others, doing our small part. Care is also required for the daily routines that acedia would have us suppress or deny as meaningless repetition or too much bother." Good stuff, no? I've already had many "aha!" moments, and I'm only on the second chapter.

  2. I don't use fabric softener, never have. I use all Earth Friendly cleansers...Compost. Recycle. Reuse. Hardly buy anything new at all...Fans for cool. Sweaters for extra heat. Grow my own if it's possible. Donate. Etc. Etc. It is so important to me...
    Thanks for the info.
    ps. You can use white vinegar in the rinse if you need a softener. Perhaps with towels and jeans...

  3. Okay i won't use fabric softener anymore i don't have a problem with omitting it.
    I always hung my clothes to dry but now i don't have one at this house we are renting.
    I bring my own bags to the store as well!
    Unfortunately here in B.C. they are way behind the times on organic pick ups!! I love how Niagara introduced the food and pet waste garbage cans . We were so faithful with buying compost bags for the dog and cat waste. Compost bags for food and then Ray would line the two green bins with compost paper bags so the poor garbage guy wouldnt get sick by the smelly dog waste! They don't have this here! Imagine green B.C. is so behind the times . And people litter here like crazy! It makes me bonkers !!!!!!!!! So now i have to compost in the yard but you can only do this with veggies not meat and stuff.
    I told my hubby to run for Council here to address the garbage issues!

    Oh and this house has no A/C so it's just fans baby!!

  4. Okay, I won't address the air conditioning. It's my luxury in life - the heat index was 110F today.

    But living where recycling isn't the norm, I pay for a company to pick up my recyclables weekly. I donate all my used or unneeded items. I just built a compost bin out the back. We freeze leftovers and I've started planning meals (in 8 week cycles) so that I'm buying what we need and less goes to waste.

  5. We are a family of 5 and usually only put 1/2 a garbage bag at the curb - that's including one child in diapers! We use (modern)cloth diapers and wipes for the baby full-time. We recycle as much as we can, use eco-friendly products such as light bulbs, detergents. We don't use fabric softener either. Try to buy organic when possible. Reusable containers for packed lunches/outings. I even send reusable napkins for the kids. I know someone who makes adorable ones. The kids picked their own prints. Sometimes it's good to just sit and think about what is being thrown out and try to find an alternative.

  6. I get a rash from any scented laundry stuff, so I avoid it. I have started using Method laundry soap. you onky need 4 pumps of the soap as it is concentrated. So I only have a small container to recycle. I also use the rest of the Method products such as the shower cleaner with eucalyptus and the lavender all purpose spray. They are all really good.

    I try nit to use bleach and use Borax instead.

  7. Thanks everyone! Very interesting, and I like inspiration from other people to give me a kick in the ass too.

    And by the way, I don't think I welcomed you to my blog, Andrea. Great to have you along for the gripe ride!

    Also, welcome to you Nancy! Hooray! The more the merrier! I know about your love for cloth diapers. That's great. I wish I had used them too, but I was so freaked out when my first little guy came along, that I went with the 'norm.'

  8. Lisa, I won't lecture you about air conditioning--I can't stand the humidity. CAN'T STAND IT. You're doing fantastic things though. Surely it makes you feel good?

  9. You go Pam! Fabric softener is a waste of money! You spritz your laundry with lovely scented water anyway, so you won't miss it.

  10. Matt, I think you've gotten to the heart of this entry itself. It truly is about not giving a shit in life. I hate to sound like a hippy (no, wait--I love the 60's, so I don't hate sounding like a hippy), but honestly, if we all care just a little A LOT can be accomplished.
    I'm tired of apathy. I fall into the apathy pit all the time, and it's so easy to just say; "why bother?" and then roll over hugging a bag of chips.

  11. I have not used all that crap in years. Never used fabric softeners or febreese or any scented product. They are so toxic.

    when baby #1 was born 22 years ago I used cloth as with all the kids except lazy.

    We cannot tolerate scents in this house because daughter #1 tongue and throat swell up.

    I use a green laundry soap that has nothing bad, but cannot think of the name.

    As far as paper towel go...I have always done the cleaning the old fashioned way with soap and water, and a rag.

    the only thing you can accuse me of occasionaly is using a bit of bleach in my iron/enameled matter how much borax/or arm and hammer I used it never gets clean! but I am up for ideas on that one.

    Non of these things I have done were for the environment..they were soley to save money and I believe in doing stuff the old fashioned way. If it worked for others it works for me.

    Just like my sunligh bar soap and my washboard.....that thing works wonders...who needs chemicals?

  12. Oh no--don't tell me you do all your laundry on a washboard! Then, truly, you are SUPERWOMAN. I feel exhausted just thinking about it...which reminds me; there's a load of washed clothes that's been sitting in the washer since last night. Sigh.
    I suppose you could try peroxide in your sink??? They sell that in large bleach-sized jugs. Must google this...

  13. Ok, I can say that we do not use fabric softener. I have those funny little balls that you throw in the laundry. I try to recycle as much as I can stuff into my buckets. I do most of my shopping at a grocery store that does not have bags, I throw it all in the back of my car. I have only had a problem with that just this past week when caught in rain storm. No bags and paper flour bags, not a good ending. I am still trying to get the goup off my car. We do not have an airconditioner so the ceiling fans do all the work. I know I could try harder, but I am doing baby steps.

  14. Actually Alaina, that sounds great. Hey, you could be like my dad when I tried to badger him into not using fabric softener:
    Dad: 'what's the matter with fabric softener?"
    me: "it's full of chemicals and perfumes!"
    Dad: shrugs "so, I only use a teaspoon of the stuff."
    me: "yeah, you and everybody else!"


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