Laundry detergent doesn’t just clean your clothes, it also harms your lungs.
A University of Washington study found that the essential cleaning product emitted dozens of different chemicals.
All 6 top-selling laundry products tested included at least one ingredient regulated as toxic or hazardous under federal laws. 5 of the products even contained well-known carcinogenic chemicals (1).
Additionally, these products also emitted nearly 100 volatile organic compounds that evaporate as your clothes dry. None of these compounds were listed on the label of the detergent (2).
Ingredients to look out for included acetone, limonene, acetaldehyde, chloromethane , 1,4-dioxane and fragrance. These are nearly all present in most conventional detergents.
Why Use White Vinegar for Laundry
It may seem unconventional, but it’ll revolutionize the way you clean!
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1. It Removes Stains
White vinegar is just acidic enough to break down sweat stains and deodorant residue. To make your whites crisp gain, soak your stained clothes in 1 cup of vinegar and 2 cups of warm water for 20 minutes (3).
Gently squeeze out the liquid from the garments and lay them flat on an old towel. Make a paste from 1/2 cup baking soda,1 tablespoon salt, and 1 tablespoon hydrogen peroxide. Apply the paste to the stains and let it sit for 20 minutes. Wash your clothes as usual and wear them proudly!
For red wine, coffee, and grease stains, simply soak the clothes in 1 cup of vinegar and 2 cups of hot water overnight before washing.
2. Softens Clothes
Vinegar acts as a natural fabric softener that will also fight static shock. To use, add ½ cup of vinegar to your rinse cycle (3). Don’t fret, the vinegar won’t make your clothes stink, but you can add a few drop of essential oils if you’d like to give your laundry a nice, fresh smell.
3. It Fights Odors
Vinegar kills the bacteria that cause the smelly odors that stick to your gym clothes. You can increase this effect by adding a few drops of antibacterial grapefruit, rosemary or tea tree essential oil (4).
If you have very funky body odor or if you suspect that your clothes have been exposed to mold or mildew, add 2 teaspoons of salt and 1/2 cup white vinegar to the wash cycle along with your natural detergent (5).
4. It Repels Pet Hair
Regular laundry detergent leaves residue on your clothes. This explains why your clothing smells like detergent for weeks after being washed. Unfortunately, it’s sticky enough to attract pet hair and hold onto them tightly. Vinegar, however, strips away this residue, so adding a bit to your wash cycle it’ll attract less pet hair than regular detergent-washed clothes.
Since this residue also causes skin irritation, using vinegar with natural detergent is beneficial for your skin too!
5. It Protects Your Delicates
Contrary to popular belief: vinegar IS gentle enough to use on your delicate fabrics. Simply soak hand-wash items in six tablespoons of white vinegar with 3-4 cups of cold water for an hour. Add a bit of Castille soap and scrub your clothes for a few minutes. Rinse and dry and your delicates will be clean as new!
Simply soak hand-wash items in six tablespoons of white vinegar with 3-4 cups of cold water for an hour. Add a bit of Castille soap and scrub your clothes for a few minutes. Rinse and dry and your delicates will be clean as new!
Bonus: Use vinegar to descale your machine by running a hot water cycle with a cup of white vinegar. Let the inside of your machine air-dry before using it again.
You can also use vinegar to clean the rubber rings inside your machine before descaling. Find out how here.
DIY Vinegar Detergent
If you’re ready to ditch the cancer-causing stuff, make your own non-toxic detergent. All you need is a little vinegar, baking soda, borax, and Castille soap.
- 1 1/4 cups white vinegar
- 1 cup baking soda
- 1 cup washing soda
- 1 cup borax
- 1/4 cup liquid Castile soap
- Essential oil of your choice (per taste)
- Place the vinegar in a large glass bowl and add each dry ingredient little by little as you mix with a wooden spoon. Try to break up any clumps that may form as you stir.
- Add the liquid soap last and stir. If you are using essential oils, add them at this time.
- The mixture will look like a paste at first, and will start to resemble powdered detergent as you stir. Keep stirring until you end up will a soft loaf. If you stop stirring too early, the mixture will get hard and you won’t be able to use it.
- Store in a large non-metallic container with a lid and crumble pieces off to use. You’ll need about ¼ cup per regular-sized load.