Doing the laundry and dishes

(22 Posts)
EloiseintheSun Thu 06-Feb-14 09:18:19

Any thoughts, please, about ecological and cheap (want to be as green as possible and on a very tight budget) products, homemade or otherwise, for the laundry and dishwasher?

I sometimes use soap nuts for the laundry (cheap and a large packet does many washes but not so great on stains) but wonder about a conditioner. Vinegar has been suggested but wouldn't that leave an unpleasant smell? Finding Ecover just too pricey right now.

Dish washer is more of a problem - again the Ecover tablets cost a lot but I am worried about the aquifers. We're in a hard water area so I feel that a rinse is pretty necessary.

Any ideas welcome!

treaclesoda Thu 06-Feb-14 09:27:58

vinegar, surprisingly, doesn't leave a smell on the clothes. But if you were worried about the smell, you can make your own fabric softener with 3 parts water, two parts vinegar and one part hair conditioner. You need to boil the water, to make the conditioner dissolve in it. It sounds extravagant to use hair conditioner, but you're diluting it so much that it goes a long way. But obviously it depends on being able to find an affordable hair conditioner that meets the criteria, so I realise this solution might not be perfect.

EloiseintheSun Thu 06-Feb-14 09:32:41

Many thanks for such a quick and practical response, treacle. I'll try the conditioner - I do have Green People conditioner which should fit the bill and can spare it alright because I find it lasts the family a very long time - thanks again.

Helpyourself Thu 06-Feb-14 09:47:27

Don't just look to products, but changes you can make in behaviour- so wash less, wash at a lower temperature, avoid tumble drying- spin and hang out, and fold rather than iron.

Morepeasplease Thu 06-Feb-14 11:32:24

I use half an ecover tablet and it still cleans. Cuts the cost considerably. Very hard water here too. I put a table spoon of soda crystals (£1 a bag) in with the powder(also ecover) and only use the amount of powder suggested for soft water. The clothes seem clean enough (for my standards!!) and I've stopped needing fabric conditioner. The only thing I notice is the washing doesn't really smell of anything when it comes out of the machine, though that's not necessarily a bad thing but I do sort of miss that clean laundry smell (I expect we're better off without the perfume chemicals). I am considering making my own detergent with soda crystals, borax and soap. Not sure how much cheaper this works out or if it's any good though. I am already making my own cleaning spray to clean the bath etc and the results are very impressive.

EloiseintheSun Sat 08-Feb-14 19:06:52

Thank you all very much for your practical ideas. Am going to follow them all over the next weeks.

I sometimes use laundry nuts for the washing cycle but in this very, very hard water area, a conditioner is sadly quite necessary.

I don't think I've ever heard of any alternative to dishwasher tablets. I use ecover tablets but a much cheaper rinse. Again, if anyone can suggest cheaper/green alternatives, I'd be pleased to hear -

Morepeasplease Sat 08-Feb-14 19:22:28

Try looking on the dri pak website. They suggest soda crystals and bicarb instead of dishwasher tablets and white vinegar instead of rinse aid I think. May have to buy these in bulk to be cost effective though.

Morepeasplease Sat 08-Feb-14 19:23:41

Actually I checked and they suggest borax substitute and bicarb for dishwasher.

McFox Sun 09-Feb-14 17:18:59

I use vinegar mixed with some essential oils for a laundry conditioner. Does the job perfectly, keeps your machine clean and everything smells nice smile

Misfitless Sun 09-Feb-14 17:34:29

I am totally new to the ethical living thread..I've only just found it, but you've spurred me on to not buy any more of my usual washing powder.

McFox which essential oils do you find work well, please?

McFox Sun 09-Feb-14 18:23:22

I'm using lime at the moment, but lavender, lemon and orange are all nice too. I just buy a 1 litre bottle of vinegar and put about 20 drops into it, give it a shake and put 1/2 capfuls in a wash (soft water area). Someone else might have a more specific recipe, but that works for me!

EloiseintheSun Fri 14-Feb-14 19:49:10

Dear all - thanks so much for your practical advice Everything being taken on board. McFox - going to put this conditioner together,many thanks and, more, the dri pak website was an eye opening. Thank you!

Fluffycloudland77 Sun 30-Mar-14 09:17:32

None of you use laundry gloop then? I don't add borax to mine.

7ltrs I made in January has lasted me until now and I think I can probably get to at least half way through April.

primigravida Sun 30-Mar-14 09:45:28

Vinegar works perfectly as a rinse aid in the dishwasher. Dishwasher powder is much cheaper than tablets and works as well. Ecover products are great in that you don't need as much as with other brands.

McFox Thu 03-Apr-14 22:20:47

Fluffy cloud I'd never heard of laundry gloop but it sounds really easy to make, thanks for highlighting that. Is it ok for baby clothes etc do you know.

Fluffycloudland77 Thu 03-Apr-14 22:40:42

It's fine for woollens & silks etc but no good on whites.

I use sainsburys white bathroom soap because its cruelty free.

McFox Fri 04-Apr-14 10:34:59

Great thanks smile

MightilyOats Thu 17-Apr-14 13:09:21

You can make a good homemade washing powder from borax (or borax substitute), washing soda, bicarb and grated household soap (or you can use soap flakes to save a job). I used 500g borax sub (£1.29), 1kg washing soda (£1.29), 250g bicarb (64p) and half a box of granny's soap flakes (£1.79 a box I think). You just mix it all together and then you can add essential oils if you want a smell to your laundry. I use 1.5-2 medicine cup fulls per wash and it seems to do the job smile

mrsjavierbardem Wed 02-Jul-14 22:50:29

ooo Mightily oats, where do you get all those ingredients?
Is washing soda the same as 'soda crystals' that look like salt and come in a green pack?
Where do you buy that stuff?

I haven't found a litre of Vinegar anywhere, and the biggest bottles I can find is pickling vinegar.

I have used plain white vinegar as a laundry conditioner and it worked really well and no smell, also it helps clear the limescale out of the machine.

Borax… can you only get that online? Or at boots or somewhere?

Wilkinson's do a very simple white vinegar spray.

Coughle Wed 02-Jul-14 23:17:02

You can use soap nuts in the dishwasher too.

maxismama Mon 28-Jul-14 12:39:52

I've started using eco-friendly, skin friendly and natural EVERYTHING since DS started developing eczema- which DD did not have half as badly when she was wee- but I like nice fresh smelling laundry so the perfume free stuff doesn't really appeal to me. It's a dilemma as I know it's often the perfume that increases skin irritation.

I've started on Ecover laundry powder and so far so good, it's also started replacing all my harsh chemically cleaning products. I use the Big Green Smile website for DS's nappies, nappy cream, toilettries etc and it sells natural laundry solutions including Ecover, but it also sells Method which seems to be similar, and as the offers are often changing I might have to try that too. Gotta keep on top of the budgetting after all.

Does anyone have any experience with Method products?

WastingMyYoungYears Mon 28-Jul-14 12:52:32

I love Method products - I use the washing up liquid, washing liquid, and kitchen or surface spray.

I used to make my own washing powder, but then I freaked out about borax being pretty nasty. Soda crystals are pretty nasty too (they're just sodium hydroxide, a wrong alkali), so be careful if you do use them.

I've bought white vinegar etc in bulk from this website previously:
Summer Naturals

I find that their white vinegar + essential oils (cheap from eBay) make a good fabric conditioner (and you can use it on towels too). Not that you need it if you tumble dry (I know, very non-Eco blush).

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