5 Ways to Wash and Freshen Your Clothes Without Chemicals


Laundry day has never been so environmentally-friendly.

One of the sneaky ways you are putting both the environment and your health at risk can be found in none other than the laundry room. Store-bought products are packed with toxic ingredients – some of which are not even noted on the packaging – that irritate the skin and can lead to diseases such as cancer. These five alternatives cover all your laundry needs without much effort, and they take heed to both your skin’s health and your environmental consciousness.


Stain Remover

There are a lot of natural stain removers to choose from, but I prefer hydrogen peroxide for its accessibility and environmental-friendliness as well as for being a panacea of sorts. Hydrogen peroxide has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-mold, and anti-mildew properties, which makes it a wonderful cleaning agent. In addition to cleaning cuts and wounds, it can be used to remove clothing stains. Simply spray the hydrogen peroxide onto the stain, allow it to sit for 10 minutes, and then throw the clothing into the washer. Prior to washing, it may also help to use a toothbrush to scrub the stain while the hydrogen peroxide is sitting.



Adapted from My Healthy Green Family, this detergent recipe mimics the effects of Tide, without the toxic, potentially cancerous ingredients. The soap gets rid of impurities and oils, the washing soda both cleanses and softens, the baking soda removes stains and odors, and the salt prevents fading.


  • 1 bar vegetable-based glycerin soap, grated finely
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup coarse salt

Directions: Grate the bar of soap. It can be scented according to your olfactory preferences, but make sure there are no artificial perfumes. Combine the grated soap with the remaining ingredients and mix until evenly combined. When not using, store in an airtight, glass container. Use in dosages equal to what any regular detergent company recommends.



Instead of using softener, add 1/2 cup of baking soda to the rinse cycle. Baking soda is a natural softener and isn’t less irritable to your skin as are chemical-ridden store-bought brands.

However, if you have the time to put together a more effective and aromatic softener, in a bowl, combine 1/2 cup baking soda with 1/2 cup water. Stir until the baking soda is dissolved. Next add 2 cups of white vinegar, but slowly, as the mixture will foam and rise slightly. Once it has settled, add about 15 drops of your favorite essential oils. Mix thoroughly and store in a glass container. Use the same amount you would if adding normal softener to the laundry.


Wrinkle Releaser/Dryer Sheets

To prevent wrinkles, take 1 teaspoon of the extended softener recipe and mix it with 1 cup of water in a spray bottle. Spray lightly onto wet clothing, just out of the washer, before putting into the dry cycle or hanging to dry.


Dry-Clean-Only Clothing Deodorizer

To remove the stink from clothes that require dry cleaning only, vodka is a handy tool. Simply spray vodka all around the clothing item and let it hang overnight to dry. Vodka has anti-bacterial properties that get rid of the smell, surprisingly without leaving any vestiges of vodka aroma behind.

Images: Gemtek1, Tim Samoff, Kathie Lapcevik, TPapi, Catzkill, Lordelo