The Simple Life: Truly Free and Clear Laundry

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Although the ground hog has predicted another 6 weeks of Winter (:insert: whine face here), it's never too early to begin Spring cleaning. Clearing the stagnancy of Winter away and making room for goodness to bloom! For many people, that might look like the cliche, "Out with the old, in with the new..." but for me, it's actually quite the opposite. 

As I've committed myself to being more intentional, I find myself taking the time to apply that word to every area of my life, including shopping and even chores. For me, part of being intentional looks like being an educated consumer, and not just taking a company's carefully-constructed communications as truth. In short, I've been questioning everything. (Maybe that makes me a little bit of a conspiracy theorist, I don't know. But at the very least, I do know it makes me a little more like Jesus.)

Unfortunately, a company's ethics does not usually take precedence over making a dollar in our capitalist society. And I've decided that our well-being means more to me than brand loyalty, or continuing to keep a multi-million or even billion-dollar company in business who could care less about the long-term effects of their product ingredients on consumers. 

 

The Simple Life

An area of recent focus for me has been laundry.

I've had conversations with my mother and grandmother as they reminisced about their days doing laundry in Jamaica. They would have to go down to the river to catch water, using washing board, and blue soap, and then hang the clothes outside to dry.

 Photo by: Karen Maes

Photo by: Karen Maes

I have my own memories of Jamaican blue soap, but it's nothing like theirs. (Still, I do know that there's nothing quite like the smell of laundry that's been line dried in the sun, especially whites! Naturally crisp and refreshing!)

Though marked by poverty, life in Jamaica in their time presented a simpler, albeit less convenient, way of life. It taught contentment, a virtue these women continue to exemplify although life has certainly changed for the better. 

The washing machine and dryer was nothing short of a blessing for my mother, it offered a much appreciated convenience. But as we can see with today's many advances in technology and the gadgets that technology births, convenience often brings about a mindlessness that dulls our curiosity. Instead of asking questions, we just accept things for what they are. 

 

Brand Loyalty

Danny and I grew up using two different but very popular brands of laundry detergent. Naturally, we came into our marriage with our separate preferences, but very soon those preferences became dictated by our tight budget, and our brand loyalty went out the window. We just wanted clean clothes!

But thankfully, we're in a place now where we can establish our own family preference.  As we've gone about our questioning and research, we've become more aware and considered more carefully product ingredients. Because, in short, some of the compounds companies use are sometimes harsh and harmful, and at the very least unnecessary. 

 

Laundry Products

Detergent

While many of the leading brands offer "Free and Clear" laundry alternatives in an effort to market themselves as simple or more gentle solutions, especially for those with sensitive skin, a quick search on the ingredients reveals just how many chemicals go into making "free and clear" laundry detergent. (Upwards of 15 different chemical ingredients, and it's even more for their classic laundry detergent counterparts). 

l figured there had to be a better way. 

 Photo by: CF

Photo by: CF

After doing plenty of research, we finally settled on Charlie's Soap. I like that it only has 3 ingredients. Since we've been using it, I've been pleased with the results, but be warned there is no artificial clean fragrance smell. The clean clothes don't have a smell at all, which is actually what it means to be clean, no bad odors. 

I do plan to look into homemade alternatives in the near future, but I'm still doing my research on that. 

We bought ours from Amazon: 

Dryer/Fabric Sheets

Dryer Sheets are chemically treated squares used in the dryer to add fragrance, increase softness, reduce static, and decrease drying time. Here we go with the chemicals again. 

But did you know there is a natural alternative to those chemical sheets? WOOL! 

I recently discovered wool dryer balls. Unlike the 40 dryer sheets you get in a pack, wool balls can last up to 1000 loads of laundry, and sometimes more!

 Photo by: CF

Photo by: CF

Dryer balls work by bouncing around in the dryer where they lift and separate clothes, increasing the flow of hot air. Best of all they don't cause lint, and don't leave behind any kind of chemical film. 

We're currently using: 

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But you could easily make 12 of your own dryer balls for under $20.00. Buy 100% wool yarn, and wind it into a ball, throw it in the washing machine a few times to knit/felt the yarn together, and then BOOM! homemade wool dryer balls. You can even add a couple drops of your favorite essential oils to the balls to give your freshly-cleaned laundry a wonderful, chemical-free scent! 

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I know we're in February, but my sincere wish for people everywhere in 2018, including you dear reader, is that they would prosper and be in good health [mind and body] as their soul [read spirit] prospers (3 John 1:2). And I truly believe a large part of that prospering includes becoming better stewards [practicing contentment] by becoming more educated as consumers [practicing scrutiny]. 

Grace & Peace,

Cara Sig. Transparent.png