19: Softly, softly, plastic-free!

white textile

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

Today the sun is shining, there’s a gentle breeze in the air, and it’s a perfect day to get some washing out on the line (I know – I should really get out more!).

I recently swapped my laundry liquid for washing powder in a cardboard box (a little less plastic), but nowhere on my local supermarket shelves could I find fabric softener that wasn’t in a plastic bottle. I live in a very hard water area, and if I don’t use some kind of softening agent in the washing machine, we end up looking like cardboard cut-outs in our clothes.

According to the Plastic Free July website, you can use white vinegar instead of fabric softener in the washing machine. Really?…surely not. Unless you want to smell like you work in a fish and chip shop. Well, I ran out of fabric softener yesterday and duly put the plastic bottle in the recycling bin. What have I got to lose? And there’s all those sheets to wash.

I can now report that I have just done my first wash with white vinegar in that little compartment where the fabric softener liquid usually goes. You only need a capful…..and it works! Not only do my sheets smell fresh (not a whiff of chips about them!) but the white vinegar is descaling my washing machine at the same time. It goes without saying that you will buy white vinegar in glass bottles and not plastic ones. Most supermarkets stock it as well as some hardware stores.

As a bonus, white vinegar is not usually tested on animals (unlike a lot of fabric conditioners), perfectly fine for vegans and vegetarians to use, and is great for people with sensitive skin. AND it’s a whole lot cheaper than fabric softener to boot….although don’t put your boots in the washing machne. I learnt my lesson.

Advertisements

9: Let’s air that dirty washing…

This one is really short and simple, and will probably save you money at the same time.

In my continuing hunt for the unnecessary plastic items in my house, I realised that I had been buying laundry liquid in plastic bottles. I can’t remember when I switched from washing powder, but it was ages ago; no doubt because I had been convinced that it was somehow more practical or did the job better. Neither of those things are really true, especially with modern powders that you can even use at low temperatures, so the ads had me fooled. Those naughty tykes in the advertising industry are very clever!

Firstly, my washing is no cleaner using liquid than it is when I use powder. (I checked)
Secondly, powder is far more practical because I can never get that last little bit out of the plastic bottle but I can scoop every last bit of powder out of the box, so it lasts longer.
Thirdly, powder usually comes in a cardboard box, which I can then recycle easily.
Fourthly, washing powder (especially if it’s a supermarket own-brand) is much, much cheaper than laundry liquid so I actually save money.
Fifthly……I can’t actually think of another reason. I just wanted to type ‘fifthly’ because I’d never done it before.

So, I switched back to washing powder a few months ago, and my laundry is doing just fine. Next I need to find fabric conditioner that doesn’t come in plastic bottles. I shall post ¬†on that after some more research.

Oh, and while we’re at it, don’t forget to buy wooden pegs instead of plastic ones the next time you need some. They last longer too!