Although I’m not particularly concerned with softness, many people are attached to their fuzzy towels and soft clothes. Letting go of fabric softener in our transition wasn’t particularly concerning, except for the towels becoming a little scratchy. Fabric softener has become a staple in many people’s home, but often comes in plastic bottles. Luckily there are natural alternatives to keep your laundry nice and soft!
Getting rid of what you’ve got
The fabric softener section of the supermarket is loaded with plastic bottles, and admittedly we did dabble with some ‘fluffy’ brand fabric softener (mostly because it made the laundry smell so nice). If you’re like us and have a bottle or two leftover, keep them for bulk buying purposes. Otherwise, if they’re not recyclable, they’ll be destined for landfill (probably end up in landfill anyway if you recycle them).
Vinegar – nature’s softener
Don’t let the unfavourable smell of vinegar put you off. White vinegar is brilliant for cleaning purposes, but also works to soften laundry if used at the correct moment*. According to The Spruce, by adding 1/4 of a cup in the fabric softener shoot in your machine, you’ll reap many benefits including:
*It’s important to note that you add the vinegar in during the rinse cycle of your wash. This means you can’t really leave the washing machine going while you run off, you have to keep your eye on it.
Thankfully, white vinegar is accessible in bulk in Hobart. We top up old vinegar bottles at Unpacked in Kingston for a couple of bucks, and it lasts us quite a long time. Check your local bulk buy store to see if it’s available to you.
As the chief of laundry in our household, I started implementing this magical idea to help keep our ~expensive~ towels soft. I was hesitant at first, as I didn’t want our towels smelling like vinegar, but it worked a damn treat. No vinegar residue, just the sweet smell of lemon essential oil I pop in too.
Avoid the dryer
Lots of folks say the best way to keep clothes (especially towels) soft is to pop them in the dryer. If you’re using solar power, then all credit to you! but going zero waste extends further than the products you buy, but how much energy you are consuming too. Ditching the dryer will probably help the power bill, but help reduce your personal carbon footprint.
Since living in our rental, we haven’t really missed having a dryer. If we are absolutely desperate, we pack the car and head off to our local laundromat to use their industrial dyer. But that’s only occurred when our kitten has peed on both sets of sheets at 6pm at night. For now, we’ll stick with vinegar to keep our laundry soft!
For The Spruce original article on vinegar uses in laundry, head to https://www.thespruce.com/top-uses-for-vinegar-in-laundry-2147286
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