Oh, laundry… can anyone out there say that they truly love doing it? (if so, tell me your secret!) Laundry can be a drag, but since it’s an inevitable part of life — for most of us, multiple times per week — we might as well learn to do it really well. After all, those gorgeous new fall clothes will only stay looking their best if treated with a little TLC! For the next post in our series with Seventh Generation, I’m breaking down the basics I rely on to keep our clothes looking and feeling great, and you know what? Knowing how to do laundry the right way actually makes it feel a little more fun, too. Click through to find out why plant-based laundry products are the way to go, and what steps you should be taking before your clothes hit the washer. Consider it the best fashion investment you might make all season!
*photos by Kristen Kilpatrick
1. Embrace your space.
When we built our house, one of the things I was most excited about was finally having a light-filled laundry room that would be both functional and beautifully designed so that I wouldn’t mind spending a lot of time in there! Even if the laundry area of your home is tiny and less-than-stylish, you can still take a few steps to make it a place that you don’t dread walking into. Designate zones for different tasks: counterspace for folding, a place where you can store an ironing board, and sufficient shelving for detergent, fabric softener, and other laundry essentials. Having an organized system goes a long way in making the task more enjoyable.
2. Sort like colors.
Confession: I’m frequently tempted to skip this step, but it really does go a long way in keeping colors brightest. Especially when you’re dealing with clothes that are prone to bleeding, like blue jeans. At the very least, separate darks and lights, and throw whites in their own load if they need to be bleached.
3. Avoid harsh detergents and chemicals.
It’s a conundrum: you want to treat your family’s clothes (especially baby clothes!) with the gentlest products, yet you want to get them really clean! I recently learned that artificial brighteners that make fabrics appear to “glow” in ultraviolet light are present in most other detergents on the market. They don’t have anything to do with getting things clean –they’re only added to detergents to make us think our laundry is brighter and whiter!
I love knowing that Seventh Generation’s products are free of these and other toxins and safe for washing onesies, blankets, and other items that come into close contact with my baby’s skin. The laundry detergent is free of dyes and synthetic fragrances, and even the bleach is made with hydrogen peroxide — instead of chlorine — to lift stains naturally.
4. Prepare delicates properly.
The most important thing to consider with lingerie and delicates is to keep them away from more abrasive articles of clothing, especially those with zippers or buckles, to prevent snags. For your extremely delicate items, it’s a great idea to wash them in mesh laundry bags. If that’s too much effort, just turn delicates inside-out and wash them together on the gentlest cycle of your washer.
5. Pretreat stains.
Try to treat stains – on both the front and back of the garment – right when they happen. The earlier the pretreatment goes on, the more effectively it can work its magic! For those times when you (or even more likely, your family members) forget, keep a pretreatment spray right next to the washer so you can easily take care of those stains before they hit the washing machine. Since heat sets stains, be sure that they’re completely removed before transferring clothes to the dryer.
6. Use the right detergent.
Of course I want my detergent to be all natural, but it still has to be effective, too! Speaking from firsthand experience, Seventh Generation’s detergents give amazing results – even in cold water – removing tough stains like tomato sauce and strawberries while still being totally nontoxic. I’m so thankful we live in a time when we no longer have to choose between safety and effectiveness.
Now it’s your turn: what are your best tips and tricks for tackling laundry and keeping clothes looking their best? Leave a comment and let us know!