Green Cleaning in the Laundry With Tips for Green Cleaning and Removing Common Household Stains

Background
Common Sense Cleaning
Laundry Cleaning Dangers
Green Cleaners for the Laundry
Fabric Softeners
Anti Bacterial Soaps
Hand Washing Clothes
Machine Washing of Clothes
Stain Removal
Green Cleaning Specific Stains
Ball Point Pen Stains
Blood Stains
Chewing Gum
Cocoa Stains
Coffee Stains
Fruit Stains
Grass Stains
Fresh Grease Spots
Dried Grease Spots
Ink Stains
Linen Spot
Lipstick Stains
Mildew
Mustard Stains
Nappies
Perfume Stains
Raspberry Stains
Strawberry Stains
Red Wine
Rust Stains
Scorch Marks
Tar
Tea Stains
Wax

Background

Most people do not realise how dangerous to people, pets and children common household cleaners can be. Others don't know the damage these cleaners can cause to the environment. Common cleaning products like disinfectants, drain cleaners, anti-mould solutions and detergents can be a cocktail of potentially hazardous chemicals including bleach, solvents, chlorine and ammonia. Some simple and far less hazardous alternatives can be used to make cleaning a far less harmful household chore. This article looks at green cleaning in the laundry.

Common Sense Cleaning

Some common sense steps can be employed to ensure safe and effective green cleaning. These are to:

  • Simply use less of the commercially available chemicals when cleaning. It will be cheaper and tends to be as effective.
  • When using using less chemical cleaners, you may need to allow more time for the cleaner to work. Just be patient and allow stains to soak.
  • Clean as you go. Prevention is better than cure, so don't allow mess to build up, clean spills when they happen and don't allow stains to set
  • Elbow grease, water and good cleaning equipment like quality brushes, cloths and scourers can often complete a cleaning job without the use of harsh chemicals

Laundry Cleaning Dangers

A lot of laundry detergents are not particularly green due to the simple fact that they are petroleum based. Others contain ingredients that can be harmful to humans. Ingredients like the suspected hormone disruptor alkyphenol ethoxylates, and carcinogens like 1,4-dioxane. Frangrances added to detergents and fabric softeners have been linked to cancer, reproductive system problems, allergies, asthma, plus skin, eye and respiratory irritation. Some cleaning products should not be combined as they form a new and more dangerous chemical. As an example diethanolamine and triethanolamine react with nitrite preservatives to form carcinogenic nitrosamines.

Bleach should always be handled very carefully and should never be mixed with any products containing either ammonia or quaternium compounds. Bleach is actually sodium hypochlorite or sodium hydroxide. When mixed with ammonia it creates highly toxic chlorine gas. Some scouring powders and cleaning solutions contain bleach although you might not be aware of it. Once bleach is washed down the drain, that is not the end of it. The bleach can form organochlorines that are suspected to be carcinogens as well as reproductive, neurological, and immune-system toxins.

Green Cleaners for the Laundry

When looking for green cleaning options in the laundry products to seek out should be plant based and come from sources like corn, palm kernel and coconut oil. What follows are a series of tips for effective, environmentally friendly, green cleaning in the laundry including some tried and proven home made cleaning products that have little impact on the environment.

Fabric Softeners

Simply add a quarter cup of baking soda to a normal wash cycle for effective fabric softening. A quarter cup of white vinegar will also soften fabric as well as eliminate cling.

Anti Bacterial Soaps

Increasingly popular antibacterial soaps are helping to promote the growth of resistant bacterial strains. The preferred method for handcleaning is washing for 2 minutes with plain soap and warm water.

Hand Washing Clothes

Hand washing of clothes can be done with pure soap or soap flakes. Soap can be contained in a wire or plastic basket or a mesh bag. The container is then agitated in the wash water. Small pieces of soap can be used in this way rather than be discarded.

Machine Washing of Clothes

Biodegradable washing powders and washing liquids are now widely available. Alternatively soap flakes can be dissolved in hot water before adding them to the wash load. Hard water can contribute to soap scum or residue. This can be eliminated by adding 1/4 cup of washing soda to the wash cycle. For very hard water add add 1/2 cup washing soda to the wash cycle and 1/4 cup washing soda to the rinse cycle.

Stain Removal

It is far easier to remove a fresh stain than a dried one. First try to scrape off, absorb or blot away as much of the stain as possible. Fresh and non greasy stains can often be removed by putting it straight into cold water. Don't use hot water as this sets the stain permanently. Other stains can be removed by soaking clothing and other fabrics with water mixed with borax, lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide, washing soda or white vinegar. Another option is to use non-chlorine bleach made from sodium percarbonate or sodium perborate.

Green Cleaning Specific Stains

Ball Point Pen Stains

Flush stained fabric repeatedly with methylated spirits and rinse. Repeat until stain is eliminated.

Blood Stains

Blood stains are easily removed. Simply soak overnight in cold water and wash normally.

Chewing Gum

To remove chewing gum from fabrics either place ice on the chewing gum or put the entire item in the freezer in a plastic bag. After freezing, scrape off the chewing gum and sponge with eucalyptus.

Cocoa Stains

Cocoa stains can be removed by rubbing with glycerine, leaving for three to four hours before washing with soap and cold water

Coffee Stains

Hand wash the stain with cold water. Then wash with vinegar. Rinse with cold water and wash normally.

Fruit Stains

Cover fresh stain with salt, soak with milk and then wash normally.

Grass Stains

Soak grass stains with methylated spirits, allow to dry and then wash normally.

Fresh Grease Spots

Thickly spinkle fresh grease stains with bicarbonate soda, leave for a few minutes and brush off.

Dried Grease Spots

Cleaning dried grease stains, can be done by wetting the fabric and rubbing bicarbonate soda into the spot. For stubborn stains, repeat and leave for a few hours before washing. For fabrics that can be hot ironed, place brown paper above and below the stained fabric and press for a few moments with a hot iron. The grease will melt and absorb into the paper. Then wash in warm soapy water.

Ink Stains

Ink stains can be removed by soaking in milk before washing in soapy water.

Linen Spot

Spots on old linen can be removed by rubbing with bicarbonate soda and lemon juice before washing.

Lipstick Stains

For lipstick stains, soak the stain in milk for half an hour before washing in warm soapy water. Then put some glycerine on the stain for a few hours. Then wipe with eucalyptus. Depending on the source of the lipstick, you may also require the blood stain removal tip above.

Mildew

Mildew is a fungus that can be killed by hanging the fabric in hot, direct sunlight. For colder climates the mildew can be killed by leaving the fabric outside on a frosty night.

Mustard Stains

Mustard stains can be removed by rubbing with glycerine, leaving for three to four hours before washing with soap and cold water

Nappies

Scrape off excess soiling into the toilet. Soak nappies in 3 tablespoons of bicarbonate soda dissolved in warm water. May require repeating several times for stubborn stains. Wash in warm soapy water. Nappies should be dried in the sun to kill any bacterial or other pathogens.

Perfume Stains

Perfume stains can be removed by rubbing with glycerine, leaving for three to four hours before washing with soap and cold water

Raspberry Stains

Wash raspberry stains with soapy water, then rub lemon juice over the stain. Set aside for an hour before washing normally.

Strawberry Stains

Run cold water through the stain for 10 minutes, soak in cold water overnight and wash normally.

Red Wine

Immediately cover the red wine spill with large amounts of salt. Allow to stand, soak in cold water and rub out. For red wine on carpets, leave salt on the spill to dry or overnight before vacuuming.

Rust Stains

Clean rust stains by saturating with lemon juice, covering with bicarbonate soda and then leave to soak.

Scorch Marks

Rub scorch marks with white vinegar before cool water rinsing

Tar

Saturate tar marks with eucalyptus and cover with bicarbonate soda for one hour. Wash in warm water. Repeat treatments may be required for stubborn stains

Tea Stains

Tea stains can be removed by rubbing with glycerine, leaving for three to four hours before washing with soap and cold water

Wax

To remove wax from fabrics either place ice on the wax or put the entire item in the freezer in a plastic bag. After freezing, scrape off the wax and sponge with eucalyptus.

Source: AZoCleantech

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