Walk into any supermarket and you will find shelves upon shelves bursting with expensive laundry detergents, softeners, conditioners and fresheners. Each product boasts that it will keep your whites whiter, prevent colours from fading, get rid of bad odours, remove stains, or even prevent them from occurring in the first place. You can easily end up spending a fortune on different products to fulfil all your laundry needs. These products are not just bad for your wallet, but also full of chemicals that can be harmful to the environment and even your health. There is no need to worry though; we've put together some helpful tips on how you can get the same fantastic effects, just by adding some natural ingredients to a basic eco-friendly washing powder.
To breathe new life into dulled and dirty whites, soak the garments in a solution made up of four litres of water to 180g of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda), or in hot water with around six aspirins (325mg each) dissolved in it. Soak your whites for at least half an hour, then machine wash as normal. For extra effect, try adding around 250ml of white vinegar to the rinse cycle of your washing machine. Your whites will come out dazzlingly bright and fresh.
For black clothing, adding two cups of brewed tea or coffee to the rinse cycle can work wonders. Don’t worry, there won’t be any smell as the water pumped in by the machine effectively dilutes the tea or coffee. Your black clothing will be clean and the colour will be maintained like new. For other dark coloured items, such as navy or burgundy, a single cup of table salt added to the rinse cycle will help to keep them in like-new condition.
To prevent new denim from fading fast, soak new denim items in salt water or a solution made up of 1part water to 1 part white vinegar before their first wash. Wash denim inside out on a cold setting and the colour will stay locked in for years.
Tackling bad smells
Whatever offends your nostrils – be it the overpowering stench of dye on new bed sheets or stinky BO from your teenager’s football kit that spent a season in his locker – the powerful double-team of baking soda and white vinegar will banish the reek without a trace. Start by soaking the stinky laundry in a solution made up of four litres of water with half a cup of baking soda. Soak for around two hours for the best results. After this pre-soak, machine wash the items adding white vinegar to the rinse cycle.
Removing yellow stains
White cotton and linen items are notorious for developing yellow stains, particularly under the armpits, that it can seem an impossible task to remove. Restore your white cottons and linens to a bright crisp white by boiling them for 1 hour in a large cooking pot filled with a quarter cup of salt, a quarter cup of baking soda, and around four litres of water. Be sure to check washing instructions and simmer on a low temperature if a cool wash is required.