Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Searching Chicago for Environmentally Friendly Laundry Detergent: Part I

I went down into the basement yesterday afternoon and was surprised (and somewhat mortified) to learn that I was out of laundry detergent. How could this be? I thought I had at least a few more weeks worth of detergent left. But there I was realizing that I needed to find a plastic free laundry detergent in a serious hurry because I was almost out of undies.

The Search for Detergent
Scared at what I'd find (or should I say wouldn't find), I stopped at Dominick's on my way home from work. Now, you're probably thinking, "Why are you afraid? Lots of powdered detergent is sold in cardboard boxes. You'll definitely find something." Well, the problem is that I've been doing a lot of reading lately, and it turns out that laundry detergent can actually be pretty bad for the environment and is probably pretty unhealthy for our bodies. Consequently, I felt like I should really be looking for a plastic free AND environmentally friendly detergent.

By the way, there was reason to be scared. My quick stop in Dominick's revealed that among the some 20 brands of laundry detergent they sell, not a single one of them is environmentally friendly. Determined to wash my undies, though, I stopped at an additional grocery store, Strack and Van Til, and found out that they don't have any eco-friendly detergent either. Gotta love the Midwest!

Anyways, now I don't have any laundry detergent and only one clean pair of undies remaining. Luckily, I have time to stop at Whole Foods tomorrow, and I'm pretty sure that they sell detergent I'd be willing to buy. If not, I'm going to be in trouble.

Info on Laundry, Detergents, and the Environment
For more information on laundry and your health, see the article Cleaner and Greener Laundry from The National Geographic's Green Guide. Note that the article provides an extended list of environmentally friendly laundry detergents, fabric softeners, and stain removers. Fortunately for those of us living in the Midwest, several of these products are available on Amazon.com.


Radical Garbage Man said...

Here is a web page with LOTS of recipes for making natural home cleaning products. I haven't tried this yet, but I'm about 4 or 5 loads away from empty on my store-bought bottle of toxic sludge (but it's such convenient and affordable sludge) so I may be caving in next week and doing a little home chemistry.

At this point my mother, were she a blog commenter, would post that this is merely going to be an excuse for me to do something more fun than cleaning. She'd probably be right.

LifeLessPlastic said...

Hmmm. Very interesting. The recipe for laundry detergent calls for "1 cup Ivory soap (or Fels Naptha soap), 1/2 cup washing soda and 1/2 cup borax." Do you know where I can get stuff like this? Would I have to order it online?

Radical Garbage Man said...

Co-Op Markets lists borax and washing soda on their website. Google maps shows them here

honeygod said...

try soapnuts! they contain natural soap = saponin and have been used in ayurvedic for centuries!