Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Soap the Planet: a Change the World Wednesday Challenge

I kinda took the long way around with this week's Change the World Wednesday Challenge:
"This week accomplish one or all of the following Eco-friendly laundry practices:
•Wash in cold water only
•Use "Green" laundry soap (consider making your own)
•Use vinegar in the rinse rather than using dryer sheets."
Laundry is an especially interesting challenge, since I share a house with two adults and each of us has our own views about the best way to do laundry. We don't use dryer sheets, so the vinegar rinse idea is out. I habitually launder in cold water already, and don't think I can change the others on the subject. So this leaves using a Green laundry soap or making our own.
Earlier this year, we got a new, state-of-the-art washer which uses very little water and works great! The horizontal tumbling action seems very effective, while using a lot less water, and as a side-benefit the clothes some out with nearly all the water extracted, so drying is pretty quick. However, I wanted to do more,if only for the sake of the challenge.

I like the idea of making my own Green laundry soap, so I googled a few recipes. Here's a few:
Most of these involved an ingrediant called "washing soda", which I'd never heard of and wasn't at the store where I usually shop. Since we'd recently gotten a couple of coupons for an eco-friendly store called Goods For the Planet, and I'd never been there before but was passing nearby, we decided to stop in and ask.

The Sewing Lady
Offers classes!

Goods For the Planet turns out to be a friendly, comfortable store with a lot of interesting stuff in it for the home and garden, but not washing soda. We ended up using our coupon happily, but mostly I enjoyed talking things over with the staff. It turns out one of them shops the Mercer Island Thrift Store and we had a discussion about the sorts of things she looked for. We also had a good talk with the lady who does the sewing classes. She says sewing's becoming very popular, both for fun and practicality, plus it offers an opportunity to use fabric scraps and odd pieces that would otherwise go to waste. We admired her treadle sewing machine and contemplated what we might do with scraps.

And the challenge? we spent part of our coupon meeting on Method's laundry detergent, a low-impact soaps that we know by experience works just fine. It was handy to restock our supply at Goods For the Planet.


Small Footprints said...

Oh nice! So ... did you ever find "washing soda"? I've never used it but hear that it works great!

Thanks for taking the challenge!

rewinn said...

I'm still working on the Quest For Washing Soda. Rumor has it an ancient temple has a map leading to a secret cache. Or maybe I'll just use the google again.

Anyway, it was fun looking!

mrs green @ littlegreenblog.com said...

I'm not sure if you are looking specifically to support a local business but if not, you could try this page: http://www.armandhammer.com/fabric-care/laundry-boosters/Products/arm-and-hammer-super-washing-soda-detergent-booster.aspx