Greener Alternatives for the Laundry Room


Chlorine Bleach:

  • Instead of chlorine bleach, try using a non-chlorinated bleach.If you feel you simply can't make the switch, reduce the amount of liquid chlorine bleach used in your wash by adding baking soda as a booster. For top loaders, add 1⁄2 cup and for front loaders, add 1⁄4 cup of baking soda. Use 1⁄2 the usual amount of liquid bleach.
  • Use dry bleach, Borax or baking soda to whiten.
  • Borax is a good grease cutter. (Never mix chlorine with ammonia or acids).
  • Use oxygen bleaches (non-chlorine) such as Polytex liquid or Clorox II.
  • Sodium hexametapnhosphate: 1⁄2 cup diluted in 5 gallons of water, or Calgon which contains this substance plus scents.


  • Detergents are a concern because they are used in such large amounts.In general, detergents break down more slowly in the environment than soaps.Two commercial brands of soap flakes are White King and Ivory Snow.
  • Add 1 Tbsp. Vinegar to rinse cycle to keep colors bright.
  • Use Borax instead of chlorine bleaches.
  • One soap recipe: add 1/3 cup of soap. (Add 1⁄4 cup of vinegar or baking soda during the first rinse if water is hard). When you make the switch from detergents to soap, run your clothes through the washer with 1/3 cup washing soda to prevent yellowing.
  • One-half to one cup of vinegar in rinse water will soften your laundry and cut soap.

Disinfectant cleaner:

  • Wash items with soap and water.
  • Wash items in Borax or sodium carbonate (washing soda) in water.
  • Use ammonia.
  • Use a solution of 1⁄2 cup Borax to 1 gallon of hot water, or pour 2 cups of boiling water on 2 cups fresh thyme leaves. Cover and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain and let cool. Pour into bottles. Use for wiping down bathroom and kitchen surfaces.

Laundry starch:

  • 2 tbsp. Cornstarch, 1pint cold water. Dissolve cornstarch in water and place solution in spray bottle.

Spot removers:

  • All purpose: 1⁄4 cup Borax in 2 cups cold water; soak the stain prior to washing as usual. This works well for blood, chocolate, coffee, mildew, mud and urine.
  • For stains that have set, try a dab of full strength white vinegar.Or put paper towels underneath to blot, and apply a solution of equal parts ammonia and water. (If an ammonia stain remains, blot it with a solution of table salt in water.)
  • Don't use dry cleaning fluids unless absolutely necessary.
  • Use professional dry cleaners for stubborn stains.


  • Remove mineral deposits in kettles or pans by using a solution of 1⁄2 cup white vinegar and 1 quart of water. Bring to a boil and let sit overnight.Equal parts of vinegar and water can also be used.
  • All 2 tablespoons of cream of tarter to a quart of hot water to remove discoloration from aluminum pans. Bring to a boil and simmer 10 minutes.


  • Sponge with cold water or club soda and dry with a towel.
  • Pour slat on stain, add cold water and rub gently together. Rinse out well.
  • "Bleach" with 1⁄4 cup Borax and 2 cups of water.Rinse and wash.
  • Rub with a paste of cornstarch and water or cornmeal and water.Let dry (preferably in sun) and brush off.
  • Clean stain immediately with club soda.
  • Pour 3% hydrogen peroxide solution directly on the stain, before rinsing with water. Then wash as usual.

Coffee or Tea:

  • To remove coffee or tea stains from china cups, rub with moist salt.
  • For tea stains on fabric, stretch it over a basin and pour boiling water over the stain. Wash as usual.
  • For coffee stains, mix egg yolk with lukewarm water and rub on stain.
  • For coffee stains, sponge up or scrape off as much as possible, immediately, dab with a cloth dampened with a solution of 1 teaspoon white vinegar and 1 quart of cold water.


  • Rub the stain with white vinegar before laundering.


  • Rub with a damp cloth dipped in Borax.
  • Apply paste of cornstarch and water. Let dry and brush off.
  • Cover with baking soda or cornmeal. Let dry and brush off.
  • Sponge spot on suede with a cloth dipped in white vinegar. Dry and brush.
  • Cover with baking soda. Rub lightly. Leave on for one hour. Brush off.
  • Immediately pour slat or baby powder, rub in, let set, wash.


  • Rub with ice. Gum will flake off.


  • If stain has set on white fabric, wet with cold water and apply a paste of cream of tarter and lemon juice. Let sit one hour and wash as usual.
  • Mix 1/3 cup of white vinegar and 2/3 cup of warm water. Apply a small amount to the stain and blot until no more stain can be removed.
  • If stain has not set, absorb liquid ink with table salt.
  • Soak in homogenized Vitamin D milk. Stubborn stains may take a few hours.


  • On clothing, sponge with undiluted white vinegar within 24 hours.Then launder or dry-clean according to the manufacturer's instructions.


  • Rub with shortening and wash with washing soda.


  • Wash shower curtains along with a towel in 1⁄2 cup soap and 1⁄2 cup baking soda, adding 1 cup white vinegar to the rinse cycle.
  • Scrub mildew spots with baking soda, or sponge with white vinegar.
  • Rub vigorously with a cloth soaked in warm soapsuds. Rinse by rubbing with a cloth wet with cold water.


  • Sponge stains with a weak solution of white vinegar and water or lemon juice and water.


  • To remove from clothing, moisten with lemon juice, sprinkle with salt and expose to sunlight.
  • To remove from white washables, cover the stains with cream of tartar, gather up the ends of the article so that powder stays on the spot. Dip the whole thing into hot water about 5 minutes. Ordinary laundering will complete the job.
  • Briskly scrub rust spots on car bumpers with a piece of aluminum foil.Also works great on the chrome shafts of golf clubs.
  • For tinware, rub with peeled potato dipped in baking soda or salt.


  • To remove a scorch mark from white linen, cut a raw onion and the scorched area with its flat side until onion juice is absorbed by the cloth. Let set, then soak in cold water a few hours.


  • For red wine stains on rugs, dab out moisture with absorbent cloth completely cover stain with salt. Let sit for several hours. When dry, vacuum.
  • Clean stain immediately with club soda.
  • Immediately pour slat or hot water on stain and soak in milk before washing. Also works on fruit stains.
  • On clothing, sponge with undiluted white vinegar within 24 hours.Then launder or dry-clean according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Water Softener:

  • 1/4 cup of vinegar in the final rinse.