Natural Non-Toxic, Natural, Green, Eco-Friendly Way to Clean Your Kids’ Clothes (and yours!) Summer is here! Well…if you live in a city just as finicky as Chicago, it’s almost here. As the weather gets warmer, inevitably rain, mud and grass stains will enter into your realm of things to wash out of your children’s clothes. It’s enough that spaghetti stains and smudges of chocolate pudding hang on the canvas of your kid’s clothes, but we will find a new list of things to scrub off. Most often, even after we wash our kids’ clothes, the ghost of stains past lingers and all of their clothes go into the play clothes pile. It is also well know that most laundry detergent are toxic to our kids’ skin and eventually get into their blood stream. Although most of our laundry task is a little cumbersome and arduous at times, we like for our kids to remember the pile of warm, clean clothes they want to jump into the middle of without all the chemicals and harsh toxins. Many people think that going the natural way to clean will cause more work or won’t clean as well, but we don’t need harsh smelling cleaning agents for stains and odors to be extracted from your fabrics. If anything, going the natural way will help you cut cost on the multiple different products you will need to purchase. Many common household products will clean like a miracle and you have peace of mind of knowing the items you are using for your children’s sensitive skin is completely safe. As a general or base cleanser, consider some detergents like Seventh Generation, Tangent Garment Care or even a scoop of baking soda as the main cleaning agent for your laundry load. When you need a little boost with your laundry, here is a little list for the extra clean: 1. Lemons: Add the juice of half a lemon into your laundry machine before you hit watch. This helps to brighten whites and help eliminate odor. Think sweat. 2. White Vinegar: Add ¼ cup to reduce static cling and odors. This seems counterproductive with the vinegar, but it works. Think Grass, dirt, juice (natural stains). 3. Baking Soda: Like mentioned above, adding a scoop of baking soda with your detergent will help remove stains and removes moldy or sweat odor from your kids clothing. Your teenage kids may benefit from this one. Think sweat, mold, and “dingy” smelling items. 4. Hydrogen peroxide: Think blood and other protein based stains. 5. Oxi Clean: This one is a staple, and almost a miracle substance, using this alone can wash your clothing fresh and clean. When you need to remove a serious stain: 1. Seventh Generation Dish Soap: Think Grease stains! This works for a big grease pan you’ve just cooked up morning bacon in, so it will surely work for some potato chip grease stains on your child’s pants. Just spot clean and rub before you throw it in the wash. Think oils. 2. Baking Soda (again): Make a paste out of water and baking soda and rub in on the area of suspect, then throw it in your wash. Think food stains. 3. Oxi Clean (again): Oxi clean can be made into a light solution to soak your favorite shirt that has grown a little dingy. Here are some natural cleaning cocktails: Pre-Treatment for Stains 1 cup vinegar 1/2 cup Salt 3 drops Tea Tree oil Perspiration Stain Remover 1/4 cup Vinegar 1 tablespoon Baking Soda 4 drops Lemon, Lime, or Eucalyptus oil If you are feeling extra ambitious, try making your own Baby Laundry Detergent. Baby Laundry Detergent 1/4 cup Washing Soda Crystals 1 cup Baking Soda 1/4 cup Borax 1/4 cup White Vinegar 2 tablespoons Liquid Castile Soap 2 drops Lavender oil Dryer Sheets: Lastly, we when you are ready to dry your clothing, this is one of the most important implementation for a natural way to clean. Dryer Sheets are notorious for volatile organic compounds (VOC) and a list of other toxic chemicals that cause respiratory issues, hormone imbalance, and even cancer. Go for Wool or Alpaca Felt balls and add a little Essential oil drops to the balls to give your laundry a cozy, clean smell. In the end, just be sure to avoid four main things when selecting your agent; Fragrance that effect the endocrine system, fabric softeners that have chemicals that trigger asthma, and brighteners that only look bright on clothing like a coating. Lastly, VOC (volatile organic compounds), VOCs are linked to cancer, headaches, developmental and reproductive, liver and respiratory damage.