KIOS: Cleaning, Part 5: Washing Dishes and Laundry

This post is part of my series, “Kickin’ It Old Skool: Why and How We Are Old-Fashioned” or KIOS for short.  If you’re new to the series, please read my disclaimer before continuing on.  I’m keeping a table of contents to this series here so you can see what I’ve already written about and what more there is to come.

And we’re back!  It was a nice three-month break, in which I was a little busy (just having a baby, no big deal) and now we’re trying to get back to normal around here!

I thought I had wrapped up the “Cleaning” portion of this series but I recently realized that I hadn’t talked about washing dishes or laundry.  For almost all the other cleaning, we just use baking soda and vinegar.  Those don’t work for dishes and laundry though so in those two categories, we do buy our cleaning products.

For hand washing dishes, we buy 7th Generation Free and Clear dish soap.  For our dishwasher, we use 7th Generation Automatic Dishwasher Powder.  Neither of those are perfect in their ingredient lists but they’re at least fragrance free and significantly better for the environment than standard soap and detergent.

For laundry, we use Country Save laundry detergent and Bac Out stain remover.  We don’t use fabric softener/dryer sheets.  Fabric softener/dryer sheets are particularly bad offenders when it comes to obnoxious chemicals.  It’s also usually humid enough here that we don’t have an issue with static often enough for it to bother me.

All of these products are more expensive than buying standard equivalents from the store.  However, we’re willing to pay more to keep all those crazy toxic chemicals out of our house.  I also use half the recommended amount of laundry detergent (basically the HE amount in our regular washing machine).  Our clothes still get clean and the box lasts twice as long!  We also spend very little on any other cleaning supplies.


On my list of “projects to do eventually”: make felted wool dryer balls.  They are supposed to help your dryer work more efficiently as well as eliminate static and wrinkles.  You can buy them too but they’re supposed to be really easy and cheap to make.

More about why you probably don’t want to use fabric softener or dryer sheets.

More about the toxic ingredients in standard laundry detergent.  Also, I’ve thought about making my own laundry detergent but have put that in the “I don’t feel like doing it right now” category.  Country Save works for us and our cloth diapers and that’s good enough for now.

For those in the Baltimore area, we buy our Country Save at Soft and Cozy Baby.  Target and Giant both carry 7th Generation dish soap.  Currently, the only place I can find our dishwasher powder is Whole Foods (hence our Valentine’s Day visit to Whole Foods).  It was a sad day for me when Target stopped carrying it.  My guess is that MOM’s might carry it also but I haven’t checked there (I’ve never actually been there).

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8 Responses to KIOS: Cleaning, Part 5: Washing Dishes and Laundry

  1. Crystal says:

    I like these posts Laura- thanks. I keep feeling like I should cut down on the # of cleaning supplies I use. I started using Bac out this week and love it! Thanks for mentioning it in one of your posts. Wish I would have known about that stuff when we started cloth diapers- we are done now. Also, I tried making my own laundry detergent at one point. It worked fine, but was more involved than the 1/2 a scoop of Country Save that I use, and I don’t think it saved too much $$ really.

    • Laura says:

      I’m glad you like them Crystal! I’m glad you like the Bac-Out – my sister-in-law recommended it to me. And yes, right now, I’m more than happy to just scoop out some Country Save and not worrying about making it. I think we all have to choose where to expend our energy and where to take the short-cuts.

  2. Katie j says:

    I super loved that link to dryer sheets. It was the one unnatural thing we still had in our house. Chris just read about putting a ball of aluminum foil in the dryer to get rid of static, and it seems to work great!

  3. Katie j says:

    Ps what do you use for window cleaner?

    • Laura says:

      Sorry I forgot to respond to this Katie! In my ideal world, I would use only white vinegar to clean windows because it’s so cheap plus we always have it around. Then again, in my ideal world, I would actually clean my windows more than once every two years! 🙂 (This post is about the last time I cleaned windows in any serious way – almost two years ago.) Anyway, we have a bottle of Biokleen Glass Cleaner that I got on super sale awhile ago and it works great. It’s ammonia free. The bottle will probably last use 20 years, based on how often we clean windows! 😉

  4. Fatima says:

    I like your cleaning series. I’ve read all of the article and find them very useful. Thanks for sharing.

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