Toxin & Plastic Free Laundry

Photograph by Tala Parker

Photograph by Tala Parker

Between single-use dryer sheets and industrial strength chemicals in laundry detergent, most individuals laundry routine is less than ideal, both for their health and the health of the planet.

Dyer sheets are made from polyester (plastic), fabric softener, and chemical fragrance. They are the definition of single-use. Laundry detergent is comprised of a multitude of chemicals, most of which are both bad for the planet and our own skin and lungs.

I love clean, fresh smelling laundry, so it was really important to me that the plastic-free alternatives that I switched to worked well. The first thing I looked for was laundry powder that had few ingredients and was packaged without plastic. While most drugstore laundry detergents come in cardboard boxes, they are usually full of harsh industrial chemicals.

Meliora is different. They produce cleaning products such as their laundry powder and stain remover stick that are plastic free and have basic ingredients that are safe for the planet and humans. The washing powder does come with a small plastic scoop, but if you purchase from their website you can opt out of receiving one. The powder works well and is virtually the same as big name detergents, except that its scent free. This leads to having a less fragrant fresh load of laundry, but it still smells clean. On the other hand, the soap stick works much like a regular bar of soap. You have to put in more elbow grease to get stains out compared to products like OxiClean, but it seems to work just as well.

I swapped dryer sheets for wool dryer balls (I bought mine off of Etsy). They reduce static and help speed drying by fluffing the clothes as they spin around. I was initially worried they’d leave a wool smell, but they didn’t. They seem to do the job well, and I would suggest adding them to your laundry routine even if you still used dryer sheets just to reduce drying time and therefore energy use. Some people like to add a few drops of essential oils to the balls before tossing them in the dryer, but because I’m pretty scent sensitive I haven’t experimented with it.

I also bought a small drying rack to use in college (and have a full size one back home) which I use to dry almost all of my clothes. I highly recommend hang drying as it prolongs the life of your clothes and saves energy. That being said, in the winter hang drying can get tricky if you don’t have a concentrated heat source in your house.

Overall, I’m very happy with my plastic free laundry switches. The Meliora soaps and the dryer balls leave my laundry fresh and clean!