Eco Friendly Detergent and Sustainable Laundry Routine. Nellies Laundry Soda Review.

Ok, listen up, the laundry pile around here is never ending, it’s constant and well…with being homesteaders it also gets very dirty. We use many reuseable options, that need deep cleaning, think unpaper towels in the kitchen. We have also cloth diapered and guess what, you can get all this laundry clean, even if they inevitably sit in a to be folded pile until they wind their way back into the wash. Today’s post will be my review of the eco friendly laundry detergent,  Nellies(available and easy to buy for us Canadians) and my minimal, low waste, eco friendly laundry routine It is oh so simple, it can be done and your clothes will be clean!

Today, I’m going to share some of the low waste laundry tools we use in our home and routines I take with laundry to make our laundry routine simple, low waste, minimal and as sustainable as possible. Really, all I had to do was make some easy switchs in our routine! Also disclaimer-this is not an ad even if I mention or talk about brands I use (although I can dream) they are my honest thoughts!

So let me start by saying I used to think you needed all the things, when it came to laundry, I had all the little plastic bottles of conditioner and different kinds of spot remover and various kinds of dryer sheet and the laundry shelf was cluttered with soooo much wasteful product. To be honest, as a somewhat scatterbrained individual having an organised, minimal space really does work well for preventing my brain becoming overloaded and stressed. I knew when I started my journey of curating a more sustainable, low waste home that the laundry was something I needed to tackle.

Let’s start with the laundry detergent. I have been a Nellies user for four years now and have narrowed my eco friendly detergent options down to just two boxes of Nellies on the shelf. I use the Nellies Laundry Soda and Nellies Oxygen Brightener (although when I had my baby I was also a huge fan of the Baby Laundry Soda) exclusively in my laundry routine. So why Nellies? I first stumbled across this brand in my local Winners store and instantly the packaging caught my eye (I mean, laundry detergent in a TIN, how often do you see that now?!) So I knew I had to try it because a) the aesthetic of having a tin instead of a plastic bottle.

Then after reading about the brand more I was even more stoked because b) Nellies has refillable or bulk options available for purchase so you use less packaging in your home and/or you can keep the tins and pails for other storage options around the homestead. I prefer to keep the tins on my laundry shelf and simply buy the refill packs. 

The brand also gets further kudos for me because they use powder. So c)Powder laundry detergent is generally more concentrated than the liquid, so overall you are shipping less bulkier product around the planet,  less frequently. That is a huge win for me and if you are pursuing a more eco friendly laundry detergent option, a powder is a very good place to start.

Also I have a High Efficiency (HE) machine and some laundry detergents simply do not work well in those. However the Nellies eco friendly laundry detergent works in HE machines, so enough said for me there!

So as you can tell, I am a huge Nellies fan but overall a fan of simplicity too, I use Nellies laundry soda to clean everything and my clothes/towels/linens come out smelling clean and fresh and not with an overpowering scent as it is synthetic fragrance free. I even used it for my cloth diapers and I had no issues with stink. However, like any other laundry detergent, it needs to be paired with a good laundry routine. As a life pro tip (it took me a long time to figure this out) proper agitation of laundry in the machine goes miles to help get a better clean. Agitation is the rubbing of clothing together in the washing machine, essentially it helps the surfaces of the clothes get bashed around, aiding the detergent to lift dirt and impurities off the laundry. So bulk loads as needed and/or hit the correct setting on your machine for your wash you are doing! That is my eco friendly laundry detergent of choice, keep it simple, keep it eco friendly and keep it easy and I have found Nellies to be the best option for us!

Shop Nellies here:

The only other treatment I may give clothing is to do some spot stain treatment before washing. As you can imagine, in trying to keep my household supplies as low waste as possible I searched high and low for a stain remover that could meet my needs. Needless to say, I was stoked when I stumbled across the Aleva Naturals Stain and Laundry Barat (which by the way, is my one stop shop for many of my eco friendly home products in Canada!). This soap bar truly does the job, it is waste free, easy to use, vegan and made in Canada. It is a workhorse staple in my eco friendly laundry routine especially with a young family.

Lastly, let’s take a look at drying my laundry: when it comes to drying I used to use the tumble dryer with a dryer sheet in there every time-so much extra unnecessary product and energy! Of course in becoming more sustainable and intentional in my routines and practices I had to make a change here. So I opted to go for hang drying our laundry. Outside.

Mini vent incoming here but when did we become such prudes about hanging up our laundry? Someone once told me that it’s “socially unacceptable and considered rude” to hang up our laundry outside?! My friends, we as a society definitely need to reprioritize some of our societal norms here. Now I definitely feel an old fashioned soul and a little bit of an oddity, when I take my laundry to hang up on the line but I love the way it leaves my clothes feeling and let’s be the leader of change here too. If more and more of us opt to hang dry our laundry, perhaps we can enact some small changes and make this eco friendly drying solution the norm again? Not only do your clothes come in smelling fresh and oh so clean, the sun also acts as a great stain remover. (Yes, until I ventured into the world of cloth diapers I didn’t realize the power the sun holds as a natural stain remover)!

Granted, let’s face it, I, or you, live in Canada, where it is below zero and a frozen, snowy beautiful hellscape for half of the year. Hang drying outdoors simply won’t cut it all year around. So there are hang drying options for indoors too.

For the winter months be prepared to invest in a wooden drying rack or two, I still think the energy and money savings from not using the tumble dryer constantly are worth it! Or, if pushed for indoor space, invest in a Sheila Maid, which is a fantastic household tool for hang drying. This dryer hangs off the ceiling, has a beautiful vintage aesthetic to it and is useful for not only drying clothing but drying other materials such as herbs or flowers, although I will admit, I have yet to find one available in Canada and shipping this from the US can get a wee bit pricier.

Now you have the minimal and eco friendly laundry products I use, here’s a couple extra tips for laundry that really help too.

A washing schedule can help keep you on track with laundry and feel a little less overwhelmed. This is especially important when hang drying. You definitely are going to find the space to hang dry hard if you end up leaving five loads of laundry until the weekend! When I was in the depths of cloth diapers and baby laundry a set schedule of what items get washed when really helped keep my sanity in place. Be gracious to yourself, even if you only hang dry a portion of your laundry, you will still be saving some energy and doing the planet some small amount of good from your home. Don’t feel the need to jump right in, dispose of your entire laundry cupboard and go all out and buy new, that habit in itself is pretty wasteful and switching a routine all at once can be overwhelming and you are more likely to fail. Take those baby steps, test the waters by slowly switching a laundry product out once it is all used up. Find what works for you and is your best fit. There are plenty of other options out there, this routine and products are simply what has been working best for our family for the last few years.

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