Alternative Washing

G Magazine

G has managed to track down some creative, cost-effective alternatives to conventional laundry detergents, minus all the nasty ingredients.

Alternative clean

Credit: iStockphoto

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NanoSmart Laundry Balls

These balls holds three types of ceramic beads made from various minerals. When the beads tumble around in your washing machine, they react with the water, allowing it to penetrate the clothing fibres and remove dirt. For best results, the manufacturers recommend filling your washing machine with water, adding the clothes and laundry ball and allowing the load to soak for a few hours or overnight.
One laundry ball ($49.95) is sufficient for washing machines with a capacity of up to 5 kg; larger machines require two balls ($85). www.nanochoice.com.au

Wild Soap Nuts

Technically a berry, these little wonders can be brewed up to create a multi-purpose cleaner. They're popular in the laundry because they're super easy to use - just pop a few in a cloth bag and throw it in with the rest of the load.
They last several washes but it can be tricky to tell when they need replacing - so be prepared for a little trial and error before you achieve consistent results.
This company ships their 'nuts' in biodegradable packs, which includes a cloth bag, and encourages you to buy in bulk. A 1 kg Family Bag for $39.90 is enough for one to two years' worth of washing! www.wildsoapnuts.com.au

Miracle Wash Laundry Balls

Throw these nobbly plastic contraptions in with your wash: the biodegradable pellets inside do the cleaning, soften clothes through raising the pH of the water. The formula contains no petrochemicals, sodium lauryl sulfate, boron or animal derivatives. It does contain sodium and phosphates, but
at extremely low levels.
One laundry ball will wash loads up to 3 kg. An introductory pack of two laundry balls containing pellets, two refills (pellets need replacing every six months or so), and phosphate-free stain remover costs $87.50. www.laundryball.com.au

NanoSmart Dryer Ball

Resembling the laundry ball on the outside but without the ceramic beads inside, dryer balls are designed to bounce around in your dryer, separating clothes as they go. The action of the balls fluffs up clothes and towels and reduces the need for ironing. The company that makes them claims using them will reduce drying time by as much as 30 per cent, saving electricity and emissions. Of course, drying clothes on a line or clothes horse uses no electricity at all, but if you must use your dryer, these balls will help you do it in the most efficient way.
You can order at set of two for $13.95 at www.nanochoice.com.au

G TIP: Make your own
These DIY formulas are easy, safe and cheap as chips. Give them a go!

- Making your own laundry powder is actually pretty easy. Equal parts bicarb soda, washing soda and soap flakes will keep clothes fresh and clean - but you may need to add an oxygen-based bleach for bright whites.

- Bicarb and baking soda are effective natural deodorisers. Or, for a customised laundry scent, add a few drops of your favourite essential oil to the wash.

- Added to your wash as a fabric softener and deodoriser, white vinegar is a bit of a laundry all-star. A squirt of hair conditioner makes a great fabric softener alternative.