You are viewing sanjidaoconnel

Sanjida O'Connell

Dr Sanjida O'Connell is a writer and a TV presenter. Sanjida writes about science and green issues. Her latest novel, The Naked Name of Love, was published by John Murray in March. Her latest TV series was on BBC 2: Nature's Top 40, and was a guide to our top British wildlife spectacles. Find more details about Sanjida's work at her website, sanjida.co.uk

Previous Entry | Next Entry

 

Last week I wrote about the potential environmental problems with detergents – this week is a summary of the laundry products I think are the best. I warn you now, that as a trained scientist, I am aware that I have carried out a number of shockingly unscientific and wholly subjective tests. But I have trialled many products literally for years and have recently had the help of a number of my ecologically-minded neighbours. My problem is that LFM* and I do a lot of exercise so we’re concerned with sweat and mud. I realise people with children may well be more bothered about milk vomit and grass and others might be fixated on Shiraz stains. The bottom line is that if you want totally clean, sweat-free clothes, most eco detergents don’t cut it. It’s not surprising, says Phil Patterson, a textile consultant and founder of Colour Connections. He points out that to clean clothes you need hot water, lots of it, and detergent. Modern washing machines are designed to operate with less water and at lower temperatures than they used to do, which means you’re heavily reliant on the cleaning power of your detergent. Here’s my take on the best environmentally-friendly ones:

 

Soap pods– the nut of the Indian sapindus tree. They naturally contain soap (saponin) and work pretty well. Put 5-6 in a little bag, tie firmly, use three times and then compost. A totally free option I’ve read about is to use peeled conkers.

£10.50 for 500g

 

Ecoballs – they contain mineral salts and work by ionizing oxygen, which lifts out the dirt and grime. They’ll only work if you use all three and don’t put any detergent in with them.

£34.95 for three

Ingredients: Anionic surfactants, calcium carbonate, sodium carbonate, sodium metasilicate

 

On the plus side, these are both very green options: you can reduce fabric conditioner (and don’t need it for the balls) as well as the length of the rinse cycle and you’ll be releasing almost no chemicals. Also, per wash, they’re pretty cheap – Ecozone, the manufacturer of the original ecoballs, claim that they cost 3p per wash; soap pods are meant to be 50% cheaper than conventional or alternative laundry products. The balls are made of plastic but you can refill them with mineral pellets after 1,000 laundry cycles. However, neither option shifts stubborn stains, like make-up, or ingrained sweat, and the ecoballs made the colour run in my sports tops. The laundry doesn’t have that fresh (chemically-produced smell) we’re used to; the manufacturers suggest you add essential oils. Five drops didn’t do anything, fifteen made LFM smell like a flower and stained his shirts, which didn’t go down too well (eight seems to work).

 

Ecover stain remover  - recommended to me by a number of people. You paint it onto your clothes before you stick them in the wash. The eco balls also come with a stain remover (and a 30 day money-back trial period). Ecover is not recommended for wool or silk but is supposed to remove grease and protein stains such as blood, egg, grass, mud, milk, sweat, ice cream.

£2.89 for 200ml

Ingredients: Alkyl poly glycoside C10-16, sodium lauryl ether sulfate, sodium chloride, ethanol, perfume, cellulase, citric acid, subtilisin 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol linalool

 

 

Daylesford organics laundry liquid (concentrated) – the ingredients are all natural, organic and are not tested on animals. The detergent smells gorgeous as it is scented with either geranium or lavender essential oils. Good for wool, silk, cold or handwash cycles – don’t expect it to get rid of dirt and sweat in a normal wash. Plus it’s relatively expensive.

£4.75 for 1 litre

Ingredients: Vegetable oil soap, aqua, glucose-derived detergent, ethanol, natural anionic detergent, citrates, citric acid, geranium oil

 

AlmaWin heavy duty laundry powder (concentrated) – this was the best of all the environmentally-friendly alternatives I’ve tried (although, in general, modern machines work better with liquids rather than powder and you need to put the powder in the drum, not the drawer). The power contains no brighteners, petrochemicals, phosphates, chlorine, bulking agents, or colour-additives. It’s not the cheapest or the most eco option (compared to pods and balls) and it does contain biological enzymes (protease). Like enzymes in any detergent they will get your clothes cleaner, but they don’t just dissolve stains, they also go to work on fabric so your clothes will not last quite as long, and some people have an allergic reaction to them. Smells quite fresh, although not of lavender, which is what it contains. AlmaWin points out that the protease enzyme is the only one on the market that is not created by genetic engineering… AlmaWin was on a par with conventional detergents like Ariel and Persil, with the added benefit of containing no nasty chemicals, fewer allergens and is not tested on animals.

£7.80 per 1kg

Ingredients: saccharoidal surfactant, fatty alcohol sulphate, vegetable soap, phyllosilicates, soda, sodium bicarbonate, sodium percarbonate, poly aspartic acid, rice starch, citric acid, natural proteases, TAED, organic lavender essential oil

 

Bio-D concentrated laundry liquid (concentrated) – this doesn’t smell great in the bottle but has a nice, fresh, faint clean smell when the clothes are laundered. Shifted both dirt and all but the very worst sweat and does not contain enzymes. Bio-D comes in a recycled plastic bottle. Junky Styling, London-based designers who create fantastic garments from old suits and shirts, warn that soap can leave a scum stain on your clothes, although I haven’t found this so far. Since the ingredients for both Bio-D and Daylesford Organics are identical (apart from the essential oils) I’m concluding that it must be the amounts of the ingredients that varies.

£3.85 per litre

Ingredients: Vegetable oil soap, aqua, glucose-derived detergent, ethanol, natural anionic detergents, citrates, citric Acid

 

Good luck!

 

*LFM – Lovely Frisbee Man

 Photo of Eco balls courtesy of Ecozone


Comments

Ecover
bobbellinhell wrote:
Sunday, 26 July 2009 at 07:24 pm (UTC)
Ecover biological powder works perfectly well, with the Ecover stain remover for hard cases.
Good
linwenf wrote:
Friday, 24 December 2010 at 03:24 am (UTC)

Community ChurchThe store allegedly sold the investigator a $25 tan and blue handbag later moncler for sale determined to be fake bearing Coach's copyrighted designs, according to the lawsuit "He never said sorry and never spoke about it again A gown taking 600 hours of handiwork or more can cost $100,000 and the jewellery millions Lemonade and cookies will be available I ugg uk could not see Chris but I heard the shots cheap moncler coats and I was screaming at Sam to come inside In some ways he does do this, but at uggs australia the same time uggs outlet his testimony serves only to stir ugg boots us the pot of intrigue Why not just say, This is John and Mary, and our grandkids, ugg boots online Laurie and Jimmy?She guards her privacy scrupulously C yet is the focus of much ugg cheap rumour and speculation in Londons Arab community By Marthe Stinton, Call the church at ugg for sale 304-342-0058 for more information Notices will be run uggs online one time free But they're in good companyImmersed in all this physical beauty and sensual cheap ugg boots uk pleasure, it's easy to fall ugg boots clearance us into the affair -- even though leads Anna ugg australia Mouglalis and Mads ugg boots uk Mikkelsen feel astonishingly cold for red-hot lovers

llugg wrote:
Thursday, 20 January 2011 at 07:10 am (UTC)

On the other hand, perhaps you ugg boots uk work in an office clearance sale ugg boots where uggs uk your ugg boots sale boss expects you ugg australia sale to look smart at uggs clearance outlet all times. For this occasion, shoes need to be ugg boots uk traditional ugg boots clearance and ugg boots sale uk conservative uggs outlet - ugg uk this is good news for ugg boots uk the fashion conscious men among ugg boots uk us, these styles of shoe are ageless classics, ugg australia sale uk always instilling an appearance discount uggs uk of cheap ugg boots sophistication upon the wearer. A ugg australia uk decent pair ugg boots sale of ugg boots store work shoes can work wonders ugg boots clearance for a man's style.

Advertisement

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Report Comment

To report an offensive comment for review, please send a Personal Message and provide a link to the comment. The moderators will review it and take action if necessary.
Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by chasethestars