Fragrance Free Laundry

How To Wash Clothes for the Chemically Sensitive

Fragrance Free Laundry
Fragrance Free Laundry
Laundry products seem to be some of the most heavily scented products on the market. I have never been able to use scented laundry products. They are so strong today that I can’t be near my neighbor’s dryer vents when their dryer was running.

For years, I used the unscented dryer sheets, although I’ve since learned there are not so chemicals in them either. Worse, they’re manufactured in the same place as the scented sheets, and stored there too. So, they still have fragrances. What’s a girl to do?

I have come up with my own recipe for how to clean clothes that I have used for years. It’s not perfect, but it works well for us. And the best part? We actually have clean clothes that smell fresh and clean. Without all those added chemicals.

Here’s How I Wash Clothes

All Free & Clear – This product is made from petroleum products and is the one part I may change one day. But it doesn’t really seem to bother us and the alternatives are expensive. I did try the brand from our local warehouse store, but it caused me much itching!

Baking soda – This actually helps get odors out of clothes. Be sure it dissolves completely or else you’ll wind up with white spots on your dark clothes. I run the cup full of baking soda under warm water while the machine fills. We buy large bags of baking soda at our local warehouse store. I use 1 cup of baking soda per load.

Vinegar – Vinegar helps remove soap and odors. Actually does the same function as all the fabric softeners but it doesn’t stink and it costs a lot less! Our local grocery sells 9% vinegar which is what we use. We buy vinegar in 1 gallon jugs. You can use regular vinegar as well. I use 1 cup of vinegar and put it into the rinse dispenser.

Laundry for Chemical Sensitivity Dryer Balls
Photo Courtesy Brandi Jordan via Flickr

Dryer Balls – This part of laundry has evolved more than any other. They help control static and also to soften. I first used balled up aluminum foil, 3 or 4 in the dryer. They worked but would eventually begin to deteriorate, which got messy. Then someone suggested tennis balls but I was concerned about the chemicals that they might contain. A friend gave me these dryer balls which I have used for years. But I also found these wool dryer balls that I’m considering because they are more natural. Plus, they claim to reduce drying time!

Caveat: Our laundry consists, almost exclusively, of 100% cotton or cotton & polyester blend items. On the rare occasions when a synthetic goes through the dryer, it will still have static. But overall, it seems less. I can’t guarantee what your laundry will be like if it is mostly synthetics.

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3 thoughts on “How To Wash Clothes for the Chemically Sensitive”

  1. I had issues with the ALL free & clear product. The only thing I can use (store bought) without any reaction is Tide’s free & gentle product. I also had to switch away from dryer sheets to the dryer balls that you mentioned–they work great! My Fiancee can’t stand the smell of vinegar so that option is out, though I believe it does do a great job. I’ve also had issues with neighbors dryer vents driving me crazy. There’s were times when it litterally fragranced the entire block– it was obscene. I have a hard time getting formaldehyde out of clothes at time, any secret to that? I’ve had to donate a number of new clothing items just becuase the initial wash or two didn’t rid the materials of that horrible chemical.

    1. Thanks for visiting Nick, and thanks for the comment. I do think there may be better detergent products out there, but I currently stick with what is working.
      Regarding vinegar, the smell does not hang around in the clothes, but it works really well to soften fabric by removing more of the soap.
      As for clothes with formaldehyde, I try to buy clothes that haven’t been treated with it to begin with.

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