The Great Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergent … or Determent?

So it’s one of those picture perfect beautiful, late Spring days.  The kind that are hot enough to take a dip, but cool enough to be outside in the sun and not roast.  It’s been a much cooler week here.  When an opportunity to spend some time sunbathing in the beloved Vitamin D I’ve been missing out on over the years comes, I take it. An old friend invites me to hang at her pool, so of course my yard work responsibilities go out the window.  The truth is, I’d been slacking on my duties most of the week. So, in an attempt to feel like I accomplished something before I go, I choose to do laundry as I’m on my last leg of the “necessary under garments.” Might as well utilize the day I’ll be spending in my bikini…a perfect trade off 😉 I think.

Like I said before, I’m here experimenting with myself, finding out what sustainable practices I can implement and find I will live with and what I won’t.  Now, when it comes to laundry, I’m not at a point of washing my clothes by hand or anything so I still use the regular old washer.  If eco-friendly detergent was available I woulda used that. Promise. Instead, I grab the “#1 Pediatricians Pick” detergent left behind by the previous residents, my brother and his family.  It’s either this or some off brand detergent.  Somehow I justify the Pediatrician Pick to be “better” for the environment than the offbrand, gotta love marketing schemes, right?  Could I be anymore well trained?  Just to make me feel better I toss in some of my beloved baking soda (my favorite all-natural, all-purpose household product).  If any of you have seen “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,”  I am about my baking soda the way the father is about his Windex.  Trust me, it works for everything, the baking soda, that is.

Anyways, I say a quick sorry to the earth for not having bought another detergent by now.  It balances out with the fact that I I’m not using the dryer though, right?  hmmm… maybe, but probably not . So let’s make up for it:  I turn the cycle to the shortest, filling it with cold water and in my clothes go.  Geez… why does something as simple as washing clothes feel like such a moral dilemma?  I guess it’s the nature of the age as more environmental awareness and practices rise to take precedence over our consumerism and convenience we’ve so comfortably grown up with.  And so is, the nature of my experiment as well.

20 minutes later my clothes are ready and waiting for their own dosage of Vitamin D.  I get them out and put them on the line one by one to dry in the sun.  Why is it that a task so domestic feels so right and so good?  Feels like a task thats gotta be in the genes by now.  Maybe it’s the image of all those damn Downy commercials of perfectly white, bright, sun-dried linens blowing in the gentle breeze.  Or,  it’s just the fact that I know the outcome of my “hard days work” will give me a solid wardrobe again.  Either way, after I hang each piece, I sit back and take a look at the picturesque day with the sunlit clothes hanging so neatly on the line.  All the colors lit up from the sun’s glow look like my own little rainbow.  Aw … how perfect.  I take it all in.  Downy’s got nothin’ on me right now.  With a satisfied sense of accomplishment and semi-attempt at good will, I head out with some friends for a day at the pool.

One of the things I love about Northern Virginia spring and summer is no matter how hot it gets, we can always count on a late-day thunderstorm to cool things off for a bit.  So, while I’m enjoying good company, conversation and pool time, the voluminous, dark clouds begin to roll in around us.  At this point, my laundry was the furthest thing from my mind.  As the wind picks up and the thunder crashes around us, we call it a day and head off on our way into the dark sky.  Somewhere between the pool and town, the deeper blue and darker grey colors hovering over us suddenly remind me I need to get home.

The rain begins to fall the closer we get to my house and by the time I arrive, it’s pouring.  My friend Kristen and I race around gathering my clothes that once had been hanging so perfectly on the line were now strewn about all over the ground – casualties from the storms brewing winds.  Damnit… Downy’s got one up on me now… as the commercials always fade out focusing in on a cloudless, sunny sky.

Laughing hysterically at the irony of the situation while becoming just as soaked as the casualty clothing, we run around gathering it up.  If I’ve learned anything in life, it is this:  Life has one big fucking sense of humor –  and so can we. So … Laugh, take it in stride, enjoy the ride, do the best you can at the time and work with what you have.  Oh the how I love irony – so much for trying to help the environment on this one, into the dryer they go.  Maybe next time…

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5 thoughts on “The Great Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergent … or Determent?

  1. glad to see your still laughing. Ever heard the saying by shantaram: “If fate doesn’t make you laugh, then you just don’t get the joke” ? Not quite for everyday laughs, but close. Much love!

  2. no one uses dryers here… we looked into getting one, but they are overly expensive and don’t work very well. Not to mention the cost of running one. Most dry their clothes inside in an area that gets a lot of sun, but is not outside so it doesn’t get wet. Ingenious I tells ya!

    • oh man, if only we had a place like that in the house…hmmm, actually I think maybe my room upstairs would do. I never realized how dark our house was until now. Maybe it’s the darker paint, but it’s definitely darker and cooler than I remember growing up. But yes, ingenious idea, I shall try.

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