Tag Archives: Laundry Detergent

Tested Life Hack: Using Vinegar to Reduce Static in the Dryer

Like a lot of people – most people, I would assume – I’ve been using dryer sheets to get rid of static in the dryer. In addition, these dryer sheets gave my laundry a pleasant, fresh smell. I’ve been using Bounce and the Kirkland Signature equivalent for years.

One of my colleagues brought to my attention the fact that dryer sheets are full of nasty chemicals, and that I’d be better off without them. Courtesy of HealthyLivingHowTo, here’s a list of the disgusting stuff you can expect to find in a typical dryer sheet:

  • Alpha-Terpineol causes central nervous system disorders. Can also cause loss of muscular coordination, central nervous system depression, and headache.
  • Benzyl Alcohol causes central nervous system disorders, headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, central nervous system depression, and, in severe cases, death.
  • Camphor on the US EPA’s Hazardous Waste list. Central nervous system stimulant, causes dizziness, confusion, nausea, twitching muscles, and convulsions.
  • Chloroform on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list. Neurotoxic and carcinogenic.
  • Ethyl Acetate on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list. Narcotic. May cause headaches and narcosis (stupor).
  • Linalool causes central nervous system disorders. Narcotic. In studies of animals, it caused ataxic gait (loss of muscular coordination), reduced spontaneous motor activity, and depression.
  • Pentane causes headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, and loss of consciousness. Repeated inhalation of vapours causes central nervous system depression.

None of that is particularly appealing, and most of it is downright scary! After our last box of dryer sheets was done, my wife and I started looking for alternatives.

We tried a ball of foil in the dryer, which sort of worked, except that you’re always looking for said ball of foil. We ended up having little foil balls all over the house, which was kind of annoying, and you don’t want to always be looking for it when you need it.

My colleague, who’s a little bit of a hippie, had told me that you shouldn’t use anything to wash your clothes that you wouldn’t put in your mouth, and told me about using vinegar to replace the laundry detergent. While I wasn’t quite ready for that, research revealed that using a half-cup of vinegar in your laundry would help break down the laundry detergent, and soften your clothes as well. I decided to give it a shot.

What I do is put about half the laundry detergent I used to use, or half of what’s recommended by the company, and about a half cup of vinegar directly on the clothes before starting the washing machine. I let the cycle run its course, then transfer the damp clothes or towels to the dryer.

That’s it. Nothing else to add.

The clothes come out of the dryer completely static-free, without the dryer sheet health hazard, and without relatively effective but incredibly annoying balls of foil.

Allen's Pure White Vinegar at Costco

Allen’s Pure White Vinegar at Costco

I can get about 10 liters of Allen’s Pure White Vinegar at Costco for about 5 dollars. Assuming you don’t use the vinegar for anything else, that means you can get about 80 loads worth of laundry done with it, for a price per load of about 6-7 pennies. It’s more expensive than dryer sheets, for sure – Kirkland Signature ones are about 2 pennies each – but what you spend in dollars you get back in knowing you’re not putting all sort of nasty chemicals on your body.

Of course, please make sure to use only pure white vinegar, not balsamic vinegar, or your clothes may come out a little worse for wear, stained and smelling like a salad.

Using vinegar to reduce static in the dryer works very well, and I’ve been doing it for about a month now. I’m never going back to nasty dryer sheets, and I encourage everyone to do the same and unless you really, really overdo it on the vinegar, your clothes will only smell freshly laundered, not like salt-and-vinegar chips.

Let me know of your experiences in the comments, if you have other alternatives or any other hacks you feel I should try, I look forward to hearing from you and learning new things!

Purex Dirt Lift Action 150 Loads at Costco: Product Review

Over the years, I have seen for myself what soap and detergent manufacturers have known for years: people are just as attached to their brand of detergent than smokers are attached to their brand of cigarettes. The concept of brand loyalty is one I know well, and I know that advertisers spend billions making sure we stay with our brand, or try to make us switch to a new one, whatever the product may be. In the case of detergent, there is something else I’ve discovered: they more or less all do the same thing. This is why I always opt for the least expensive option, in the confident knowledge that my clothes will be acceptably clean. This is why I almost always buy the Purex Dirt Lift Action at Costco.

Purex Dirt Lift Action (150 loads)  6.92 liters

Purex Dirt Lift Action (150 loads) 6.92 liters

In this instance, I bought the Purex with the ‘After the Rain’ perfume. I honestly can’t tell the difference between that and another one, but it smells clean and fresh. Good enough for me!

Like most modern laundry detergents, Purex Dirt Lift Action contains no phosphates, which are terrible for the environment, and the container is made from 25% or more of post-consumer recycled plastic.

The first thing to know about Purex is this: it is supremely affordable. I always buy it on special at Costco, and this time was no exception. The regular price for this jug of detergent is $14.99, with a $4 instant rebate. Each container contains 150 loads, more or less, so the price per load is a very affordable 7.36 pennies. Even if you’re more generous than you should with the soap, you could ramp this up to a dime a load and it would still be a good deal.

Each Purex Dirt Lift Action container contains 6.92 liters of detergent, which is quite a bit. This means that the container weighs somewhere between 15 and 20 pounds, so you don’t want to be moving around a lot. It’s enough of a pain just to get it home. Hopefully you can have a setup where you can have the container just over the washer, and just hit the spout button to pour directly into the washer. I know that’s what I have, and it’s great.

When it comes to performance, the Purex Dirt Lift Action really works. Even though I always use cold water, even if the container does not specify it, I feel like I get maximum results at a minimal costs. Stains come out relatively easily, and colors don’t bleed. I generally don’t even have to sort clothes. It helps that we mostly wear dark colors.

The Purex website specifies that all Purex products will work in cold water, even if they do not specifically mention it. Since 90% of the energy consumption of a load of laundry is the energy required to heat the water, cold water laundry is really a no-brainer. In addition, this version of the Purex Laundry Detergent is specifically formulated for High Efficiency machines, which mine is, but will work on all types of machines, even the older, water-hungry ones.

All in all, I am very satisfied with my budget purchase; the Purex Dirt Lift Action (150 loads) I buy at Costco is extremely affordable, and works with all types of dirty clothes and stains, from jeans to shirts and socks and everything else in between. Obviously some stains require pre-treatment prior to the wash, but that’s the case no matter the detergent you’re using. If you’ve not tried Purex Dirt Lift Action yet, do your wallet a favor and give it a shot.