On the Soapbox, Just for a Minute- How Do You Do Your Laundry?


I am sure, if I asked, you would say that you care deeply for the environment.

But are you taking any actions that “buck the system?” Changing any habits? Doing any weird stuff that gets you funny looks?

Or are you despairing that these small actions on your part can’t solve the world’s problems, and excusing yourself?

Remember the Margaret Mead quote: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”


And: “The notion that we are products of our environment is our greatest sin; we are products of our choices.


And finally: “You know my fury about people is based precisely on the fact that I consider them to be responsible, moral creatures who so often do not act that way.


Now, I could talk here about participating less in rampant consumerism, or eating less meat, or walking when you can, or supporting cleaner energy sources, or using your precious vote for politicians daring to support the environment, or using fewer plastic carry-out containers, or receiving fewer Amazon boxes at your door…

But I promised this soapbox would be a short minute so I am going to tell you about my laundry detergent decision.

If you search for “laundry sheets” you will find some choices. These are dry, slim, sheets formed solely of detergent. You fold one up (or tear off a half sheet, for a small load) in the detergent drawer and it works. Why is this a good thing?

Consider the big plastic jug of laundry detergent you probably now buy. It is durable, thick plastic. We need to produce less plastic, remember?! It is heavy, and it has been transported in trucks that used fossil fuels and produced air, noise and light pollution. And then you had to carry that heavy detergent to your car and then into your home.

And why is it so heavy? Because they took the detergent and mixed it with water for you. But why, you have water coming out of your faucets at home, and into your washing machine? Doesn’t this seem silly, once you think about it?

So my suggestion to you today is to make one small, enlightened change. Use a light, dry laundry sheet that came packaged in paper. Why wouldn’t you?

And who knows what other changes might occur to you?

Photo credit: The Guardian.com

9 thoughts on “On the Soapbox, Just for a Minute- How Do You Do Your Laundry?

  1. Well, first of all, you had my at “soapbox.” Let me tell you, I’ve got a million of those!

    My changes to laundry? Switching to cold water. Using reusable natural wool balls instead of dryer sheets. =))

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am using the dryer less after participating in the NY Times forum with my seventh graders. We learned that the dryer is a voracious appliance. Let me tell you, living in a temperate, damp coastal town has made this decision a challenging one, but I feel good about it. (I use Tide Eco-box, but I think I’ll give laundry sheets a try. )Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, you take me back to the days I made my own laundry detergent using gylcerin, the yellow Fels Naptha soap I grated like cheese, and boiling water. It cost cents on the load, was eco-friendly and septic safe, and lasted forever. You inspire me to want to whip up a new batch. Thanks for this post today!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. After months of complaining to my husband about plastic detergent and softener bottles, I ordered laundry and softener sheets several months ago. I’m using Clean People but will try others, too, after researching their efficacy. We have a low water use front loading machine. I’m kenny aware of water issues since I live in an arid environment. But through the Climate Solutions Book Club and the books I’m reading, I also know what is marketed as environmentally friendly, such as organic produce, isn’t necessarily so. Switching detergent, however, is an easy, feel-good gesture. I hate all that plastic.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s so funny, because I am contemplating making the switch but was hampered by the idea that these sheets actually put tiny plastic particles in our water supply. Can you believe it? So one is cutting down on huge plastic jug manufacturing, and plastic in landfill but creating yet still another problem! I am still on the fence. I think sadly we can’t stop putting plastic in our water system. i think the sheets might be the lesser of the two evils.


  6. I’ve been using these for a while. I love them! They take up so little space and are really easy to travel with too. I was worried they wouldn’t clean well, so I started out only using them for towels and sheets, but now I use them for anything. They work great in cold water.

    I love your post because people think that changing their habits is impossible. But everyone can make one little change at a time. I have my own grocery bags, I use the clothesline all summer, I use only cold water to wash, etc. Every little thing we do counts!


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