Nearly all commercial brands of laundry detergent and fabric softener leave chemical residues on your clothes which can irritate the skin. And while most are made to biodegrade within a matter of days, their manufacturing process is far from ecological. For a healthier environment, buy washing powders and liquids which use only vegetable based detergents. For everyday stains, non biological detergents are perfectly adequate. Try to avoid fabric softeners altogether.
Choose powders over liquids and, since we all tend to use more detergent than necessary to wash clothes, use less of whichever type you buyTry pure soap flakes instead of detergent. Add 1/2 cup of borax or vinegar to the rinse to remove soapy residue. Vinegar has the advantage of acting like a fabric softener and is a mould inhibitor as well
To remove heavy soils, add 1 teaspoon of trisodiumphosphate (TSP) to the wash. Borax and washing soda (sodium carbonate) can also remove heavy stains
To remove perspiration and odours, pretreat with baking soda, white vinegar or borax dissolved in water. These ingredients can also be added to the wash to freshen the load
Make use of a washing line if you have one. The sun's rays are the best bleaching agent in the world. Clothes that have been gently dried in the sun also tend to be naturally softer than those tumbled in the dryer.