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Thread: Primal Laundry page

  1. #1
    Mick's Avatar
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    I feel I bit of a prat using the word "primal" in this kind of context - but there; it's done.


    I heard an archaeologist talking about laundry. She said that in the old days women used to use lye, made from ashes, and cold water. They packed all the clothing - heavy linen sheets, linen shirts, wool garments in a barrel-like container called a buck. They'd carry that down to a river. (Carrying bucks - hence the phrase "the buck stops here".)


    Only quite recently did soap and hot water come in. In medieval times soap wasn't so freely available, but wood ash was. With the gradual switch to coal for fuel, there was a move to soap. That needs hot water, unlike lye, so women stopped doing their washing down at the river. They lathered the clothes up in a tub with a wooden dolly. These housewives, and women who specialized in this - washerwomen - could probably have beaten the Governor of California at arm wrestling!


    What she said about the current situation is quite interesting. She says the current situation is now different again: it is, of course, a washing machine rather than muscle power, and detergent rather than soap. But she says she doesn't use detergent at all. She says it's grossly expensive, not needed, makes the clothes itchy and uncomfortable, and pollutes rivers.


    She says she's got a whole battery of harmless household substances she uses on particular stains - things like vinegar - rather than a lot of bought stain-removers that have God knows what in them. Apart from that, she just uses a good hot wash with no detergent, and she says extensive testing and experience has shown her that hot water is sufficient to clean normally soiled clothes. She says it takes two or three washes after you stop using detergent till the clothes turn soft.


    How about this? I think this is quite interesting. At a basic level, I quite like the idea simply of not using a pre-packaged item from a mega-combine that'll only care about profit and will be quite happy to sell you something you don't need. I don't think much of harmful processed foods; I don't use antiperspirants and deodorants, because I stay clean, and I don't need to poison my body with aluminium. I recently read mouthwash is just as capable of killing healthy bacteria in your mouth, and real dental health begins with diet, and I'm wondering about throwing out that bottle of chemicals, too.


    So what else are they selling me I don't need? If that archaeologist is managing fine without detergent, do I need it? But it's not just paying for things you don't need.


    The issue of polluting rivers really does concern me. I don't think we can go on how we are: buying what we're told we need without paying attention to what it's doing to ourselves or the environment around us.


  2. #2
    eva's Avatar
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    there are many flowers that contain saponine which have probably been used as cleaning agents for tens of thousands of years...

    challenge yourself
    i blog here http://theprimalwoman.blogspot.com/

  3. #3
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    I've tried leaving out the detergent. I've also tried vinegar. Unfortunately, the B.O. lingers, particularly on the clothing of teenage-boys.


  4. #4
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    Soapnuts work well for laundry. I use them to wash my hair, actually, but I have also used them for laundry and they work great.


    Soapwort root is much harder to get now in the USA, but I used to use that for washing my hair and it was very nice. Never tried it for laundry though, but apparently museums use it for cleaning delicate old tapestries. Soapwort grows as a weed in most of the US and is highly invasive. I tried planting some in a pot but haven't had much growth from it yet.


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    Using less detergent is a start; for normally soiled clothes you only really need about half of what the pack recommends. Saves you a bit of money and pollutes the rivers a bit less, and less risk of getting these white marks all over your clothes.


    Pretty sure Ecover etc. do "environmentally friendly" detergents, need to give these a look.


  6. #6
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    Interesting. I've been looking at the "natural" detergents as well, since I also would like to stop putting harmful things down the drain. I clean my counters with ammonia/vinegar, mostly stopped using deoderant (and when you don't use it you don't need it as much I find, interesting), and stopped using any bodywash with the little beads because they get into the rivers and oceans too (and then switched to bar soap, not sure if I like it yet). I hate mouthwash and just floss and brush my teeth.


    Not buying laundry detergent would be great though...maybe I'll try hot water a couple of times without telling the hubby and see if he even notices. I don't think this works for dishwashers though, I have to buy the nicer detergent to get my dishes clean, because the cheap stuff doesn't even work. Unless it's like the laundry detergent where you really don't need anything...huh...maybe I'll test that too.

    You are what you eat,
    and what you eat eats too - Michael Pollan


  7. #7
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    Hannahc, you brought up some other things that I do too! I don't use commercial deodorant either, I use diluted Geranium EO and it works amazingly well! DH has been using Nutmeg EO, so manly and awesome smelling, drives me crazy!


    Also I use a homemade tooth powder made of baking soda with sweet orange EO, cinnamon EO, and tea tree EO. Works beautifully and my dentist wholeheartedly approves of my teeth and gums!


  8. #8
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    @Mick, a very interesting post! Until about 20 years ago, I've seen my grandma using ash to clean dishes in India. Ground soapnuts were used to wash hair and sometimes in lieu of soap for the body. Powdered mung bean mixed with water and turmeric which has antibiotic properties was used for the body too. This was the case mostly until about late 80s, not that there were no soaps available before then. But these practices were common. Then with the move towards market economy in the 90s, a whole lot of new products were pushed into the country and I suspect these traditional methods are fast dying.


    @eva: I believe hibiscus is one of them. Ground hibiscus flowers are added to soapnut powder for home made shampoo.


    @marika: Where can I find soapnut and soapwort in the US? Mind sharing the procedure for making the home-made tooth powder?


    @hannahc: LOL, that's what I'm going to do too, not tell the hubby and try it out.


    I've noticed that my skin doesn't feel dry after going primal and as a result, I don't use any moisturizer. I still use Oil of Olay for my face. Any recommendations for natural products for the face?


    Mick, once again, a great thread.


  9. #9
    marika's Avatar
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    @maba, you can find soapnuts at Amazon.com or naturoli.com. Actually since I've been using them for my hair, I've become rather picky and I order mine from the UK, they are especially nice ones: http://www.gogreen.cellande.co.uk/shop/products/soapnuts/soapnuts.php


    Soapwort is exceptionally hard to find now in the US. The only place I've found it is Dragon Herbarium in Portland, OR (they have an online store but I've never used it).


    Also for my tooth powder, I fill a jar with 3 tablespoons of baking powder and add in (I'm going from memory here so bear with me) approx. 18 drops sweet orange EO, 10 drops of cinnamon (cassia) EO, and 3-5 drops of tea tree oil, and mix that up really well. To use it just wet your toothbrush and dip it in. Tastes great and works wonderfully, even convinced DH!


  10. #10
    maba's Avatar
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    Marika, thanks a ton. At the risk of sounding like a pest, what brand of BP do you use - I hear the commercially available ones have aluminum? And where can I find the EOs? And how long does the amount mentioned last?


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