Before you purchase that state-of-the-art stackable washer and dryer or tote your clothes to the chemically-inclined dry cleaner, see what Mother Nature, i.e. the weather, can do for all your fabric care needs. The following article discusses some time honored methods of organically laundering clothes, draperies and fabrics, using the sun, rain and snow.
The sun provides a traditional method of bleaching linen. Linen, which is made from the stems of the flax plant, is generally durable when it is high quality. To bleach your linens in the sun, spread them out while still damp on a large sheet on the ground. Let the sun go to work for several hours. Linen dries very fast, but crinkled. Treat your sun-bleached linens to some ironing and they may appear good as new.
For gentle washing with absolutely no agitation, treat your favorite sweaters, old quilts and even carpets to a rain washing. This is nature's gentlest way of washing clothes. Employ a clothesline and place your soiled garments over a sheet on the clothesline just before a rainstorm. Allow the rainwater to pour through them. You may want to add some Woolite or some mild shampoo for heavily soiled items. When rain washing woolens, be sure to shake them well before bringing them indoors; wool garments are a favorite place for insects to lay their eggs.
Snow cleaning is a great and safe alternative to dry cleaning, especially for handmade items and wool rugs. Dry snow is more effective than a heavy wet snow for laundering fabric. Also, the colder the temperature the better for snow cleaning. Just as with rain washing, hang the garments on a clothesline during a snowfall. The fallen snow gently rubs dirt away and leaves your garments cool and fresh.
A windy day is also a great way to freshen up bedding like duvet cover and quilts. Comforters should be regularly aired out and given a new fluff. Harnessing the wind's power to freshen up these items as well as other stored garments will keep your items fresh and ready for use.
Besides washing, let the great outdoors dry your clothes as well. This energy-efficient method is both effective and inexpensive provided you have a clothesline, clothespins and a sturdy laundry basket. A breezy day with little humidity is the best kind of day to dry your clothes. A good breeze will dry the items quickly and probably blow most of the wrinkles away.
Allowing Mother Nature to do some of the dirty work when it comes to fabric care is not only inexpensive, but is gentle on your clothes and an organic way to clean safely without chemicals.