Plastic Free Laundry

I’m going to start this post with recognition that I have failed to keep to my new years resolution to post on the blog frequently. This also coincided with a bit of blog loathing (my own) so it is only recently that I have been able to even look at my blog. However Plastic Free July has definitely prompted me to put aside my blog insecurities and post something before the month is over.

Laundry. It’s not everyone’s most favourite task, however it’s a crucial task that keeps a household ticking. It can be a wasteful task in terms of water usage, packaging from laundry detergents and powders as well as costly to the home and environment through electricity usage. Here’s how we tackle laundry at home that is not completely waste free however it is mindful of waste:

Zero Waste Laundry powder:

1kg washing soda crystals + 1 bar grated soap

I buy washing soda crystals in bulk at bin inn and buy unpackaged soap from Huckleberry Farms or markets.

I use approximately one tablespoon per wash.


I wash everyday as I use cloth nappies for my baby. To wash the nappies I put them through a 20 min rinse cycle first then add any other laundry to the cycle for a cold wash. We haven’t experienced a significant rise on our water bill since using cloth nappies, we are actually on the low scale of water usage for a family of four.

Quick tip: add fresh lemon juice to the rinse compartment to whiten fabrics.

Laundry basket:

I replaced our broken plastic laundry basket with two cane baskets bought at a local op shop. The cane baskets will not last forever but they can be broken down and composted to be turned into a renewable resource.


Our new drying rack is made by a NZ company called Black Sand.

I use a wooden laundry rack to predominately dry nappies that I have just recently purchased (birthday present to myself). Our old one was falling to pieces so we decided to make an investment buying a NZ made wooden rack that will last longer than it’s plastic coated metal counterparts. Placing this in front of the ranch slider where there is all day sunlight luckily takes up little space in our small home and is easily manoeuvred outside when there are clear skies. Having a laundry line under the car port works well for as able to dry our clothes all year round, with assistance from the hot water cupboard during the winter months.


Our broken rack and laundry basket will be put out in the inorganic collection which with the new changes to inorganics in Auckland will be recycled at new community led recycling centres. See the link for more info -

I would be keen to hear from others as to how they wash and dry their laundry whilst being mindful of waste.


Real Cleaning


As an earlier post mentioned I am upping my sustainable ways as a way to reduce our living costs and consequently reduce our waste. I have been experimenting with various concoctions of  baking soda, white vinegar, lemons, sunlight soap and essential oil for cleaning my home and my body and I have been getting amazing results! I no longer need to buy:

  • toilet cleaner

white vinegar (re-use toilet cleaner bottle and replace liquid with vinegar)

  • general household cleaner spray

white vinegar (dilute with water in spray bottle)

  • window cleaner

white vinegar (as above)

  • shower cleaner

white vinegar spray and baking soda for scum build up

  • washing powder

washing soda crystals, sunlight soap (1.5kg soda crystals, use the food processor to break crystals down, finely grate 3/4 sunlight soap bar then combine)

  • laundry refresher/whitener

lemon juice added to rinse cycle

  • dish-wash detergent

sunlight soap (finely grate a couple of tablespoons of sunlight soap, add to warm water in a suitable bottle, shake to dissolve then top up with cold water)

  • hand-wash

sunlight soap (same method as above)

  • fabric softener

white vinegar

  • deodorant

see the zero waste chefs’ great recipe here

  • shampoo & conditioner

baking soda, white vinegar (amazing results- where have you been all my life!)

  • face wash

baking soda (made into a paste with water)

  • insect repellent

neem soap and water (same method as hand-wash and dish-wash, this can be used on plants as-well as a natural alternative to rid bugs)

Uses for baking soda and vinegar are endless – if you have a household cleaning tip please share by leaving a comment, it would be very much appreciated!






Real Household Guide


A gem I found recently when going through a box of old books from my partners family is a book called New Zealand Women’s Household Guide: Containing Recipes and General Hints. I couldn’t find what year this was from but from some Googling I estimate that it was published some time in the late 1930s. This book is full of recipes that are a few sentences long that are homely and use real ingredients. I plan to make some of these recipes – stay tuned!