Friday, September 24, 2010

Washing Dark Garments

Don’t let your little black dress turn gray or your favorite black pants fade! Let The Laundress Darks Detergent help you keep your dark colored garments looking as good as new!

Click here for our recipe!

Cleaner for the Environment, Not for the Dishes

By: Mireya Navarro
Published: September 18, 2010

Some longtime users were furious. Elise Jones has noticed “a white dusty film” on her dishes and attributes it to reduced phosphates in dishwasher detergent. “My dishes were dirtier than before they were washed,” one wrote last week in the review section of the Web site for the Cascade line of dishwasher detergents. “It was horrible, and I won’t buy it again.” “This is the worst product ever made for use as a dishwashing detergent!” another consumer wrote.

Like every other major detergent for automatic dishwashers, Procter & Gamble’s Cascade line recently underwent a makeover. Responding to laws that went into effect in 17 states in July, the nation’s detergent makers reformulated their products to reduce what had been the crucial ingredient, phosphates, to just a trace. While phosphates help prevent dishes from spotting in the wash cycle, they have long ended up in lakes and reservoirs, stimulating algae growth that deprives other plants and fish of oxygen. Yet now, with the content reduced, many consumers are finding the new formulas as appealing as low-flow showers, underscoring the tradeoffs that people often face today in a more environmentally conscious marketplace. From hybrid cars to solar panels, environmentally friendly alternatives can cost more. They can be less convenient, like toting cloth sacks or canteens rather than plastic bags or bottled water. And they can prove less effective, like some of the new cleaning products. “Most Americans want to do things that are good for the environment, but not everyone wants to pay the price,” said Elke U. Weber, director of the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions at Columbia University.

In the world of cleaning agents, where chemicals and fragrances can pose respiratory and allergy problems as well as pollute waterways, the environmental benefits of the switch are clear. Yet the new products can run up against longtime habits and even cultural concepts of cleanliness. Phosphorus in the form of phosphates suspends particles so they do not stick to dishes and softens water to allow suds to form.
Now that the content in dishwasher detergent has plummeted to 0.5 percent from as high as 8.7 percent, many consumers are just noticing the change in the wash cycle as they run out of the old product.
“Low-phosphate dish detergents are a waste of my money,” said Thena Reynolds, a 55-year-old homemaker from Van Zandt County, Tex., who said she ran her dishwasher twice a day for a family of five. Now she has to do a quick wash of the dishes before she puts them in the dishwasher to make sure they come out clean, she said. “If I’m using more water and detergent, is that saving anything?” Ms. Reynolds said. “There has to be a happy medium somewhere.”

Similarly, a nonprofit group in Oakland, Calif., that helps women form environmentally minded cooperatives and trains house cleaners, says their employers have often resisted switching to the new cleaning products. “There’s the myth that to be clean it has to shine or smell or make a lot of bubbles,” said Ivette Melendez, one of the trainers for the group, Women’s Action to Gain Economic Security. She says products like vinegar, baking soda or the newer cleansers work just as well as traditional items if applied in the proper mix and quantities. But Jessica Fischburg, a commerce manager in Norwich, Conn., for, which sells janitorial supplies in bulk, said she was not surprised that many of her clients rejected products marketed as environmentally friendly. “The reality of any green product is that they generally don’t work as well,” she said. “Our customers really don’t like them.”

But some users attest to quantifiable benefits. Reports of burns, rashes, dizziness and scratchy throats among housekeeping employees have plummeted at North Central Bronx Hospital and Jacobi Medical Center since the staff switched to new cleaning products in 2004, said Peter Lucey, an associate executive director for support services at the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation. The number of lost days linked to injuries from the products declined from 54 in 2004 to zero last year, he said. “It’s the switch and the training,” Mr. Lucey said.

In the case of the new dishwasher detergents, the main benefit is viewed as the protection of bodies of freshwater. Once they go down the drain and into the environment through discharge at sewage treatment plants, phosphates end up in lakes, streams and drinking-water reservoirs. Phosphorus pollution comes from multiple sources, including fertilizer and manure that enter the water through runoff. Dishwasher detergents contribute just a fraction, but environmental campaigners say any reduction can result in a tangible improvements. (Laundry detergents and hand soaps are already free of phosphates.)

The first significant regulatory rumblings came in Washington State in 2006. As more and more states followed suit, manufacturers faced the prospect of uneven laws that could disrupt retail distribution nationwide, said Dennis Griesing, vice president for government affairs at the American Cleaning Institute, which represents the cleaning product industry. The nationwide product rollover began late last year. Industry officials generally insist that most customers have not noticed a change. But in its September issue, Consumer Reports reported that of 24 low- or phosphate-free dishwasher detergents it tested, including those from environmentally friendly product lines that have been on the market for years, none matched the performance of products with phosphates.

The magazine did note that the formulas were improving, and it rated seven detergents “very good,” including two of six Cascade products it tested. Susan Baba, a spokeswoman for Cascade, said that while most Cascade customers had not noticed any change, Procter & Gamble was modifying the formulas of some products in response to complaints. “As we learn more, we’re finding out that there’s a lot more variation than we saw in the labs,” she said. Ms. Baba added that the conversion to low-phosphate content had been complex, with three or four ingredients needed to match what the phosphates accomplished alone.
Elise Jones, a 32-year-old mother of two in Chatham, N.J., and a blog editor for Babybites, a group for new and expectant mothers, said she noticed “a white dusty film” on her dishes and children’s cups starting about a month ago. “I thought it was the dishwasher,” she said, before she heard of the change in formulas. All the same, she agrees with the restrictions on phosphates because “we all worry about our water supply.”

Washing the dishes entirely by hand is not necessarily better for the environment, experts say, because people tend to let the tap run even when they are not rinsing. So Mrs. Jones now rinses them all by hand after the wash cycle, trying to economize on water so that her rinsing can match the dishwasher’s efficiency. “You try to do things as consciously as you can,” she said.

To view the original version of this article - click here.


What are your thoughts on phosphate-free dish detergents?

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Laundress in Paris

Come check us out if you are in Paris - Printemps de la Maison building in the “Linge et Bain” department on the 4th floor.

“Printemps Loves New York” is the theme of the store right now and we are a featured brand!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Laundress in Bloomingdale's

Lindsey did a washing cashmere demonstration in Bloomingdale's NYC.
With the fall season officially starting next week - you should wash your cashmere too. Learn how, here.

Monday, September 13, 2010

This Week's Ask the Experts

I love Laundress products, especially the Wool and Cashmere shampoo and the Delicates wash. My question is this: I have a dress that says dry clean only and it has two parts. The top part is pink and 100% silk and the bottom half is 40% silk and 60% cotton and is dark grey with a blue sash. It is all connected so I can't wash separately. Is it alright to hand wash it even with two different materials, and more importantly a dark color and light color? I'm not sure what other way to clean it, since I don't want to get it dry cleaned. Thank you!!


Hi Caitie,

Does it say dry clean or dry clean only? Usually manufacturers will note dry clean just because it is easier for them. Dry Clean only usually says that for a reason. However, I think they just slap whatever tag they have on hand. Silk and Cotton are both washable and I would use the Delicate Wash and follow these directions:

I cannot predict color this may be a concern that you may choose against washing.

I will attach our washing chart so you can reference washable fabrics going forward:

Happy Laundering!

Follow-up Question:
Thank you so much!! It does say dry clean only. In that case, do you know of any green dry cleaners that you would recommend?

Hi Catie,

You want to ask for a non-perc system - look for hydrocarbon or silicon.


New International Press...


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Fall Cleaning Tips

Gwen and Lindsey share some of their favorite tips for the change of season...

1) Pull out your fall wardrobe…
Swap out your spring/summer clothing with your fall clothing. We love our accessories such as the Under Bed Storage, Hanging Storage and All-Purpose Storage Bags for off-season storing. If your items were already washed, just grab the steamer and some Fabric Fresh and you are ready to go! If not…click here.

2) Get your spring bedding washed and away and pull out the fall blanket layers…
Since you have already washed and perfectly stored these items, just pop them on the line for some crisp fall air so they are fresh on the bed.

3) The change of season is the perfect time to wash the inside and outside of windows…
Newspaper is always great for this task with along with our Scented Vinegar or Glass & Mirror Cleaner. Don’t forget to clean the screens too. We love our All-Purpose Cleaning Concentrate and a hose for this task! Afterwards, throw open the windows, spray some Home Spray and let the fabulous fall air flow!

4) Before putting the whites away…
Give them a good wash in hot water with our Bleach Alternative & Whites Detergent. Anything that may have been worn, you should wash to remove the perfume, body oil, etc. to avoid mystery yellow spots. Just remember, do not starch anything before storing. Starch can create yellowing and also provides a food source for little critters.

5) It is always a good time to clean your drains…
We can’t get enough if it! Clean, deodorize and unclog drains with 1/4 cup All-Purpose Bleach Alternative and 1 cup boiling Vinegar. Let sit for 5 minutes then run hot water down the drain. This is also great in half proportion for the garbage disposal.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

We love this blog posting found on Paula's Diary...

Check it out - here!


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