That's right. You heard me. Strongest tool in cleaning and you already have it. It's ecofriendly, using no resources at all. But it can be dangerous as well. When you hear what it is, you won't understand but hang with me on this to the end! I'll explain how to use it to it's full potential and avoid ugly mishaps.
Your biggest weapon in cleaning is...
Yup! That's right! Plain and simple! But then again, it has it's faults. I'll go through how to use the sun to our advantage and what to avoid.
Obviously, Laundry. This can include rugs, clothes, back packs, car interior, blankets... almost anything you can wash, you can hang dry (minus clothing which specifically states dry clean). Yet with great power comes great responsibility.
Line drying clothes can save THOUSANDS of dollars in the long run and MASSIVE amounts of resources! It's true! Check my blog here:
It can also bleach out stains and get out the worst of odors! I cloth diapered for YEARS. Using the SAME cheap (literally the cheapest) insert cloth diapers I could get my hands on (they were waterproof exterior and had fabric 'inserts' you stuffed inside). I never once touched poo, removed the inserts before washing or washed a diaper by hand. Never once. Just tossed in the wash and sun bathing the inner most part of the diapers, no stains, no smells. I think total I used those diapers for... 6 years!!! Had them stored away for a much longer time but actively used them for that long and no stains, no stink. Sun bathing those diapers is what I attribute to never having issues with stains, smells, rashes or bacteria. I make my own laundry detergent, never once bought special diaper detergent. Besides replacing a total of 3 snaps between all 30 diapers, I didn't have any issues. I passed on the diapers and the woman could not believe they were 6 years old, they looked and felt brand new!
The big kicker is how to hang laundry. I hang laundry all year long. No joke, I hang laundry in January. Where I live, winters have bad days but mainly tolerable. I also love the cold and prefer hanging in the winter. Anything over 34 degrees and I'm outside. For winter clothes drying, you WANT to hit peak sun times. The mix of the lack of humidity and cold means no stinky clothes if you leave them out too long, which is great because it does take a bit longer. If you live in a VERY cold climate, sun drying may not be ideal. A drying rack inside would be great though, maybe one you could move outside! For summer drying, you want to AVOID direct sunlight in peak times and be sure to bring them in BEFORE it begins to cool outside. The humidity and abundance of warmth can spur that stinky wet wash cloth smell. No, yuck. Of all the smells, that is the one I REALLY can not stand. When people say they leave clothes in the dryer or in piles, I literally cringe inside.
Again, timing is important. Not always for optimal drying but avoiding sun bleached clothes. For towels and blankets, I choose to hang dry in the time of the day when the sun is not as strong or out of direct sunlight. Avoiding peak times between 11am-3pm. Granted, that is the best time for sanitation but I was more worried about my favorite comforter being bleached! Also, turning your pattern AWAY from the sun is a good way to avoid sun bleach on the pretty side. If you love all white things, guess what? You are in luck. You have all the freedom to line dry and not worry about bleaching the color out! There is NOTHING better than line-dried sheets and blankets... oh my goodness. I wash my sheets at least once a week, blankets at least once a month. That first night of fresh, crisp sheets is undeniably the best feeling, and smell, ever.
For clothes, I turn EVERYTHING inside out before I hang it but after I wash it. So they can get really clean in the washer. I also turn the backwards facing screen print (if applicable) away from the heat of the direct sun..This prevents sun bleach and damage to screen printed shirts! With white clothes with no color at all on the other hand, I turn the stained areas TO the strongest sun shine.
Either way, don't leave clothes out in the beating sun for more than they need to be. Some things dry REALLY fast. Faster than dryer times in the heat of the summer. That's SO NICE but remember that Heat can damage things. Just like baking in the oven or in a sauce pan can destroy nutrients in food due to prolonged heat exposure, same can happen if you leave clothes on the line too long or in the dryer too long. All heat causes damage. Just as the dryer can destroy stretchy materials, the sun can too. Don't abuse the power we have! Again, just like in cooking, you want to 'bake' for only as long as needed!
I love to sun bake so many things in my home. We have several solar
ovens and solar herb dehydrators! When The Smart Kids were little, I would do a weekly clean of their toys and sun bathe them for good measure.
Home interior items are easy to clean in the sun. Just be sure to follow your gut and avoid peak times for too long. I know everyone loves cleaning with essential oils and vinegar, but if you dry those, be careful! In laundry detergent, avoid photosensitizing oils as well. Those oils can cause spots of sun bleach.
The main thing you want to avoid is sun bleach and skin cancer. Don't forget about yourself in the sun. Check my blog about sun protection:
The sun is our most powerful tool in cleaning for sure but be smart about how you use it!
So, get outside! Save that money and live CLEANER!
The Smart Girl in Pants
The Smart Girl in Pants