This Earth-Friendly Alternative To Dry Cleaning Can Be Done At Home

Laundry detergents often harbor chemicals that are harmful to both users and the environment. Two friends decided to tackle the problem head on and create an eco-friendly and non-toxic option for washing clothes. 


May 24 2019, Updated 9:39 a.m. ET

Many clothing items are labeled as strictly “dry clean only,” but dry cleaning isn't always the most eco-friendly option. Unfortunately, the majority of dry cleaners in the United States use perchloroethylene when they clean clothes. Also known as "perc," this compound has been identified as a carcinogen, which can be harmful to both humans and the environment.  

Friends Gwen L. Whiting and Lindsey J. Boyd saw there was problem with the dry cleaning system and realized that 90 percent of “dry clean only” items can actually be washed at home by using greener ingredients. At the time, Whiting and Boyd both lived in New York City and were working in the fashion industry. The two met at Cornell University while attending the Fiber Science, Textile and Apparel Management and Design program.  

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Simply named The Laundress, Whiting and Boyd’s company produces dedicated solutions for hard to wash clothing materials such as wool, cashmere, and of course, items tagged as dry clean only. In addition to non-toxic and biodegradable laundry detergents, Whiting and Boyd also offer a range of eco-friendly home cleaning products and tools. Their classic wooden brushes, brooms, and dusters give people the option to clean their entire homes in a totally environmentally responsible way.

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The laundry detergent is formulated for high efficiency washing machines and allows users to clean their clothes with active ingredients that preserve the colors and fabrics. Apart from extending the life of customer wardrobes, the highly concentrated products require less liquid per load, which allows for less packaging and minimize the need the use of water and energy.

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In an effort to make non-toxic cleaning products, Whiting and Boyd focused on using plant based materials free of common ingredients like allergens, phthalates, formaldehyde, and parabens. Instead, the team takes advantage of natural materials such as essential oils, vinegar, and alcohol. 

For vegans who may have ethical concerns, these products are never tested on animals, nor do they include animal ingredients. To keep things simple and natural, the company stays away from artificial dyes and colors. To further their commitment to the environment, the company works to keep CO2 emissions low by manufacturing locally in the United States. 

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