Car­ing for your CLOTHES

Go back to ba­sics and clean your clothes the old-fash­ioned way - with pow­er­ful an­timi­cro­bial herbs and other nat­u­ral in­gre­di­ents.

Herbs & Superfoods - - Using Herbs In The Home -

Forget oxi ac­tion, op­ti­cal bright­en­ers and power gels – good old soap and water, to­gether with herbs, are time-hon­oured means of re­mov­ing dirt and grime. Eu­ca­lyp­tus oil, for ex­am­ple, is a pow­er­ful nat­u­ral an­ti­sep­tic and is in­valu­able for re­mov­ing stains. Pour a few drops onto a moist cloth and dab grease and per­spi­ra­tion stains from the edge to the mid­dle, then clean as usual.

Soap­wort ( Saponaria of­fic­i­nalis), too, has been used as a cleanser for cen­turies. Its stems, leaves and roots con­tain saponins, which form a mild soap-like foam when mixed with water. Be­fore phos­phates, peo­ple used this plant for wash­ing all and sundry – them­selves, their hair (it does not pro­duce much in the way of suds, but it does re­move grime and dirt), their clothes and linens. It’s still used to­day to clean del­i­cate fab­rics and old ta­pes­tries as it helps to re­store colour to these valu­able pieces with­out the harsh chem­i­cals. In her Book of Herbs (1968), Dawn Mcleod writes of some 18th-cen­tury bro­cade drapes that were trans­formed from dull to dy­namic with the use of soap­wort. “Not only were the an­cient fab­rics cleaned gen­tly and ef­fi­ciently… the herb ac­tu­ally put new life into the fi­bres from which they were wo­ven” and that “the color the dye… was… re­stored to its orig­i­nal bril­liance and depth.”

Whether us­ing soap­wort for your hair or for bright­en­ing del­i­cate fab­rics, soap­wort should be boiled in pure water, ei­ther spring water or distilled, for best ef­fect. The roots have the best prop­er­ties, although the leaves and flow­ers can be used.

To make a soap­wort cleaner, use as much cleaned root as pos­si­ble. If not much root is avail­able, add some leaves and flow­ers.

Place in a non-me­tal saucepan, cover well with pure water and very gen­tly sim­mer with the lid on the pot for 20 min­utes. Strain and use the re­sult­ing cooled liq­uid for your hair and del­i­cate fab­rics.

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