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Cleaning expert debunks common washing machine myth that could be costing you big time: 'It can sort anything out'

The method is an eco-friendly way to give your clothes a deep clean without raising your electricity bill.

The method is an eco-friendly way to give your clothes a deep clean without raising your electricity bill.

Photo Credit: Instagram

Tired of running up your utility bills just to get stubborn stains and dirt out of your outerwear? 

Author and Instagram expert Nancy (@nancy.birtwhistle) has demonstrated her tried-and-true cold washing method for cleaning a "filthy" jacket — no hot water or plastic-bottled detergent involved.

The scoop 

After showing off just how dirty the jacket had gotten, Nancy said, "If cold washing can sort this out, it can sort anything out." 

To make your dirty clothes look as good as new, add three to four tablespoons of washing soda — a stronger, more alkaline version of baking soda — to a sink filled with cold water.

After letting the powder dissolve, place your clothing into the water and weigh it down with a heavy, waterproof object, such as a ceramic Dutch oven on top of a baking sheet, to keep the clothing evenly submerged. 

After soaking overnight, put the clothes into your washer, add two to three more tablespoons of washing soda, and wash on a short cycle at a low water temperature to save energy. 

Nancy also puts a handful of ivy leaves, cut in half to release their saponins — a naturally occurring compound that creates a soapy foam — into a laundry bag and adds it to the load.

Finally, air drying your clothes can help reduce your electricity use, and composting the ivy leaves makes the process even more sustainable.

"Save money. Save energy. Save our planet," Nancy concludes in her video. 

How it's helping

This cold-washing laundry method is an eco-friendly way to give your clothes a deep clean without raising your electricity bill. 

The gentle cleaning approach can help your heavily soiled and bulky clothes last longer, as exposure to high temperatures in the washer and dryer can cause clothing to break down, shrink, and fade with time.

Trading your typical laundry detergent for washing soda, also known as sodium carbonate, and ivy leaves means you'll be buying fewer plastic-packaged products. 

Laundry detergents can contain a number of toxic chemicals that may leak into your local water sources, affecting your area's ecosystem and even your drinking water. 

What everyone's saying

Viewers were amazed by the variety of ways the video promotes cleaning clothes without traditional detergent and lengthy wash-and-dry cycles. 

"That washing soda is magic. Used it twice recently, once on a vintage wool dress that was musty and once on a jacket of my daughter's that she'd had for a year and I hadn't washed it. So much comes out in the water when you soak!" a user commented. 

Many people were stunned by the use of ivy leaves. 

"Ivy? This has blown my mind," one user wrote. 

"Wow! Ivy leaves! You truly are incredibly knowledgeable about nature's free gifts," another user said. 

"I've used ivy leaves a few times as they grow abundantly near where I walk to work. Couldn't believe how well they work till I tried them," a commenter mentioned. 

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