Reducing detergent use

We should get rid of our obsession with detergents. We tend to wash everything with massive amounts of detergent, without any scientific basis.The chemicals in laundry detergents and bleaching agents can irritate skin, eyes and the respiratory system; disrupt hormones; cause allergies, and cause cancer. They pollute water, harm fish, and are toxic to wildlife.


Wear dark coloured clothes, wash your clothes with just water
If you are wearing dark coloured clothes, all they’ll have is mud and sweat. Think of the mud as just another brown dye. If it is invisible on the dark fabric there is no need to remove it. The sweat is soluble (and hence water washable). If you dry them out in sunshine, ultraviolet rays of the sun do the job of killing any bacteria lurking within the fibers. Any garment of mine I typically wash 15 times in plain water, use detergent only once in 15 washes. At the end of the day I just dunk the day’s clothes in half a bucket of water for a few minutes, wring them and put them out to dry. The left over water goes into the commode when needed. As a cyclist I sweat a lot, and even my sweat-drenched T-shirts smell sweet with this treatment.

See :

Avoid white clothes that need to be bleached periodically. Bleaching compounds are harmful to the environment. I DO NOT wear light coloured clothes,and white is totally out. My jeans and dark blue / black T-shirts have become a joke among my friends, and some of them beg me to wear something different for a change.
See :

Don’t wash your undies with detergent every time you wear them.
Just wash them with water most times. What they have is some sweat and urine, and both are water soluble (and hence water washable). Urine is sterile till it reaches the urethra, and smells only after leaving the body, due to bacterial action. It is not toxic, and in the International Space Station it is actually processed to get drinking water. Same rule as other clothes – I use detergent every 5 washes (and no white undies).
See :


Don’t wash your towel after every bath
You use the towel AFTER you bathe, after the dirt has been removed from your body. It is just removing the water from your body, so all you need to do is dry it. I wash my towels in detergent once every 15 uses, just dry them out other times.

Use dark coloured towels
White towels require a lot of bleach to keep them white.  Again, like in clothes, just think of the brown in mud as just another colour. It’s like your blue or green towel getting dyed with another colour. There’s nothing inherently dirty about brown.

Use thin towels
The thicker the towel, the more detergent and water it consumes during washing. The thin towel that has traditionally been used in most parts of India works beautifully.

Use small towels
The larger the towel, the more detergent and water it consumes during washing. If at all you are addicted to thick towels, try using a large face towel. You’ll be surprised at how well it can do the job.

In hotels
Most hotels have bright white towels in the toilet, doubtless requiring massive amounts of water, detergent and bleach to keep them white. The posher hotels will have a small face towel and a large body towel. I always use the face towel for my body. Some of the more environment-conscious places have a rule that if you put the towel on the rack they don’t take it for a wash – it gets washed only if you chuck it on the floor. I just keep putting the towel on the rack every day.

  1. deepthy
    September 4, 2012 at 10:12 am

    i should say .. way to go … kudos …am impressed …

    • September 4, 2012 at 1:52 pm

      Thanks for stopping by, and for the comment. Hope you founf some of these ideas useful.

  2. Kavitha
    July 19, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    Hi Das, I use soap nut powder as a detergent. It works well and the rinsed water can be used for watering the plants.

  3. June 6, 2019 at 7:02 pm


    I am quite impressed with all of these!!! I am in the process of building my own home. Is there a possibility that i could visit your house and meet you and talk to you?

    • June 8, 2019 at 10:23 pm

      Hi Shruthi.
      Sure, you’re welcome to visit our home.
      Will email you my phone number.


  4. Medha Mishra
    July 18, 2019 at 11:38 am

    Namaste sir, I and my husband would like to visit your house. Please let me know when can we come. My contact no. Is 7892943607.


    • July 22, 2019 at 9:15 am

      Hi. I’ll email you my phone number.


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