How do you do the washing when you can’t see?

Tips for doing the washing when you’re blind and can’t see colours, and some new products from Ecover

When I was a child, I just had to throw anything dirty in the big wicker box, and it miraculously appeared back in my cupboard, clean and usually ironed as well. The only time I got involved with it was when it started to rain and I had to dash out into the garden to help my Nan get everything off the line and into the basket before it got wet!

When I started living on my own, I was responsible for that lovely chore – the washing! Nothing unusual in that, apart from the fact that I had to develop a system for separating the colours so I didn’t inadvertently wash things together that could run. Not so easy when you can’t see colours, but I developed some ways to make it easier:

  • Have several bins for washing so that you only have to identify the colour of each item once.
  • Don’t buy the same top in a number of colours. Try to have different things in the wardrobe so they can all be identified by touch – hopefully then you’ll remember what colour they are!
  • Don’t buy really, really cheap fabrics as they are more likely to run – and the worst part about that is that you won’t even know it unless someone points it out!
  • Invest in a colour detector – these are little gadgets that you put up against the material, press a button, and a voice announces the colour. There are also apps that do this, but the stand-alone gadgets tend to be better, if more expensive. They work well on single-colour garments, but patterns confuse them!

When S and I moved in together, we kept the multiple bin system, because there is no way I would remember what colour all of his stuff is, and many of his shirts and t-shirts feel the same. So He has to put his stuff in the right bin, and then I know that anything in the same bin can be washed together.

We have a washing machine with dials on it, so I know what the moving them to different positions means in terms of the different programmes. You can also get little stickers that you put onto the machine to highlight the programmes that you use regularly. This is much easier than a touchscreen washing machine.

Products from Ecover

Ecover recently held an event for bloggers. I was unable to attend, but they kindly sent me a lavender and sandalwood washing non-bio laundry detergent and a gardenia and vanilla fabric softener to try.

Firstly – how did they smell? I’m super-fussy about that. I don’t believe my sense of smell is better because of my blindness, but I think I pay extra attention to it, in the same way that other people might be lured in by pretty packaging! Both of them smelled nice and fresh, although my personal preference was the gardenia and vanilla fabric softener.

I hadn’t heard of Ecover before. The company was founded in the 1970s when Frans Bogaerts and his team in Belgium designed a new product because they were concerned about the harmful effect that phosphates in washing powder was having on the water system. This pollution was a problem for the plants and animals, so they developed a phosphate-free washing powder with the idea that making clothes clean shouldn’t lead to pollution further down the line.

The range has developed, and now there are a number of household cleaning products made from biodegradable plant-based and mineral ingredients.

The packaging is eco-friendly too – it’s made from 75% plastic derived from and 25% recycled plastic. The bottles are 100% recyclable. Ecover does not test on animals and the products are suitable for sensitive skin.

I’ve heard complaints before that environmentally-friendly cleaning products don’t do the job as well, but this wasn’t the case here. The clothes were clean and fresh, and as the detergent is a concentrated formula, you don’t need to use as much, so the bottle lasts longer.

Overall, I really like the concept behind the brand. One family can’t save the planet, but it’s the little steps that help and I think we all have a responsibility to do the little things to protect the environment, because they all add up.

From a practical point of view, I prefer capsules to liquid detergents because you don’t have to measure them out, which can be a bit fiddly if you can’t see the line on the measuring cup. As a result, I wouldn’t buy the detergent, but there are also laundry tablets available in the range.
The fabric softener made a nice change, and if you don’t want the scents that I mentioned, there are other fragrances too such as apple blossom and almond. The gardenia was quite a delicate fragrance, which is good if you don’t like heavily-scented products.

If you want to find out more about Ecover, you can follow Ecover on Twitter or visit their website.

Have you tried any of these products? Let me know what you thought in the comments!

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(This post contains PR samples.)

Author: englishwithkirsty

I provide customised, one-to-one English lessons for adults online. I am based in London and I work primarily with German speakers as I also speak German Fluently.

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