The best way to soften water for washing laundry with soap is to add a water softener - baking soda works well - to the water in the washing machine, leave it for 10 minutes, then add the laundry and soap. I highly recommend experimenting on your own, because water has varying amounts of minerals. Start out with 1/4 cup, and increase to 1/2 cup or more if you have very hard water. The benefits of baking soda are its ability to neutralize odors and soften clothes. One Caution: Baking soda can leave deposits on clothes if used in too high concentrations.
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Better Basics for the Home: Simple Solutions for Less Toxic Living
Copyright 1999 by Annie B. Bond. Published by Three Rivers Press.
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