Photo: Four things to do on a sunny day

What has the sun done for you lately? (Credit: Swire via Flickr)

The sun is out! Don't waste it.

Here are four things sunshine can do for you — free of charge:

Whiten laundry

Sunshine is great for drying clothes and linens and getting rid of dust mites — and nothing smells as fresh as sun-dried sheets! But the sun is also great at bleaching. It works best when fabrics are wet. It can even take stains out of cloth diapers — just spot treat them with lemon juice while they're still damp.

Clean pillows and comforters

Switched to wool eco-pillows? Never put them in your washing machine! Instead — air them (and your wool comforter) in direct sunlight.

On the other hand, never put natural rubber pillows in direct sunlight. Instead, follow manufacturers' instructions — usually wash in cold water and hang to dry.

To eliminate odors from natural rubber AND wool pillows, sprinkle with baking soda before airing.

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Bring out the butterflies

Sunny days are best for butterfly watching! Did you know butterflies are active from about 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.? Learn how to lure them to your yard or garden, then use a butterfly identification guide to find out who came to visit.

Provide Vitamin D

Canadians don't get enough Vitamin D, which can make a substantial difference in cancer prevention and survival. Good news: There are plenty of days left for our 30-minutes-outside-for-30-days challenge! Check off activities like flying a kite, smelling flowers or getting dirty with our daily tips series.

What has the sun done for you lately?

Comment on this blog to win a David Suzuki T-shirt—100 per cent organic cotton and made in Canada!

Lindsay Coulter, a fellow Queen of Green

May 12, 2014

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Oct 22, 2016
4:16 PM

i wish I had spent more time reading this. It is true Canadians do not get enough vitamin D, I walk on my lunch hour 20-30 minutes and I am absorbing vitamin d as I do it. I have participated in a 9k walk a thon along lake Ontario. I am a firm believer in picking up litter and I get my vitamin d that way as well. I am a dog owner and we get out 4 times a day to absorb vitamin d. I do not smoke and my husband is free of nicotine 10 years now. My mother used to hang sheets out on her days off.

Mar 29, 2016
7:03 PM

I’ve hung my laundry out twice this year so far…sunshine is good for me and the laundry.

Oct 13, 2015
4:02 PM

Thanks for the great tips Queen of Green! I espcially like the tip about Vitamin D, sunshine and cancer prevention. Did not know that one! thanks!

Sep 01, 2015
7:49 PM

I also love the smell of clothes dried on the line. I use my line in Niagara Falls and a few of my neighbours hang clothes out too. It makes laundry seem like less of a job and I can even get my 14 year old son to bring in the clothes if I ask.
I’m glad to learn the sun kills dust mites because we have some large allergies to them. I heard that if you throw the clothes in the drier for a few minutes it knocks off other allergens (pollen) from them so even with allergies you can still use the clothes line. Early morning and later in the day is a better time to hang the clothes out if pollen counts are high but during some spring days we still need to use the dryer. Allergies are not fun.

Jul 06, 2015
1:11 PM

Thanks for the new tips! I knew about using the sun for bleaching diapers on a clothesline from mom teaching me how to hang the wash. She also warned me to never fold or bend a frozen wash or the items will break! Bring them inside as a solid peice to thaw and dry, or leave them out until dry.

May 24, 2015
7:32 AM

Nothing better than the smell of sheets dried outside on the line, it’s almost like the smell of them has an energy in it. In southern Alberta we can pretty much dry outside any time of the year.

Jun 09, 2014
7:10 AM

I love drying clothes out on the laundry line but, alas, I live in an apartment. I wonder what people like me, with no balcony and no area to hang clothes outside could do. I miss those outdoor fresh sun bleached clothes and sheets.

Jun 07, 2014
10:31 AM

I love

Jun 07, 2014
9:34 AM

The sun also helps you save money! No electricity used when you sun dry- just recently heard your dryer can cost upwards of $1000 a year in your hydro costs. Towns!

Jun 07, 2014
9:06 AM

The sun has gotten me out of the apartment and into the common area with my neighbors, chatting and making new friends, improved my mood, and gotten the 130 kids I work with throughout the week out to our playground for long, uninterrupted, vitamin-D-rich playtimes.

Jun 06, 2014
1:06 PM

Just like you had noted in your post, I am using the sun to whiten my whites. A bit of lemon juice on stains help!

Jun 06, 2014
12:15 PM

I am blessed to have a very shady backyard thanks to some very tall cedars. It does provide a challenge to grow a vegetable garden. I just noticed a couple of weeks ago the sunniest area is right by the house in one corner. I am converting it over to be my tomato growing area. I relocated the non edible shrubs and went to Ikea to get their outdoor storage benches. The lids will be left off in the summertime and planted with tomato plants. In the winter the soil will be removed and can then be used for gardening storage.

Jun 05, 2014
6:01 PM

I really enjoy your blog with many great articles, natural remedy recipes, crafts and practical eco-tips for all. Keep up the great work!:)

Jun 04, 2014
9:39 AM

Re: cloth diapers hanging out in the sun. I used to live in Ashcroft, B.C. The cloth diapers (disposables were a luxury for emergencies only) were always snow white summer and winter. Winter temperatures were minus 20 or so and that was farenheight. So they were freeze-dried as well as sun bleached.

Jun 04, 2014
7:30 AM

WOW! Such fabulous ideas. I love the sunshine and try and be out in it as much as possible. I wash all my natural sweaters by hand and put them on a rack on my balcony. Also love to sit outside and read, do my home work, knit or anything that I need to accomplish during the day I spend more time outside than in. It has become my major living space.

Jun 04, 2014
2:56 AM

Mister Golden Sun is helping me to grow some veggies and fruit! I have a small but satisfying garden that my boys and I putter with and we actually manage to grow something!

Jun 03, 2014
9:07 PM

Great tips!! I have just planted some milkweed last week so I am looking forward to seeing more butterflies in our garden!

Jun 03, 2014
8:30 PM

I have enjoyed playing ‘Minecraft’ ever since it’s earlier days as a video game and I know it has become incredibly popular with children across the country. But, one thing people fail to give the game credit for, is the reminder than you can still go outside and do many of the things you do in-game… but in real life!

I can move dirt, I can move wood, I can clean up areas to make them look nicer (i.e. the yard), I can make a garden, I can play with my pets, etc. And after years of being in lock-down inside, that game really helped me make it back outside.

If you have a kid who is too addicted to Minecraft to venture outdoors, I recommend trying to start them out with a garden or with simple yard work. Show them the similarities and, maybe, pretend you’re fighting off skeletons and zombies while you’re at it :)

Jun 03, 2014
6:13 PM

Even I found have (home)work to do you can do it outside! Take your laptop or your paperwork and go sit on the deck!

Jun 03, 2014
3:22 PM

Get out in the sun and do some gardening. Plant some natives for the birds and bees. Even if you don’t have a garden, try some herbs in pots, it’s fun and rewarding, plus healthy for you.

Jun 03, 2014
2:41 PM

I love butterflies, too, and would love to have more in our garden! My favourite time of day is early morning when the sun is first rising, at around 6am — i try to step outside at that time, and just breathe in the peace and quiet (and listen to the birds :D).

Jun 01, 2014
8:11 PM

The sun wakes me earlier these days. It makes my commute to and from work drier than in the the rainy winter months. It invites my daughter and I to play in the local outdoor pool. It revives our herb garden and the flower in our yard. It brings us joy.

Jun 01, 2014
8:00 PM

The sun gives me my spirit back after those long rainy winters- from the first light in the morning to the last glowing embers in the west.

May 24, 2014
9:18 PM

The sun has warmed my soul when I am so cold inside, The sun has made me go walk my dog, giving both joy to my pooch and myself, The sun has motivated me to work in my yard and watch my dog play with sticks which made me laugh, The sun has lured me out of my bed in the morning, have my cup of coffee and sit on my back-steps while watching people go by in the alley, The sun has made mother nature awaken after her deep sleep in the winter, and made the trees just pop out their leaves, The sun has done so much and asked nothing in return, The sun is part of us and we are part of the sun as it cycles around our planet, The sun is part of me and every form of life on this planet which makes me happy.

May 23, 2014
6:19 AM

I LOVE the smell of laundry dried on the line. And nothing works as well as the sun for getting rid of stains. It’s fantastic! Too bad I can’t convince the hubby to like the feel of crunchy, line dried towels — because the sun also gets rid of that spoiled fabric smell that you just can’t wash out. Shhh, don’t tell him, but I will put them out to dry on the line (getting rid of that smell), and then fluff them in the drier for 5 minutes to get rid of that crunchy feel he hates.

May 21, 2014
10:22 AM

It is very true that we canadians don’t get enough sun, it can help fight off that winter blues and depression too <3

May 21, 2014
9:21 AM

I’m going out to get my dose of the D right now. Thanks David, you’re just as healthy as a vitamin too.

May 21, 2014
7:38 AM

As a melanoma survivor who has seen the healing effects of the sun, I thank you for your encouragement to all to not fear this life-source.

May 20, 2014
11:06 PM

Loves line drying my boys’ cloth diapers back in the day — the sun always bleached them nicely! I’m looking forward to checking out the butterfly ID guide!

May 20, 2014
10:56 PM

Today was beautiful! After working i went outside while the sun was still shining and played in my flowers… Give me peace!

May 20, 2014
8:36 PM

My friends joke and tell me that I am solar powered. I love taking my workouts outside in the summertime — and laying in the grass while gazing up into the sky to unwind.

I usually run errands around sunset on purpose so I can drive to some farmland and watch the gorgeous colors in the sky fade away into evening

May 20, 2014
8:03 PM

It’s been a long winter and it feels so good to soak up the rays here in Ontario. I say… the sun might not need us, but we certainly need it! Thanks for sharing and reminding us of the wonderful beauty surrounding us.

May 20, 2014
7:24 PM

Aside from all the wonderful things the sun does for me, being outside just makes me happy. It gives me a boost of energy, lifts my mood and that is good for my family. The 30 x 30 Challenge has been good for me to push me to get outside even when I don’t think I have time or I’m tired. x 30 nature challenge

May 20, 2014
5:37 PM

Last weekend we finally set up the compost bins, planted potatoes and mulched all the garden beds…getting dirty out in the backyard is one of the best ways to spend a weekend at home. Will be doing it more often!

May 20, 2014
2:45 PM

Love the sunshine! It’s amazing what the sun does for us!

May 20, 2014
1:46 PM

Even when it’s been dry overnight, when camping we like to drag our sleeping bags out and spread them out in the sunshine. Then when we climb in at night they are wonderfully fresh! Another great benefit of the sunshine! Don’t you love this planet?!

May 20, 2014
11:24 AM

I dry my cloth diapers on the line, and it really helps get the stains out!

May 20, 2014
9:21 AM

The sun boosts my mood. I try to capitalize on beautiful sunny days. So get outside and enjoy our wonderful earth

May 20, 2014
9:10 AM

Hello there ,

Just a comment about sunshine . I live in Alberta, it is pretty much sunny here every day , even when the mercury drops way way way, below zero. I hang my clothes almost year round. Also i get my daily dose of Vit D , each day when I go do chores. I have joined your 30 day challenge too. Just to comment on the oil industry here , not a big fan , just sayin :D, no need for fossil fuels. Went south of Calgary two days ago , love to see the windmills there , green energy !!!!! We need more of this to keep our Mother earth Happy !!

May 20, 2014
8:56 AM

My Mom bleached her laundry by treating stains with lemon and laying the object on the grass in the sun. She claimed the grass had something to do with the process. That was in the 1940’s!

May 20, 2014
8:41 AM

Thanks for the tips! I didn’t know about the first three tips before, only the last one. Great info!

May 19, 2014
8:05 PM

I like checking out for the newest things David and his organization is doing. It’s nice to know what he’s up to and the newest tips. I appreciate his outlook even though it may be different from mine at times. Thank you David for all that you do!

May 17, 2014
8:19 PM

When I first moved to Vancouver from Nova Scotia fifteen years ago, I was shocked at how few people hang their laundry out to dry here! The first thing I did was have a clothesline put in our yard…to the shock and surprise of many neighbours! Laundry on the line is thankfully, still incredibly common back in NS, and all the maritime provinces, where clothes are out on the line as long as the sun is peeking, regardless of temperature, and in the summer, as long as its not a day long downpour! I still hang my clothes out here in Vancouver and I love everything about it! Was hoping it would catch on more out here……I’m still waiting!!

May 15, 2014
11:55 AM

besides boosting my mood, the sun has bleached my diapers back to white. they were looking a little sad and grey after a loooong winter of air drying in the basement.

May 14, 2014
4:34 PM

besides boost my mood, the sun has also bleached all my cloth diapers back to white. they were starting to look a little grey after a looooong winter of drying on the rack in the basement. now they look new and smell wonderful -pretty amazing to say about diapers!

May 14, 2014
4:31 PM

besides boosting my mood, the sun has also bleached all my diapers which were starting to accumulate stains from a long winter of air drying in my dark basement.

May 14, 2014
3:36 PM

Thank you for the reminders. I always dry clothes on the line, get my vitamin D with daily outdoor exercise. I didn’t know about the butterflies, though.

May 14, 2014
11:53 AM

Day by day, I see garbage and pollution everywhere. Thankfully, my school has created objects to pick up garbage around our community. With everyones cooperation, our earth can be protected once again! I’m here to say… PLEASE PROTECT OUR EARTH!

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