Laundry day. We all hate it, but we can all do some things to make our planet love it a little more. Between the detergent we use, how we dry clothes, and how we combat microplastics, small changes can have a big impact. To make every spin cycle more sustainable, here are 6 tips for environmentally friendly laundry.
6 Best Eco Laundry Tips
1. Wash Clothes Less Often
First things first, what is the most environmentally friendly way to wash clothes? Well, put quite simply, it’s to not wash them if you don’t have to!
90% of garments end up in landfills because overwashing has caused misshaping, shrinkage, and faded colors. Obviously, things like socks and underwear should be washed after every wear, but most other types of clothing can go far longer. Coats, jackets, jeans, and sweaters can be worn at least five times before they’re tossed in the laundry heap.
Your senses can be the guide here. If you don’t see or smell any signs of clothes being worn, feel free to put them back in the closet or dresser. If they need a little freshening up, make linen spray with a blend of distilled water, vodka (or rubbing alcohol), and essential oils.
2. Use Eco Friendly Laundry Detergent
Harsh enzymes, dyes, chlorine, and 1,4-dioxane round out some of the common ingredients in laundry detergents. Not only can these be downright dangerous for the environment, but they’re also damaging to clothes and can irritate skin—or worse.
Fragrance has a known link to phthalates—an endocrine disruptor that can impact reproductive health and infant development. Used as a solvent, 1,4-dioxane has been associated with long-term lung damage, eye and nose irritation, and kidney problems. In fact, it’s been classified as a probable human carcinogen.
While surfactants work as common “stain-fighters,” they’re awful when they leach into our environment. The EPA has reported that they’re highly toxic to aquatic life as they break down the mucus layer on a fish’s outer coat, making them more vulnerable to bacteria and parasites.
Doing things a little differently, Dropps has zero waste laundry detergent pods that are packed full with clean, cruelly-free ingredients and totally free of artificial colorants, synthetic fragrances, chlorine, dyes, phosphates, and phthalates.
Tru Earth eco-friendly laundry strips are another great option and are ultra-concentrated, hypoallergenic and packed into a tiny, pre-measured strip of detergent that you just toss in the wash.
3. Pare Down on Packaging
Not only are they filled with toxic ingredients, but most conventional laundry detergent products also come in a giant plastic jug! Around 700 million of these end up on US landfills every year.
But how do you do zero waste laundry?
Fortunately, many brands are saying “bye-bye” to unnecessary packaging. Bestowed Essentials and Meliora, for example, have laundry powder packaged in a compostable container. As one of the most exciting innovations for laundry rooms everywhere, Tru Earth and Kind Laundry have revolutionized dirty clothes with eco friendly laundry strips!
4. Always Have Other Eco Laundry Products Around
We’ve got a whole laundry collection to help you take the load off our planet with every load of laundry! Some standout green laundry products include:
- Cora Ball to catch microfibers before they pollute waterways;
- A Stain Remover Stick that uses coconut oil and baking soda to get grass, wine, chocolate, sweat, and blood stains out of clothes; and
- Wool Dryer Balls that are a plastic-free alternative to dryer sheets—and also reduce drying time!
5. Wash with Cold Water
You may have grown up learning that hot water was a must for certain garments. But this isn’t always the case. Modern washing machines and new innovations in sustainable laundry detergent are capable of getting the job done—regardless of what temperature the water is.
In the laundry days of yesteryear, cold water didn’t activate detergent enzymes, so hot water was necessary. Now, however, most detergents account for this, making them work perfectly in cold temperatures.
And here’s why this is important: heating the water accounts for 90% of the energy used for each load in the washer. When you wash in cold, you not only save a lot of energy, but you also help to retain more of the quality in the garments, as heat is known to break down the fibers more rapidly and cause bright colors to fade and run.
6. Ditch the Dryer
They may feel extra cozy when we take them out, but putting clothes in the dryer is really heating up our planet. Not only does a year of drying clothes produce a whopping 2,400 pounds of carbon emissions, but it also costs the average household more than $100!
Air drying clothes is a safer option for garments, as it helps to preserve colors and keep the fibers intact. Beyond that, it’s safer for us! Every year, around 15,000 house fires start as a result of lint-clogged dryers.
So, grab your bag of Stainless Steel Clips, hang your clothes up, and allow the sun to be the best dryer. The planet will thank you, and your clothes will smell fresher, too.
Take the Load Off Our Planet
We hope that you now feel equipped with the tricks to make each spin cycle more sustainable. The best news is that each of these tips is easy to apply. Whether you’re a novice laundry-doer or feel like you sort, wash, and fold in your sleep, we can all play a part in making clean garments a little greener.
To help you with transition to a more sustainable laundry routine, use code BLOG10 to save 10% on your first order!
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