Five sustainable ways to clean your laundry

Laundry is essential for every home, but can also be a serious polluter. Every time you wash, you release harmful chemicals in the detergent into the atmosphere.

Laundry also leads to water consumption, the use of energy resources, and other things that harm the environment. You can begin to take responsibility by adopting these five sustainable ways to clean your laundry.

1) Use an energy-efficient washing machine

If you are still using a washing machine you bought a decade ago, chances are it consumes more electricity. Make your laundry process easier, faster, and more sustainable by investing in a modern washing machine that consumes less power yet delivers excellent results.

Apart from using less electricity, high-efficiency washing machines also use less water, so you get to save gallons of water each year. Your clothes also last longer because these machines are designed to be gentler on clothes, so that makes them last longer.

2) Don’t use a dryer

Electric dryers are high energy consumers that can leave a tremendous carbon footprint on the planet and increase your energy bill. That’s why you need to avoid them altogether to achieve sustainable laundry.

Instead of a dryer, you can create a clothesline to dry your clothes in the wind and sunlight. It may take a longer time, but you’ll be saving electricity costs.

You may also invest in a drying rack if you don’t like clotheslines. They may dry your clothes less quickly but are excellent for people who have small spaces. Locating your drying rack near the source of warmth like a boiler will also help you get clothes dried quickly.

3) Wash your clothes less often

Many people are guilty of washing their clothes too often. Unfortunately, that kind of habit severely impacts the environment, so everyone needs to take responsibility and reduce the number of times they wash their clothes.

Depending on your lifestyle, you can wear certain clothing items more than once or several times before washing them. For example, while socks and undies should be cleaned after every wear, you can wash t-shirts, tops, and dresses after wearing them twice.

Jackets can be washed every 1 to 6 weeks, while pants and trousers can stay for 2 to 5 weeks before you wash them. Bathroom towels should be cleaned every week.

4) Avoid using chemical detergents

Detergents contain surfactants or a mixture of surfactants that makes cleaning possible but with severe environmental impact. Chemical detergents are primarily non-biodegradable, so they stay in the ground for long, causing damage. In addition, they cause water and soil pollution, and you’ll require more water to remove the foam from your fabric.

You can achieve sustainable laundry at home by adopting a greener alternative for washing clothes. Eco-friendly laundry sheets are becoming more popular because they benefit the environment and get the job done. The sheets promote zero waste, are plant-derived, and are super easy to use.

Some people also use zero-waste laundry detergents made from 100% biodegradable materials, including pure essential oils. These products effectively remove stains, are gentle on colored clothes, and make your white clothes whiter.

5) Wash cold

If someone in your home isn’t sick or there isn’t any need to sanitize, then washing clothes cold is fine. Cold washing will help save energy used for boiling laundry water and it’s a positive step in the right direction of embracing a sustainable lifestyle.

When you decide to wash cold, you also create the opportunity for hand washing. Even though it may take longer, hand washing is effective and will further save energy because you’re not running the washing machine. In addition, it uses less soap and water, and when you use eco-friendly detergents, your hands are safe.

Washing cold helps protect your clothes from damage and reduces cloth wrinkles caused by hot water. Therefore, you may not even need to iron the clothes before wearing them, thereby saving more energy and other resources. 

Photo by Annie Spratt