Laundry is one of the biggest ways we impact our environment. There are chemicals leached into our water supplies that are potentially damaging, running the machines themselves are often huge drains on our energy resources and the amount that we do each week really can make this all add up. If you are trying to get more eco-friendly, starting with your laundry routine is one of the best ways to make a big impact. Here are some tips for greening your laundry routine.
How to Green Your Laundry Routine
Don’t automatically think you need to replace your appliances. Sure, there are eco-friendly versions out now that use less power, but throwing out your old machine may be damaging as well since it adds to the waste and some of the really old machines contain mercury. If you really want to get an energy efficient model, make sure to donate your working model or sell it to someone who won’t just be trashing it.
Use the weather to your advantage. Before the days of dryers, people hung their laundry to dry. On the warm summer days, do this and you won’t even have to turn on your dryer for most of the season. If you belong to a homeowners association that won't allow a clothesline (like I do), you can still buy some inexpensive drying racks and dry as much as possible on your back porch or deck. Who doesn’t love how great clothes smell that come off the line?
Start making your own laundry soaps. You can make it with some naturally derived ingredients that are also very low cost to boot! Try my homemade laundry detergent recipe and you can also try my simple homemade fabric softener recipe!
Stop using dryer sheets. They are wasteful, hard on our environment and full of chemicals! Instead, if it is the scent you are craving, use an old rag, put some essential oil on it and toss it into each load that you dry for a great clean scent! Lavender oil is great for this!
Don’t use hot or warm to wash your clothes. Unless your clothing items are heavily soiled, there really is no need to use the heated water. Cold water washes just fine and as an added bonus, you will see less running of colors as well. This one is a little harder for me since I have 3 kids and they generate plenty of stains, but I will at least stick to only warm water loads. I only do hot water about once a month when I give their socks the "serious treatment".
Stop doing small loads. Only do a load if it will be full. If not, you are wasting water, soap, electricity and time.
Wash some things by hand. You would be amazed at how clean you can get things when you wash them by hand. Rather than throwing things like greasy shirts, or jeans in the wash, do them by hand. You will find that they hold up better as well. Things like bras and other delicates often need to be hand washed in order to maintain their shape. You will use less water and no electricity if you do things this way!
Stop being so “wash happy”. Most things we wear, other than work clothes, undies and socks, can be worn more than once before needing to be washed. In fact, it is often recommended that you don’t wash things like jeans every time you wear them to make them last longer. So not only will you be doing less laundry, but you will also be saving money by not having to replace things as often.
Do you have any other tips for how to green your laundry routine?