Green Tips for Doing Your Laundry
Have you ever thought about the environmental impacts of doing laundry? From using and heating water, to microplastics released from fabrics and laundry pods – there are lots of ways that we can reduce our environmental impact by re-thinking how we wash (and dry) our clothes!
- The water you use
Purchasing a high efficiency washer is a good idea if you’re in the market for a new washing machine. High efficiency (HE) washers use less water, energy and detergent than typical washing washings, though they do require additional care.
However, if you’re not in the market for a new washer – wash your cloths in cold water to reduce your energy usage. Using cold water also helps preserve your colors and is beneficial in preventing stains and smells from setting.
- Halting microplastics
Laundry pods have become so popular recently, but is it a case of sacrificing our environment for convenience? Most pod detergents come wrapped in a polyvinyl packet that “dissolves” in water. Unfortunately, those plastic pods release microplastics into the water – small plastic particles that are found in our oceans, our drinking water, and even our bodies. It’s been speculated that we ingest as much as a credit-card sized mount of plastic every year in the form of microplastics. Think about whether using a pod detergent is really worth it and consider going back to the old scoop. 10 seconds of convenience isn’t worth the havoc wreaked by microplastics in our environment and bodies.
Synthetic fabrics like fleece, come from plastics and release microplastics with every wash. Try using a washing bag like a Guppyfriend to stop microplastics from going down the drain.
3. The detergent you use
Most common detergents are ripe with synthetic fragrances and chemicals, and we need to ask ourselves if that’s really what we want against our skin all day and all night. Finding a detergent that is naturally derived is pretty easy these days, it’s just a matter of finding one that suits your needs. But it’s not just what’s inside the package that we need to think about – but the package itself. Plastic containers and plastic-wrapped pods? Is this really the best choice in an era when only 9% of our plastics are actually being recycled, despite what we put in our recycling bins?
Some companies have created pods that are wrapped in plastic alternatives or created plastic-free powder detergent canisters. You can also try cleaners like soap nuts – an eco-friendly and plastic-free natural option. So do some research into brands that will help reduce your plastic usage.
4. Softening your fabrics naturally
We all love when our clothes, and especially our towels and sheets, come out feeling soft and ready to use, but most fabric softeners are filled with unnecessary chemicals and fragrances – things that we really don’t want to use against our sensitive bodies. They are also, frankly, a waste of money. Distilled white vinegar does the job of softening your clothes – just add a half cup to the final rinse cycle of your wash. It leaves no scent and contains no harmful synthetics. It’s also just a couple dollars a bottle, so good for your wallet too!
5. Ditch the stain removers
If you’ve got a stain that needs treatment, ditch the stain remover and grab the baking soda. Create a paste of baking soda and a touch of water and rub it on your stains, including the “ring around the collar”, before washing. You can also toss a tablespoon of baking soda into your wash to make your whites extra white.
- Ditch the dryer
Well, maybe don’t ditch the dryer forever, but why not go retro and dry your clothes on the line to save energy? Sun-dried clothes feel and look great and are naturally whitened by the sun, but you can also use indoor drying racks if you’re feeling shy about airing your (clean) laundry. An added bonus is that it’s less pressure on your clothes and they end up looking great for longer.
- Natural dryer aids
If you’ve been using dryer sheets, consider a waste-free option like dryer balls. These are re-usable balls made of wool, bamboo, hemp and other natural fibers that fluff and soften your clothes in the dryer. They also shorten drying time and help save energy used by the dryer.
8. Keep ‘em smelling fresh, naturally!
Finally, if you want your clean laundry staying and smelling fresh, use one of our Absolute Green linen and fabric sprays to spritz clean laundry as you put it away. Our sprays are all-natural, have no harmful chemicals and smell amazing!