Eco-friendly laundry solutions often get a bad rep. People think choosing products that are not harmful to the environment translates to mean they don’t work so well. But the reality is much more complex than that and these solutions may inspire you!
Read on to learn about simple ways to make your laundry day not only effective, but sustainable as well.
Wear Your Clothes More Than Once
I think anyone who has kids can relate to this one. My littles throw their clothes in the laundry even when they haven’t left the house! Or how about this… They try them on, don’t like them, then throw them in the hamper. Ugh. Truth is, adults are not always much better.
Before you send those items to the cleaners or add them to a load, reconsider if it’s really “dirty”. Are there stains? Is there an odour? You might find that they look (and smell) perfectly fine. If that’s the case, forego the hamper and reach for a hanger instead. You’ll also be increasing the life expectancy of your items and keep them looking new by not over-washing them.
Packaging Is Everything!
I like to bargain shop just as much as the next gal but those gigantic jugs of laundry detergent and fabric softeners are a huge contributor to our landfills. These items are made to be durable but what that means is that they could take as much as 450 years to break down! Crazy, right?
Over the years, I’ve moved to powder detergents that come in paper boxes. Recently, I was sent a box of Kind Laundry Detergent Sheets and I gotta say, I was impressed! The small, 100% recyclable package holds 60 sheets of detergent and takes up hardly any space at all. Also, according to their website, the “paper-thin biodegradable laundry sheets help reduce transportation fuel consumption and carbon emissions by 94% compared to today’s leading-brand liquid and powder detergent.”
A lot of what you’ll find on grocery store shelves can be filled with synthetic, chemical-based ingredients. Read your labels! Opt instead for clean, natural ingredients that are free from starch, dyes, paragons and phosphates.
Whether you choose liquid, powder or sheets, it’s important that you have a good understanding of what ingredients are in your detergents. Ultimately, you need to make the right decision for your family’s needs. But what I’ve personally found is that I can still pick a detergent that’s good for us and the environment, without sacrificing cleanliness. All you need to start is a willingness to try something new!
Believe it or not, a properly functioning dryer can actually help the environment! A few simple adjustments can make your drying time a lot more energy efficient and also save on drying time.
- Make sure you clean your filters regularly to maintain proper air flow in your dryer. This also helps prevent fires.
- Wash clothing of similar weights together so that you’re not over-using the dryer unnecessarily. For example, dry light weight t-shirts separately from towels because those shirts will dry a lot faster.
- When shopping for appliances, choose brands that are rated as energy efficient.
- Spin those clothes! The more water you get out in the wash during the spin cycle, the faster your clothes will dry.
- Don’t overpack the machine! Without room to move around, they’ll take so much longer to dry.
- When possible, consider line-drying your clothing out in the sun. Your whites will glow, the sheets will smell great, and your energy bill will thank you.
Cold Water FTW
With machines and detergents becoming better and better every day, you may find that you can forgo the heat and opt for cold water instead with excellent results. According to Consumer Reports, hot water is really only necessary to wash oily stains, diapers and sheets/towels when someone is sick.
Check out this video to learn more!
Think Twice About Pretreatments
Much like detergents, pretreatments can have a lot of unhealthy ingredients you want to avoid. With so many options for creating at-home, all-natural pretreatment, you can absolutely control what goes into your laundry and on your body.
But let’s be real, not all stains are created equally, nor do they all require the same treatment. Here’s a handy guide from The American Cleaning Institute to help you beat those hard-to-treat messes.
Bye Bye Dryer Sheets and Fabric Softeners
I’ll be the first to admit that I used to be a HUGE fan of dryer sheets and fabric softeners. I mean really, they make your clothing and towels smell so good! But that was before I learned that they contain harmful toxins and may not even be that effective… Did you know that they make towels less absorbent?
Instead, I’ve started using wool balls like these or plastic balls like this that look like little hedgehogs. I’m finding that my laundry is actually fluffier, I get way less shrinkage and I save a ton of money. Somedays, I even add a few drops of essential oil to the wool balls for an added pop. And oh yeah, my towels are still absorbent and oh-so-soft.
Energy Efficient Appliances
When looking for energy efficient laundry appliances, there are really two things to keep in mind. One, you want it to use less energy and two, you want it to use less water. Front-load machines tend to use a lot less energy and are a good choice.
Check out this handy little Washer and Dryer Buying Guide before you head out to shop.
Do you have an eco-friendly laundry solution to share? Maybe you have an at-home hack or product you create yourself? Let us know in the comments below!
If you’re looking for more environmentally sustainable tips, check out 6 Simple Changes to Help Our Planet for some planet-friendly advice.
See you next time!