Laundry is such a mundane task, one often overlooked when it comes to a more eco-conscious life. The process of washing and drying your clothes in a dryer uses a large amount of energy. The good news is that there is a lot of room in the laundry basket to make improvements for the environment.
First, a few stats about laundry:
- The average household does almost 300 loads of laundry a year.
- Around 6000 gallons of water are used to wash laundry annually.
- Roughly 50 pounds of laundry is washed per week in the average household.
- Dryers are the second largest consumer of energy, costing on average $96 a year.
What can you do to go green with your laundry:
- Wear it again. Instead of throwing everything onto the laundry pile, consider wearing it again. Jeans, for example, don’t need to be washed each time you wear them, and neither do hoodies. If you had something on for a short period of time, hang it up and wear it again. This is a pretty simple way to go green with your laundry; you might find it even extends the lifespan of your clothes.
- Opt for green laundry detergents. Most detergents you find in the supermarket are not good for you or the environment. They contain a range of harmful chemicals like phosphates which are harmful to marine life. When you stock up on detergent again look for brands that are phosphate-free and made from plant-based ingredients. Not only are these detergents better for the environment, but they are also much gentler on your skin.
- Pick a concentrated detergent. The advantage is that it comes in a smaller container, meaning less waste and a smaller carbon footprint. These types of detergent are often also cheaper – but still, look for the “green” brands.
- DIY your detergent. It’s pretty simple to do with basic ingredients you’ll find at your local supermarket. The biggest advantage of this is that you know exactly what’s going into the detergent and you’re saving on the plastic packaging.
- Make your washer more energy efficient. Only do cold washes. Make sure each load is full, as this allows your machine to work optimally. If you really need to do a load of laundry but the load is not full, select a smaller load size if possible.
- Hang up your clothes. Ditch the dryer completely and hang your clothes on a line. If you do not have an outdoor clothesline, hang your clothes inside near a window to dry. This will not only save on dryer costs but will also extend the life of your clothes.
- Maximize your dryer. Keep the lint filter cleaned at all times; this will make your dryer more efficient and shorten the drying time. If you have a moisture sensor, use it because it will also reduce the drying time. Skip the dryer sheets; they emit toxic chemicals and your clothes will dry fine without them.
- Don’t iron. This obviously doesn’t apply to everything; your suit will still need to be ironed on occasion, but your favorite tee and your PJs definitely don’t need it. If you hang your clothes up neatly they won’t crease.
- Use a laundromat. Commercial wash machines and dryers are often more environmentally friendly. If you have a conveniently located laundromat give them a try.
You don’t have to make big, grand gestures to make an impact. Small changes to your everyday routine add up and make a difference. If you can’t manage all of these changes, start with the easiest one and go from there.
Photo by iOnix (Pexels.com)