Most people feel like their laundry is a never-ending chore. No matter how many loads are finished, there is another pile ready to go the next day. With this in mind, consider how much detergent, water, and energy is being used as the months and years go by. For example:
- The energy that the water heater, washer and dryer use is a non-renewable resource
- The washing machine uses a lot of water for each wash cycle, with the average household consuming over 13500 gallons of water per year
- Plastic from packaging and microfibers from synthetic fabrics migrate into the water system, and take hundreds or even thousands of years to break down
- Harmful chemicals may be introduced to the water system, damaging wildlife, and aquatic plants
- Dryer fumes include exhaust gas, which may pump carcinogens like benzene and acetaldehyde into the atmosphere
Eco-friendly living (green living) is an easy way to mitigate your impact on the environment that is done by this household chore. Here are some of the most simple and easy eco-friendly laundry hacks that will allow you to do your laundry, soften your clothes, and wash your clothes without using harsh chemicals or overusing water. You can feel good about the following amazing eco-friendly laundry tips:
Wash your clothes less often
The truth is that we do not need to wash our clothes after every use. Taking off an outfit and thoughtlessly throwing it into the laundry basket is something we are all guilty of doing, when they could easily be worn again.
We are also influenced by laundry product companies who tell us that it is “dirty” or we will smell bad if we re-wear our clothes, which is usually only the case if they are gym clothes or work gear. If you are not sure, smell the clothing and check for visible stains. Jeans and pajamas can be worn several times before washing, and other clothing can be re-worn on a case-by-case basis.
Use less detergent
Most people use more conventional detergents than they actually need to. For a more eco-friendly laundry routine, check your washing machine requirements, and then carefully read the instructions on the detergent. They will likely have dispenser cups that are too large, so it is a good idea to mark a line to make the cup easier to read, to show how much detergent is the correct amount for your average wash cycle.
Wash your clothes in cold water
The process of heating up water takes a lot of energy, in fact, nearly ¼ of all household energy goes toward this one task. The majority of clothing can be washed in cold water, (some fabrics like spandex and nylon are the exception and need warm water) saving energy and lowering your bill at the end of the month.
Choose an eco-friendly detergent brand
There are several factors to look for when choosing an eco-friendlier detergent:
- Packaging – don’t buy something just because it claims to be “green” or “natural”, instead look for labels that tell you the product is biodegradable and phosphate-free, with vegetable-based ingredients. Try to find cardboard packaging or a large, bulk-sized plastic jug as it uses less plastic per volume of detergent
- Ingredients – you can avoid optical brighteners, perfumes, bleach, phosphates, chlorine, dyes, harsh enzymes like cellulase and fabric softeners. They are not only harmful to the environment but can also irritate sensitive skin and damage clothing.
- Formulation – powdered detergents tend to have more microplastics, and may not perform as well in cold water, whereas liquid detergent brands often come in plastic containers. The best option is usually an ultra-concentrated liquid detergent or a pod or tablet that contains fewer harsh chemical ingredients
- Scents – in general, unscented detergents will be more eco-friendly as they will have fewer chemicals
An alternative to buying detergent is to make your own sustainable laundry detergent at home. There are several simple recipes available online.
Use a microfiber trapping device
There are devices like the Planet Care filter that you can add to your washing machine’s wastewater hose that capture up to 87% of microfibers in the wash. You may also purchase items like the Cora Ball, which is a plastic ball that goes into the wash with your laundry and captures just over 26%, or a Guppyfriend permeable bag that captures the plastic microfibers as your clothes get clean.
Air-dry your clothes
Electric clothing dryers use a lot of energy, and they can wear out clothing fast. Using an outdoor clothesline, a drying rack, or even hangers on a shower rack is a laundry habit that can help you save on your utility bill, avoid putting dryer fumes into the air, preserve the lifespan of your laundry, and leave your clothes smelling fresh. Ensure they are evenly spaced with plenty of airflow. If you do not like the crunchy feel of an air-dried load of laundry, tumble dry for 10 minutes before hanging.
If you do dry your clothes in a dryer, try separating heavier items from lightweight ones to speed up drying times, ensure the load size isn’t too big, clean the lint filter regularly, and throw in reusable wool dryer balls to help dry clothes, absorb moisture, soften clothes, and reduce wrinkles.
Upgrade to an energy efficient washer-dryer set
Along with these green laundry tips, one of the best things you can do is invest in a high efficiency washing machine. An energy star rated machine will reduce energy usage, water usage, and even the amount of detergent you have to use by a significant amount.
At Commercial Laundries, we sell all the equipment you need to upgrade your washing machine. Contact our team today to find out more about our frontloading washing machines and other eco-friendly laundry options.