When I started trying to live a greener lifestyle, I actually found my laundry routine was relatively easy to…clean up. (Sorry, I had to.)
Overall, laundry is always going to be a wasteful practice–it uses a lot of water, chemicals and energy. But there are plenty of things that you can do to make the chore more eco-friendly and zero waste!
User dryer balls instead of dryer sheets
Dryer balls are the affordable, reusable, chemical free, zero-waste alternative to dryer sheets.
If you haven’t heard of dryer balls, they’re about the size of a baseball and generally made of plastic, wool, or some other fabric. Add about 4-8 of them into the dryer with your wash and they gently soften and remove static as they tumble with your clothing.
I personally use about 8 wool dryer balls in a full load of laundry. Even though my motivation for switching to dryer balls was the zero-waste factor, I will say they they are kind of a life changing purchase. My clothes dry faster and come out softer and fluffier.
If you don’t feel like buying a set of dryer balls, try tossing several tennis balls in your dry cycle instead.
Wash your clothes in cold water
90% of the total energy used washing a load of clothes goes to heating up the water.
Switch to washing your clothes in cold water you can save energy and cut the cost of your household energy bills. Just don’t forget to use a detergent that works in cold water (more on that below).
Use a green laundry detergent
The best detergents meet the following criteria:
- Concentrated (cuts down on packaging and on the amount of water it takes to make the detergent)
- Works in cold water
- Works in HE machines
=The Method 4x Concentrated detergent is a great choice. It meets all these criteria and is very affordable and easy to find!
If you have a favorite detergent that meets all 4 criteria, comment below and let us know where we can find it!
Skip the gimmicks
Can we all agree there are some RIDICULOUS laundry products out there? Some are obvious gimmicks, like scent boosters. But there are convincing gimmicks too, like fabric softener or wrinkle release spray (just throw your shirt in the dryer for a few minutes if you want to get the wrinkles out).
The only products you should need to do a load of laundry are:
- Laundry detergent
- Dryer balls
Just stick with the basics and ignore everything else. You’ll cut down on waste and save yourself the money.
Don’t wash your clothes every time
I mean…obviously use your discretion and best judgement on this one. But honestly, you should only be washing dirty clothing not worn clothing. There is a difference.
Laundry is pretty harsh on your clothing. The process can fade colors, change the texture of the fabric, or warp the size or fit of a garment. Some materials, like denim, actually wear better the less you wash them.
I tend to look at the lifespan of my clothes in terms of number of washes that a certain garment can endure. Like, I know when I buy cheaper clothes, those are generally going to only last a few washes.
I try and spread the washes out to extend the lifespan of my clothes as long as possible. I only wash my clothes when they appear to actually need to be washed. Not just when I wore them.
That ends up being every 4-5 wears for tops, very rarely for pants and coats, and every wear for a few things…obviously.
This will save water, laundry detergent, and time spent doing laundry.