At the end of the day, we sincerely care for our mother nature.
Since COVID-19 started and changed our day-to-day life, most of us are spending long hours in our respective homes. Consequently, we’re also spending more time on our chores. One of the most important daily tasks is washing our clothes frequently. Whether you complete your laundry via personal hand wash, commercial laundry shop, or even maid service, sometimes you might be wondering if there’s something you can do to make your laundry routine greener than before.
What’s the harm to the environment? Conventional laundry requires a lot of water, which is not desirable considering that most households do their laundry by themselves. It directly means that most homes have been using too much water in their laundry. Also, at least 700,000 microscopic fibers are mixed into the water every load of laundry. Most of those particles will end up suspended in the environment, which significantly harms the ecosystem. According to some study, the number of microplastics produced by laundry will increase by the next decade. As challenging and urgent as it may seem, there is no immediate solution to the existing problem.
Can’t we do something about it?
We can. For a starter, we can make our laundry routine more environment-friendly. If all households can practice that, we can slow down the effect at the time being. We need to keep in mind that our contribution to a greener laundry will always be significant no matter what.
This article is all about how to make the laundry routine eco-friendly. At the end of this, we do hope you will apply these simple tips in your everyday laundry.
1. Switch to a greener detergent
Choosing an eco-friendly detergent isn’t as easy as it sounds.
Detergent companies are sometimes misleading us, consumers, with their marketing strategy by declaring their respective products as “natural” or “green”. Be careful because there are no regulations about their claims. To not get fooled, remember these factors when purchasing a laundry detergent:
Check the ingredients
Keep in mind that detergent companies are not required to put the ingredients on their products’ label as per regulation. But rest assured, some companies took the effort of putting the ingredients on the product label. If not, you can look it up on the company’s official website.
It’s your job as a consumer to identify which products are toxic to the environment. Do a little online research, use Bing or other less-popular search engines to find broader information. Don’t always rely on Google.
Consider buying in bulk
When you buy in bulk, you significantly reduce plastic consumption per volume of detergent. As much as possible, avoid plastic packaging. Buying in bulk must be sustained because it will show results in the long run. If you’re near the direct manufacturing and distributing area, your greenest option is to refill it there directly.
No matter how natural it may smell, chemicals (harmful or not) are responsible for the detergent’s fragrance. It is better to purchase unscented detergents to maintain a greener laundry. Relating to the previous point, please make sure there’s no fragrance component in your chosen product.
Read more: How to select green laundry detergent
2. Use your dryer as less as possible
It is a great way to have a greener laundry by saving so much energy. The best (and worst) thing with dryer is the convenience at the expense of high electricity consumption.
On top of that, if your dryer has no “wrinkle-prevention” feature, it will result in wrinkles on your clothes. Consequently, the clothes will require more ironing, which will increase energy consumption even more. Also, when you use a dryer, your clothes will wear out faster and head to landfill sooner.
In short, to make an eco-friendly laundry routine, you need to regulate your usage of the dryer.
The best way to do it is in summer when you can use the ample sunlight to dry your clothes – especially the lighter ones. You can use an outdoor clothesline, drying rack, or one of those outdoor hander strips on your backyard. Some of you may not like the crunchy feel of naturally-dried clothes. In such cases, put your clothes in the dryer, run for 10-15 minutes, and then put those under the sun. Almost always, this pre-dry does the magic.
If you have no outdoor space, you can find various indoor drying racks on Amazon or Ikea.
3. Replace the old washing machine
You objective is to have a sustainable laundry routine. Unfortunately, your old washing machine might not help you a lot to achieve that.
The reason being, older models tend to have lower energy efficiency. EnergyStar certified washing machines use about 25% less energy and 33% less water than older models.
Although changing the washing machine may seem like an expensive investment at first, it’ll be worth in the long run. If you calculate the overall costing, you might be amazed how cost-effective this decision will be over the next 10-15 years.
4. Try DIY stain remover remedies
I’m pretty sure you’ve watched stain removing videos on YouTube. Quite impressive, right? Don’t be afraid to remove stains with baking soda, vinegar, salt, and other essential items that can be easily accessed at your home.
- White Vinegar removes the following stains: Coffee, wine, mustard, sugary products, and yellow stain in the armpit.
- Salt: Fresh Stains, win, rust, and watermarks
- Baking Soda: Fresh Stains, Blood, Sweat, and Fruit
- Toothpaste: White shirt stains
5. Always wash in bulk
When you are running your washing machine, it requires a lot of water no matter how small your load is. So to save water and electricity, you must always wash in bulk. It’s a simple tip, but is very useful. If you need to wash one or two garments, better invest in a wash bag.
6. Sorting of garments
If you need to maximize your washing machine’s capability, a simple trick could be sorting the garments. It will help if you separate heavy garments like towels and bedsheets from other clothes. You can now laundry the light ones at their optimal time, unlike when it was mixed with heavy clothes.
Bulk laundry with a similar weight will dry faster and more uniformly.
7. Wash some clothes less often
Your everyday jeans don’t need to be washed immediately. You can wash it several times before you dump it in the laundry. Unless it is stinky or stained, you can still use your clothes. Also, it will result in the longevity of your clothes because constant laundering wears your clothes out.
Read more: How often you should wash your clothes
8. Choose natural fibers for your clothes
When you launder synthetic fibers such as nylon, acrylic, and polyester fleece, it contributes to plastic pollution. Sad, but true!
Synthetic fibers contain thousands of microscopic bits of plastics (microplastics, the killer), and these are washed away during laundry. It impacts marine life as a long-term effect, as it’s harmful to the marine animals to eat the said fibers.
One thing you can do to minimize the adverse effect is by wearing natural fibers for your clothes – wool, bamboo, and organic cotton.
All being said, what if you don’t have the means to do laundry at home?
One straightforward solution could be choosing a commercial laundry shop that uses eco-friendly laundry essentials. This might be rare to find in non-urban areas, but then again, in such places, you’ll have the open outdoor.
Please keep these tips in mind if you operate your laundry routine from your home. As the most intelligent species on Earth, it’s your sacred duty to save more clean water from your daily life. These small baby steps will help contribute to the larger movement of saving our blue planet over time. Also, this will support the ones who care for our mother nature by advocating greener means in the laundry business.
Featured image by engin akyurt on Unsplash
Great post! I really like the tips you give. Indeed we should be more mindful about how we wash our clothes.