You might think that it is not much you can do to reduce your impact on the environment. There is a lot that you can do, and one of the easiest things that anyone can do is switch their laundry routine. It turns out that when it comes to laundry, there are a few things you can do to help sustain our planet.
Here are some strategies and tips for a zero-waste laundry routine.
Use Reusable Fabric Softener Balls
One of the best ways to reduce your impact on the environment is using reusable fabric softener balls. Buying fabric softener means adding plastic bottles into landfills, and these can contain toxic chemicals that seep into groundwater when they are not disposed of properly. Fabric softener also contains a lot of water, which does nothing but add weight to your clothes, and it is something you might not even need depending on the type of detergent that you are using.
You can use reusable fabric softener balls over and over again for several years, which means you save money in addition to saving resources. A wool dryer ball can last for over a thousand loads, and they are easy to use, so just add one fabric softener ball into the dryer with your clothing items when you wash them, and it will soften your clothes naturally without any chemicals being involved. It is also important not to use too many fabric softener balls since it could cause static cling and damage your clothing.
Use Less Detergent
Another easy way to reduce the number of resources you are using is by using less detergent when you do laundry. You might think that more detergent would be better because it will eliminate all the dirt from your clothes, but this is not the case. You can make detergent out of harsh chemicals harmful to both humans and the environment alike, so it makes sense to reduce your use of these products as much as you can.
Less detergent means less water used in washing machines, which will save thousands of gallons each year per household. You can use less detergent by using it in a cold-water cycle, and you should never pre-treat anything before washing because this wastes water as well. Ensure that you are buying environmentally-friendly laundry detergents that do not have phosphates or chlorine bleach, and use a small amount of the product to get rid of stains.
Only Wash Clothes When Necessary
Washing clothes every single time they become dirty is something most people do without thinking twice about it. However, this is not ideal for the environment. Washing clothes uses a lot of water and electricity, so it is better to create a weekly laundry routine that works and wash your clothes when it’s really necessary.
Using laundry balls like those made from wool can help reduce how quickly you need to do laundry because they allow clothing items to air-dry faster than normal dryer cycles. It is also better to air-dry your clothing items rather than using the dryer since it saves energy and time.
Make Your Own Laundry Detergent
Most of the laundry detergent we buy in shops and supermarkets comes with a massive carbon footprint, which means it creates more harm than good for the environment. Making your own laundry detergent at home is easy and cheap, and you can choose natural ingredients that will keep clothes fresh without damaging them over time, as some of the chemicals found in commercial products do.
You might wonder what types of ingredients to use when making your own laundry detergent, and some good options include washing soda crystals like those made from Arm & Hammer baking soda. Borax is another ingredient that can be used as a natural alternative to bleach or fabric softener. You only need one tablespoon of borax for every cup of water when making your homemade solutions.
Do Not Use Bleach
Bleach is a dangerous chemical that does more harm than good. You can make your clothing items whiter by using less detergent. It would be best never to use bleach when washing clothes because it damages the fabric over time and significantly reduces its lifespan. It also removes color from clothing items and makes them fade more quickly than they would otherwise, so it is best to avoid bleach altogether.
Even though many households love using bleach in their laundry, it is important to know that bleach can cause damage in the long run. You can use other alternatives to bleach to make your clothes whiter, such as lemon juice or hydrogen peroxide.
Air-Dry Your Clothes
Using the dryer is easy, but it also wastes energy. You can save thousands of kilowatts every year by hanging your clothes out to dry after washing them instead of using a machine that uses electricity. Even if you live in an area with cold winters, setting up a drying rack indoors or outside will do wonders for reducing how much water you use when doing laundry.
Ensure that you have enough drying space and that you got a lot of options for hanging your clothes up, and you should also make sure your clothing items are properly hung without any twists in the fabric. Try to reduce how often you use a dryer every year, especially if it is unnecessary for certain types of clothing items that can be air-dried. This will save water as well as money on electricity.
Use Less Water When Washing Clothes
It is best to use less water when washing clothes because it will reduce the impact on the environment. This means you should never pre-treat any stains before doing laundry, and you can clean your clothing items by hand if they are only a little bit dirty or smelly. It also helps to go easy with how much detergent you use or switch to laundry balls that help clothes dry faster.
If possible, try to use a machine with a load capacity of less than 40 or 50 liters, and it is best to avoid using more water when washing your clothes because you can save up on how much detergent you need. If possible, only wash the items that really need it instead of keeping them clean in between washes by doing things like wiping down dirty surfaces with a damp cloth.
In conclusion, there are many ways to make your laundry routine more sustainable. You can reduce water use by hanging clothes to dry every time, only washing the dirty items that really need it instead of keeping them clean in between washes, and making sure you air-dry your clothing items whenever possible. It is best to avoid using bleach when doing laundry, and you should use less detergent to save money. With the above tips, you can keep your clothes looking in good condition without harming the environment.