Life gets busy and hectic, and naturally, the more people in a household the more laundry you do. It’s not a crime to stay clean and fresh. But with the average family doing up to 8 loads of laundry a week, maybe it’s time to talk about how to make laundry days more eco-friendly.
1. Choose a good washer and wash less often.
The first steps might seem simple, but can make a big difference. Invest in an energy efficient laundry machine that significantly reduces its electricity usage and water consumption. Not only are you saving water, but you’re saving money, since it makes for a lower water bill. When washing clothes, try to use cold water as often as possible as it requires less energy than heating water. Also, stretch the number of times you’re willing to wear clothes. In most cases, you can wear clothes two or three times, maybe even more, before tossing them in the hamper. Then, wait to do a wash until you have a completely full load.
2. Avoid harsh chemicals and toxins.
Traditional detergents, dryer sheets, and stain removers often contain harmful chemicals that are bad for your skin and for the environment. Chemicals like bleach and 1,4-diaxone, a probable human carcinogen found in detergents, don’t always wash entirely out of your clothes. This means that though you put your clothes through an entire wash cycle, you’re still potentially coming into contact with toxins that remain on fabrics. These absorb through our skin overtime, and can cause issues like skin irritation, confusion, and headaches, among other health concerns. Fortunately, there are a number of alternatives available on the market now.
For a seriously deep clean, try laundry stripping–a process involving detergent, borax, and washing soda. Fill your tub with hot water, enough to cover all the garments. Add ¼ cup borax, ¼ cup washing soda, and ½ cup of laundry detergent. Stir with something long, like the end of a broom or mop, and let sit for 30 minutes. Stir again, then let sit for 4-8 hours, stirring occasionally. Wring your laundry dry and put it through your normal wash cycle.
Store your reusable dirties in an organic mesh laundry bag, and toss the whole thing in the washer to keep your items together. Try swapping to a chemical free laundry soap that’s better for skin and the environment. Or, nix the plastic detergent bottles all together and opt for laundry sheets. Featuring earth friendly cardboard packaging instead of a wasteful plastic jug, Eco Sheets is a concentrated detergent sheet that dissolves in seconds with packaging that is sustainable, biodegradable, and eco-friendly.
Instead of the conventional stain removers, try a vegan stain stick. This solid, zero-waste addition to your laundry routine can help prolong the life of your favorite fabric items, without plastic packaging. Moisten the stain bar and gently rub into the stain. Let it sit for a few minutes and rinse. Once the stained area is treated, simply wash as usual with your usual detergent.
Also, make the swap to wool dryer balls, that reduce drying time, decrease wrinkles and static, soften clothes naturally, keep harmful chemicals off of your family’s laundry, and dryer sheets out of landfills. Toss 3-6 dryer balls in your dryer depending on the size of your load. You can add a couple drops of essential oil to them to gently scent your laundry. Or, reduce your energy use even more by hang drying your clothes on a clothesline or drying rack!
3. Skip the dry cleaners.
Dry cleaning is truly not a green process. Not only do you receive your items individually wrapped in plastic, it often involves harsh chemicals and cleaners like perchloroethylene, which is known to be dangerous to our health. After a while, the extra cost, water, and energy use just isn’t worth it. One simple way to avoid the dry cleaners is not to buy clothes that require it. But that’s easier said than done. So, pay attention to labels and tags, and learn to care for your garments. For example, things like wool and cashmere can be hand washed. Invest in a steamer, and learn what you can actually get away with tossing in the washer.
Ultimately, laundry is an inescapable part of life. And if your goal is to reduce your time at the cleaners instead of eliminating it, that’s alright! Being eco friendly begins with being conscious of your actions, and then taking small steps to make changes. Whether you’re laundry stripping, or hang drying, Marley’s Monsters has the tools you need to start implementing alternatives. Let us know what other laundry hacks you come up with! We’d love to talk.