Eco washing tips, tools and tricks
When it comes to washing your clothes in an eco friendly way, there are a few things to consider. First, there’s energy and water consumption. Then, there are the chemicals in the products we use, plus the plastic containers they come in. Finally, there’s the actual clothing itself that sheds as you wash it. Today, we’re discussing my best eco washing tips!
What makes laundry not eco friendly?
Traditional top load washing machines can use up to 54 gallons of water per wash. Compare that to the most efficient options that use only 7 gallons, and you see what a big difference you can make by using an energy efficient machine. Speaking of energy, heating the water for your wash is actually the biggest energy suck: it’s about 90% of the total energy it takes to do laundry.
Phosphates and petrochemicals are commonly found in laundry detergent and are not biodegradable, in fact, they pollute our natural bodies of water. While phosphates are now banned from detergent, petrochemicals are not. They’re petroleum-based, among other fossil fuels, and found in detergent fragrances. Since fragrances are a trade secret, detergent companies don’t have to disclose these chemicals on the ingredient lists.
Arguably the worst part of laundry is that when you wash synthetic clothing, it releases tiny fibres into the water system. When you wash 6kg of clothing, anywhere from 137,951 to 728,789 fibres are released as pollution into the ocean. To put that into perspective, according to The Guardian, “In terms of plastic fibre volume, a city the size of Berlin may be responsible for releasing the equivalent of 540,000 plastic bags’ worth of them into the ocean daily.”
Eco washing tips
Wash less – The easiest swap is to wash your laundry less often. Before throwing clothing in the laundry bin, consider how long you actually wore it, and if it’s really dirty. We’ve actually been conditioned to believe we need to wash our clothing more often than ever before.
Air dry – A simple way to cut your energy consumption is to air dry clothing. Hang garments over chairs and surfaces, or invest in a laundry ladder.
Be mindful of products – As I mentioned above, fragrances often contain harmful chemicals. Opt for fragrance free options.
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Products to use for an eco friendly wash
Non electric laundry – Skip the launderette completely with your own portable non electric washing machine. It’s the perfect size for any apartment, is easy to use, and saves on energy and water.
Dryer balls – Instead of dryer sheets, go for dryer balls and add essential oils for a pleasant scent. I like these for a bit of variety.
Microfibre catchers – Before throwing your clothing in the wash, put them in a laundry bag like this one, which catches the microfibers before they enter the water system. For larger loads of laundry, try the Cora Ball instead.
Use an energy efficient machine – If you have the budget for it or are on the market for a new washing machine, consider buying a more energy efficient option. This is obviously a more advanced option, but if you can do it, go for it!
Whatever you do, small steps toward a more sustainable lifestyle add up quickly! Leave me a comment below and let me know what eco washing tip you’ll try first. For more eco friendly cleaning, check out this recipe for a simple DIY bathroom cleaner.
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Annie Lowden01/03/2021 at 10:56 pm
Hi Mia. We’re already using Eco laundry liquid, and fabric conditioner, which we get from our local refill Store, using the same bottles over and again. Outside lockdown, they often stock pre-loved bottles from other customers, so if you forget your own, you can take one of theirs for a small fee.
We don’t have a dryer, which can be a pain in the middle of a cold snap in winter, but it’s mostly manageable. I’m going to try one of the microfibre catchers, I had no idea you could get them, so thanks for that tip.
Please keep going with your top tips, I sometimes think I know what I need to know, but the situation and the solutions keep changing, this is great! THanks so much
Mia Hadrill31/05/2021 at 8:26 pm
Thank you, Annie. Hope you get on well with the microfibre catcher. Appreciate the encouragement, and thanks very much for your kind support.