Get a wash load of saving in your laundry room! The most important thing in the laundry room is to get longevity in your clothes, use less and be mindful of the chemicals you use, these super-easy eco friendly laundry tips will have you well on your way to a sustainable laundry room.
1. Retire the iron
Did you know that your iron uses a lot of energy? Irons use about 1800k w of electricity. If you line dry your clothes or take them out of the dryer when they are hot, you’ll have fewer wrinkles. The best way to solve the problem is to shop for sustainable fabrics that do not have to be ironed.
2. Say goodbye to dryer sheets
Dryer sheets are filled with toxic chemicals that are carcinogens. You want to reduce your exposure to toxic chemicals in your home as much as you can. This is a great place to start. I love Nellie's Wool Balls. They reduce drying time by 40% per load, are made with 100% wool, and reduce static cling. It doesn’t get any better. The other option is to make your own.
If static is a big issue for you, remove the clothing just before it’s completely dry and hang it on a clothesline. If you put on a skirt and it sticks to your tush, spray some water and walk through it, it should solve the problem. You can also add a safety pin to the ball, it also helps reduce static.
Your dryer costs you about $85 a year to run! Dryers have also not come very far over the last few years. Using a clothesline is the greenest option. You can also have a look a the washer-dryer combo units, such as Innovative Washing’s EdgeStar units or LG’s All-in-Ones.
Keep in mind though that high-efficiency washers get most of the water out of your clothes when on the spin cycle. Using a newer washer means less water and therefore less drying time is needed. Choose a dryer with a moisture sensor that will shut off your machine when clothes are dry. An air-dry feature, which dries clothes with cold air, reduces energy use and wrinkles.
3. Service your appliances
Proper maintenance of your washing machine and dryer will save you money in the long run. Keeping your lint trap clean will save you about $35 a year in energy costs. A clogged filter will restrict flow and reduce dryer performance.
4. Reduce, reuse, and re-wear!
A few years ago the United Nations Environment Program conducted a series of research and found that we can consume up to five times less energy by wearing our jeans more than once. Three times to be exact. This does not apply to socks and panties though. Washing your jeans in cold water and skipping the dryer saves energy and money too.
5. Ditch the toxins
Just say no to bleach. When it gets into our waterways it can lead to high levels of dioxins. Dioxins are environmental pollutants. They belong to a group of dangerous chemicals known as persistent organic pollutants. Bleach is also toxic to humans and animals if ingested. If the words “poison” or “hazardous” appears on a product, it’s time to rethink that buy. Also avoid phosphates, ammonia, glycol ethers, parabens, acids, and chlorine. Always read the label, but keep in mind that even eco cleaners can contain some of these harsh ingredients. Do your homework, talk to the manufacturers, and ask questions.
To be really green you make your own, this Homemade Bleach Alternative is the bomb. And, if you are looking for a kick A$$ laundry booster this is the easiest one to make at home. It’s much safer than bleach and works just as well. Good for you and good for the planet. I also love these zero-waste laundry detergents and these eco-friendly laundry sheets are amazing too!
6. Choose energy-efficient appliances
It’s really key to choose a washing machine that meets the need of your family. Again, do your homework, this website offers reviews on almost all of the machines on the market. Washers range in capacity too, so if your loads are small, go with a smaller model that uses less water and energy. Shop for energy star-rated machines. Always set your machine for one rinse cycle, it’ll save you some cash because you are not using as much energy.
Dryers are not energy star certified, but there are ways to save money, buy one with a built-in moisture sensor, it turns off when the clothes are dry. Most newer models have this feature.
The average household does almost 400 loads of laundry each year, consuming about 13,500 gallons of water. The first thing is to switch to an energy star front loading washing machine, it will save about 7,000 gallons of water per year. That’s just over 26,000 liters.
7. Wash in cold water
90% of the energy used when washing your clothes is waiting for the water to heat up. Cut down on that by washing in warm or cold water.
Beware of “cold water” detergents, yes its good to wash in cold water, you’ll use about 85% less energy, but many of these detergents still contain harsh chemicals. Also pick sent free options, “morning glory” sounds good yes. Perfumed detergents have phthalates, hormone-disrupting chemicals, not good for us. Avoid bleach where you can.
8. Use less soap
For detergent, again eco options are best. Conventional soaps contain a list of toxic ingredients that should be avoided. Pay close attention to the amount of soap that is recommended on the washing machine, there is no need to go over that. This will save you money, about $60 over a year. Using too much soap also forces the machine to work harder and in some cases, you may get residue on your clothes. It’s happened to me! That soapy mess can cause skin irritations and allergies.
9. Avoid dry cleaning
There are a number of dry cleaners that claim to be green, natural, and organic. Problem is, that there are no regulations in place that guarantee that a cleaner is, in fact, using non-toxic alternatives. If you must dry clean your clothes, I recommend “wet cleaning”, silicone-based cleaning, and carbon dioxide cleaning. If your clearer is using PERC, stay away. PERC or Perchloroethylene is harmful to our health and the health of the planet. There’s a lot of controversy on the subject of dry cleaning and everyone surely has an opinion. For me, less is more.
Tips to avoid frequent trips to the dry cleaners:
- Throw your clothes in the dryer for about 10 minutes with a small damp towel, this acts as a steamer.
- Invest in a good steamer. For men, this is a great way to get extra wear out of your shirts. Ladies, this is great for expensive dresses, etc.
- In the winter wear an undergarment, this will help with sweat stains and odor.
- Tackle a stain as soon as it happens.
- These easy tips will help you save time and money.
10. Avoid fabric softeners
This stuff is the worst, it's made with quaternary ammonium compounds, also known as squats, highly toxic to people and the planet. Instead, try these eco-friendly natural fabric softeners.
A final word on Eco Friendly Laundry Tips
No matter which toom in the house you are trying to make more eco-friendly, remember it takes time. Replaces products as you run out and be wary of conventional detergents that claim to be biodegradable, they are not the same thing. Read labels and do as much research as you can, especially when buying sustainable appliances.