Stacy Talks & Reviews: 6 Ways to Green Your Laundry

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6 Ways to Green Your Laundry

Everything we do has an impact on our planet and the laundry is no exception. It may be shocking for some that washing machines and dryers are responsible for a huge chunk of an average household’s electricity bill, so by going as green as possible you will not only be bettering the Earth, but your own pocket as well.

1. Don’t wash after every wear

After a long day it is much easier to just chuck your shirt and trousers into the laundry basket and forget about it until the laundry day. However, this is not the most sustainable option because it’s inevitable that you will be using your washing machine more than the need calls for it. So, things like pants, jeans and skirts can be worn three times or even more. Depending on how much you sweat, you can also wear your T-shirts multiple times. Of course, it goes without saying that you should absolutely put your underwear and gym clothes into the dirty pile after every wear.

2. Minimize dry cleaning

The easiest way to avoid dry cleaning is to not buy garments which need to be treated this way. However, you probably already own some items which require dry cleaning and throwing them away is not eco-friendly in the slightest. What is so detrimental to the environment when it comes to dry cleaning is a chemical called perchloroethylene, so a great way to reduce your carbon footprint is to look for a service which doesn’t use this chemical. For example, green cleaning in Chicago has already taken root and is a quite popular way of dry cleaning clothes.

3. Hang clothes to try

If you want to make a real difference in your carbon footprint you should avoid using a dryer. An eco-friendly way of drying clothes is to install a line dryer in your backyard or balcony and hang your washing loads to dry. Since some landlords oppose or even straight up forbid using the property in this way, you can purchase a dryer rack which can be kept inside and folded up after use, so it doesn’t take up much space. There’s also an additional benefit to line drying - your clothes will last longer since they won’t be tumbled in the dryer. 

4. Wash everything on cold

A lot of people think that if you wash your clothes on high they will end up cleaner. While this is true - your clothes will be disinfected if washed on almost boiling temperatures, oftentimes it is quite unnecessary. Most of the everyday dirt that gets accumulated on your clothes can be nicely washed out by cold water. Additionally, the majority of the energy consumption by the washing machines comes from heating up the water used for the load, so washing on cold will reduce your energy bill and is more environmentally friendly. 

5. Use eco-friendly detergent

The water that is used for your laundry is most likely to end up in your local river or sea with the chemicals negatively affecting the ecosystem of the natural source of water. Chemicals often found in detergents, such as phosphate, can be detrimental to marine life. Having this in mind, you should look for detergents which are phosphate-free and biodegradable. 

6. Avoid fabric softeners

Everyone loves the soft feel of freshly washed clothes and avoiding fabric softeners doesn’t have to mean you will never experience that. A great alternative to softener is believe it or not - vinegar. Add it during the rinse cycle so it can do its wonders. Vinegar is natural, so it won’t harm the planet and it also balances out the pH of detergent so it has the same effect as the softeners. Also, don’t worry, your clothes won’t smell rancid.

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