Laundry is a necessary part of life, but it can also significantly impact the environment. The average American household uses about 400 gallons of water per week for laundry, and the energy used to heat that water contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. But there are several things you can do to make your laundry more sustainable. We will update this article periodically with links to products and free/cheap home remedies.
These tips help you do your laundry more sustainably:
- Wash full loads: It’s more efficient to wash full loads of laundry than small ones, as the amount of water and energy used per item is much lower.
- Use cold water: Use cold water instead of hot water for washing clothes, as it saves energy and helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- Air dry your clothes: Try to air dry your clothes instead of a dryer, as dryers use a lot of energy. If you have to use a dryer, consider using a drying rack or drying balls to reduce drying time and energy usage.
- Use eco-friendly laundry detergent: Use an eco-friendly detergent free of harsh chemicals and synthetic fragrances. These detergents are better for your health and the environment.
- Choose natural fibers: Choose clothes made of natural fibers like cotton, linen, and wool. These fibers are biodegradable and have a smaller carbon footprint than synthetic fibers like polyester.
- Repair clothes: Repair clothes instead of throwing them away. This reduces waste and extends the life of your clothes.
- Use a washing machine with an energy-efficient rating: When shopping for one, choose one with an energy-efficient rating. These machines use less water and energy than older models, which helps reduce your carbon footprint.
- Use a front-loading washing machine: Front-loading washing machines use less water and energy than top-loading machines, as they use gravity to move clothes instead of an agitator.
- Use vinegar instead of fabric softener: Vinegar is a natural fabric softener that can help reduce static cling and soften clothes without using chemicals.
- Wash clothes less frequently: Try to wear clothes more than once before washing them, as this reduces the amount of water and energy used. Of course, this doesn’t apply to undergarments and sweaty workout clothes!
You can make a big difference for the planet by making minor changes to your laundry routine.