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How to be more environmentally conscious when doing laundry?

Laundry isn’t usually on the top of people’s list of ways to live a more environmentally conscious lifestyle. If you are someone who does multiple loads of laundry every week, it could be having a more substantial effect on the planet than you might think. The amount of water, energy, and products used when doing laundry can inevitably add up. 

Washing and drying your garments in a more environmentally conscious way can make for a more Eco-conscious household. These simple switches will not only reduce the environmental impact but will also save you money while you’re at it. 

  • Washing clothes in cooler temperatures
  • Always make sure you wash full loads
  • Get a green washing machine
  • Use green laundry detergent 
  • Wash by hand
  • Cut down on drying time
  • Hang clothes to dry
  • Don’t iron unnecessarily
  • Get the professionals to take care of it

Washing clothes in cooler temperatures

Up to 90 % of the energy used when doing your laundry involves just heating the water. Most of us know that having a long, hot shower is less environmentally friendly than a quick, short one. The same applies when doing your laundry. 

Washing clothes at 30°C instead of 40°C uses about 40% less energy. Doing your laundry at a lower temperature can also be better for your clothes. Exposing your clothes to hot temperatures can shorten the lifespan of the garment.

Always make sure you wash full loads.

Reducing the number of loads you do per week will save water and save you money. Even the most environmentally-efficient loads can use up to 40 gallons of water per load. 

Try reducing your loads as best you can throughout the week to reduce your carbon footprint. You could wear some clothes more than once before washing. This solution doesn’t go for all pieces of clothing, socks and underwear come to mind, but not tossing your jeans in the laundry basket after one wear is the first step to improving your laundry habit.

Invest in green machines

We are not suggesting that everyone throws out their current working washing machine and head to the shop to buy a new eco-friendly one today. If you are in the market for a new washer or dryer, buying a greener model can save energy and use less water, lowering your bills in the process. 

High-efficiency machines use between 20% to 60% less water and as little as 50% energy as traditional washing machines. Investing in a green washing machine will significantly reduce your environmental impact at home. 

washing machine

Use green laundry detergent 

Conventional washing detergents can be very damaging to the ecosystems where the dirty water we wash down the drain can end up. Standard laundry detergent contains phosphates which can have disastrous effects to marine life that comes in contact with it. 

When purchasing more Eco-friendly detergents, make sure you keep an eye out for labels that indicate the product is biodegradable and phosphate-free. These detergents are often more gentle on the skin, too. 

Wash by hand

We know this option will cause some people to wince.  Hand washing can be time-consuming, but there are some ways to make the process easier. Tools like a pedal washer can allow you to exercise while you wash your laundry, helping your body and the environment at the same time.

Hand washing can give you a sense of just how much laundry you’re going through weekly. As well as helping you see where you can cut back on the amount of laundry you do. 

Cut down on drying time.

Your dryer uses up a lot of energy – so anything you can do to cut down the time using this machine will help the environment. Not using your dryer as much can also save you money on your electric bill. 

Little things like cleaning the filter in your dryer can also save energy. If the filter is clogged, the clothes take longer to dry, meaning more energy wasted. 

Hang clothes to dry

One of the most optimal ways to cut down on time using your dryer is to hang your clothes to dry. If weather permits, hanging your clothes to dry on the line outside can take away 100% of the energy used when using your dryer. 

For people who live in a warmer climate drying clothes outside can be quick and easy. Those who live in wetter corners of the globe, can always line dry indoors all year round. Hanging clothes to dry will not only reduce energy, it will also cut your electric bill and make your clothes last longer.

Don’t iron unnecessarily

Ironing is top of most peoples most hated chores list. So why not cut it out when it isn’t necessary? Ironing consumes excess energy and can deteriorate the fabric on your clothing. 

We understand that even the most environmentally conscious of us still don’t want to rock up to a job interview with a creased shirt. To avoid looking scruffy, all you have to do is hang up your shirt straight after the wash cycle is complete. For materials that are more prone to creasing, like linen, just cut the final spin cycle on your wash, leaving more water in the fabric, resulting in fewer creases.

Get the professionals to take care of it

It might sound unconventional, but commercial washers and dryers tend to be more efficient than domestic machines because they are bigger and can take bigger loads. By using professionals like Laundryheap, you can lessen the number of loads, meaning less wasted energy and water at home. 

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Sustainable Laundry Solutions

Laundry is a time and an energy consuming activity that contributes to the CO2 emissions of the environment.

Here is what doing laundry does to the environment:

  • Chemicals from liquids (detergents/softeners)  used in the laundry are released into the environment as wastewater; greatly affecting the ecosystems.
  • Phosphates in detergent can contaminate fresh water and cause harm to humans.
  • 700,000 microplastic fibres are released into the ocean, every time you wash; causing harm to marine life.
  • One normal cycle on the washing machine typically uses up to 30 gallons of water, which then converts into wastewater.
  • High temperature washes can cause an increase of CO2 emissions by 1.2-14.9 pounds per laundry load.

Here are some of the things you can do, to have a more sustainable laundry operation:

Wash only when you need to: Reduce the number of loads you do per week and wash only when you absolutely need to. This can be done by wearing your outerwear clothes more often than once. By doing this, you’ll save a whole lot of energy, water and money! 

Wash on colder cycles: Did you know that about 90% of the energy used in the washing machine is used to heat up water for hot washes? Washing on a colder cycle completely reduces the energy needed to heat up the water.

Use green laundry detergent: Conventional detergents may contain harmful ingredients (phosphates) that aren’t good for your skin and can affect the aquatic ecosystems and marine life in a negative way. Look for detergents that are biodegradable, are phosphate-free, and are plant based products. These indicate that they’re environmentally friendly as well as kind to the skin.

Also, why not go for concentrated detergent? They have reduced packaging and reduce carbon footprint.

You can also make your own detergent! What better way for eco-friendly laundry than with homemade detergent?!

Wash by hand: The ancient way of washing clothes means less consumption of water and energy! Yes, it may be time consuming but it is a good work out.

Natural air dry: Tumble drying contributes to 75% of the carbon footprintDrying naturally uses no energy whatsoever, so if it’s a lovely sunny day, make the most of it and dry your clothes outside, if not, then dry them in your home. Only use the dryer when you need to wear your clothes right away.

Using Laundry services: Sounds a little unusual but commercial washers and dryers tend to be more efficient than domestic versions because they’re bigger and can take more kg. This means lessening the number of loads, energy and water consumption you would use at home.