A Guide for Sustainable Laundry Practice

A Guide for Sustainable Laundry Practice

Sustainability is a way of life, and what better way to audit our sustainable lifestyle than by starting with one significant aspect of our daily lives: Doing the laundry. 

The act of laundry has been around since the Romans, but it was in the 19th century, with the modern washing machine, that it became essential and ubiquitous. But our fixation with cleanliness comes at a hefty price that the environment pays. According to NatGeo, in Europe alone, washing machines emit 62 million tonnes of CO2-eq greenhouse gasses each year. In the US, the average household washes 300 loads of laundry per year, consuming 6,000 gallons of water that releases hazardous chemicals and microplastics that pollute the oceans, air, and health. 

Yet, there's still hope that we can reduce our footprint with the right advice and sustainable mindset.

Follow these tips to start changing your laundry habits to a more sustainable laundry lifestyle:

Sometimes Less Is More

Did you know that extra washing is not friendly to clothes? It can lead to fast color fading, shrinkage, and even misshaping, causing clothes to end up in landfills faster.

Choosing to reduce laundry can thus reduce our footprint on the environment. Indeed, just washing jeans after every ten wears "reduces energy use, climate change impact and water intake for 80 percent", Levi-Strauss& Co. research found out.

Go for a Greener Alternative: Dump the Plastic

Laundry products usually come in big plastic jugs generally made of the worst existing plastic: high-density polyethylene. Emptying one after the other has become a habit for many of us, not really knowing its impact—just their purpose of cleaning our clothes. 

In North America, around one billion laundry jugs are discarded annually. At the same time, just 30 percent are recycled, meaning that approximately 600 million jugs end up in landfills, the ocean, and waterways.

We recommend dumping all the plastic jugs and choosing low-impact alternatives such as plastic-free, recyclable, or dissolvable packaging laundry products. 

Cold Water Is Always Best

Hot vs. Cold? While using hot water has been the go-to in washing laundry, cold water is just as effective, says Harvard University. Cold water is gentle on clothes, prevents color bleeding, and helps the clothes to last longer. Moreover, using cold water reduces by 90 percent the energy spent by the washing machine. According to the American Cleaning Institute, you could cut 864 pounds of CO2 emissions in a year just by using cold water. 


Filled that machine by its capacity

Regardless of the size of the load, washers use the same amount of energy each time. Wait instead to do laundry with fuller loads; that way, you reduce the impact on the environment and decrease the release of microfibers, according to researchers from Northumbria University.

Dry cleaning: Not The Best Option

Besides the energy used by dry cleaners, these often have polluting chemicals that are harmful to the environment and our health. Dry cleaners usually contain 1-bromopropane, a powerful solvent linked to cancer and neurological issues. 

Washing gently by hand can be the safest and cleanest option. Test a small section to ensure your clothing is suitable for hand washing. If any color bleeding, shrinkage, or warping happens, you can look for environmentally friendly cleaning options such as professional wet cleaning or liquid carbon dioxide cleaning. 

Save Energy with The Sun and Air

If you want to increase your clothes' lifespan, air drying is the way. You save the most energy and money by drying your clothes the old way. Leave it to the Sun and the air to do their magic. It can also serve as an alternative to dry cleaning. UV rays can gently help refresh your clothes. 

Use Your Skills: DIY eco-friendly detergent.

Eager for DIY projects? Try your skills to create a homemade green detergent with ingredients from your kitchen. You can easily start by combining baking soda and your favorite natural castile soap or recreate your own. Baking soda softens clothes and brightens, deodorizes, and cleans simultaneously. On the other hand, castile soap is a vegetable-based, nontoxic, and biodegradable soap that is gentle on the skin and fabrics. Or perhaps you can just replace your usual detergent with distilled white vinegar, and you are good to go. 

Switch to Laundry Sheets

These lavender laundry sheets are not only eco-friendly, but also free from harmful chemicals like parabens, phthalates, bleach, and dyes. This makes them a safe and natural choice for your laundry needs. Plus, with the powerful formula, you only need a half sheet for a medium load or a full sheet for a large load, helping you conserve water with each load.

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