Though it may seem like a basic household chore, doing your laundry impacts the planet more than you think. According to reports, up to 80 percent of the environmental impact caused by our clothing comes from washing and drying, since it takes too much energy heating the water and running the dryer. So, there’s a potential to reduce energy and water use, therefore minimizing carbon footprint, by simply laundering the greener way. Here are some tips on how to green your laundry habits.
- Wash Clothes by Hand
Yes, hand washing takes more time and physical energy, but there are tools available to make the job easier. Pedal-powered washers and laundry plungers are cheap and efficient ways to do laundry without the need for electrical power; and you’ll get an idea of how much clothes you’re accumulating in between washes.
- Air-Dry Washed Clothes
The wind and the sun are effective combo at drying your clothes but if the weather turns bad and drying clothes outdoors is not an option, clothes racks can be used to dry them indoors. So, instead of running clothes in the dryer and using more electric power, air-dry them instead. Added bonus? Your clothes last longer as there’s less wear and tear when you skip the dryer.
- Wear Clothes Several Times Before Washing
It does not go for everything though, such as underwear and socks, but the best way to cut back on your laundry impact is to do less of it. Wearing your clothes several times in between washes is the easiest way to green your laundry habits. Don’t worry about being sanitary with your trousers; even the biggest brands designed their denim wear to last three to five uses before laundering them.
- Choose Natural Detergents
Natural products contain less—or even zero—chlorine bleach, dyes, optical brighteners and synthetic fragrance. What’s in these natural products? They are usually made of plant-based components—not petroleum—and contain biodegradable surfactants. Plus, they are often formulated to work well in cold water. Just be sure to read the fine prints when shopping for these items.
- Avoid Ironing Clothes
Not only it’s a boring and tedious task, ironing also consumes energy and slowly deteriorates the fabric. But since even the most respectable environmentalist doesn’t want to look wrinkled, simply avoid wringing your clothes before hanging them on the clothes line. The excess water will work with gravity and will pull most of the wrinkles out.
This weekly household chore can be done with lower environmental impact. Whether or not you choose to do the laundry with a washing machine and dryer, there are many ways to do this task the greener way.