When you think about doing your laundry, the basic concept feels like it would be on the green side of things. Water, some detergent, and in the luckiest cases the natural sun to dry your garments out on a line in your garden. Of course, this is only a small part of the process, and when you start factoring in all of the potential chemicals used as well as the various gadgets available, something as seemingly simple as laundry can start to have a bigger environmental impact than you might imagine.
Thankfully, the laundry industry has started to acknowledge there are issues that can be addressed and lots of companies and brands are coming up with lots of ways to help make doing your laundry a much greener and more environmentally friendly experience. If you are somebody who wants to play your own small part in trying to live a better life for the environment, then this could be a great place to start.
Here are some of the best ways that you can explore to make your own laundry doing experience a much greener and more eco-friendly affair.
Wear Clothes More Than Once
Make a commitment to only buy clothing that you know you are going to wear more than once. Disposable fashion is one of the biggest problems in the fashion industry at the moment, and we should all make the effort to select wardrobe options that are going to last us a long time rather than a single time. If you can eliminate single-use clothing from your life, it is the first step to being more environmentally conscious.
Reduce Your Plastic Usage
Even if your clothing is made up of mostly natural fibres, the wider laundry process can often involve plastic that you don't even think about. Things like your pegs, for example. Hanging up washing with plastic pegs is simple and convenient, but they are prone to snapping over time which means that you have to buy more. This obviously contributes to the wider plastic problem, so switching to something like stainless steel pegs can make a difference. They last much, much longer, and more importantly, there is no plastic in sight!
Use Green Laundry Detergent
Many of the household name brand detergents work as well as they do because they are packed full of chemical ingredients that aren't necessarily the best things for the environment. Switch to detergent brands that are made from plant and vegetable-based ingredients instead of being petroleum-based. In a double positive, these products are often kinder and gentler to your skin too, so you might even notice that your clothes cause you less irritation than they used to.
You should also consider washing at a lower temperature. All detergents, including the greener ones, are powerful enough to work at cool wash temperatures. Unless you are doing a heavy soil wash, clothes are rarely dirty enough to warrant high temperature washes.
Make Your Own Detergent
You could even go one step further and avoid proprietary brands altogether and try your hand at making detergent at home. Doing it this way, you are able to completely control what goes into the formula so there are no hidden chemicals to contend with. You don't need a degree in science to be able to try this. Just decide upon one of the many different recipes online and have a go. You can scent the detergent with any kind of essential oil that you like in order to make it smell good.
Hand Wash Smaller Loads
Only use the washing machine when you have a suitable load of clothing to get clean. For single garments or smaller loads, make the effort to hand wash instead. This uses considerably less energy in your home which is always a positive.
Air Dry When Possible
It won't always be possible because of space and/or weather, but when you can, dry your clothes in the sun rather than in a dryer. The sun is the best source of heating that we have, so take advantage of it whenever you can! Cutting back on tumble drying can make a big difference to your electricity bill at the end of the year.
Going green can always seem like too much effort for little reward. Changing a few laundry habits doesn't take much and it all contributes towards the greater good of saving the planet.