I bet you didn’t know that doing laundry can have a huge negative impact on the environment. From carbon dioxide emissions to microfiber plastics pollution, our laundry is doing detrimental damage to our planet. That being said, most of us are not willing to give up using our washing machines. Here are a few tips on how you can be more eco-friendly when washing your clothes.
1. Wash In Cold Water
Most of the energy used to wash your clothes comes from heating the water. Washing in cold water gets your clothes just as clean and reduces shrinking and fading. Hot water can increase the amount of microplastic fibers that are shed from synthetic clothing such as acrylic, polyester and nylon. These tiny fibers pollute our waterways and put ecosystems at risk. Washing clothes in cold water reduces the chances of fibers loosening and getting washed away.
2. Full Loads
Running full loads of laundry reduces the amount of carbon dioxide emissions. It also lessens the friction between clothing, resulting in fewer fibers being shed.
3. Use Delicate Cycle
Washing clothes on the delicate cycle means less agitation and less fiber shedding.
4. Buy A High Efficiency Washing Machine
Newer efficient washing machines use less water, some up to half of what you would use in an older machine. Machines with smart sensors can help cut down on washing time, water use and electrical use. Over time, the washing machine can pay for itself!
5. Wear Hemp and Bamboo Clothing
Most of us wear an article of clothing once and throw it in the hamper. Synthetic clothing holds bacteria, sweat and body oil causing them to stink and needing to be washed more frequently than natural fiber clothing like hemp and bamboo. These eco-friendly fabrics are naturally antimicrobial and odor resistant. You do not need to launder your clothing after each wear. These fabrics are exceptionally durable meaning your clothing will last longer. Although all clothing sheds fibers in the wash, those shed by hemp and bamboo clothing are fewer and are biodegradable.
6. Use The Dryer Less
Dryers use a lot of energy. Hang clothes to dry as often as possible. It’s better for your clothes too. Too much heat can damage the fibers of your clothing, causing them to lose their shape and shorten their life. When you do use the dryer, clean the lint screen every time to keep your machine running at its optimum.
7. Use Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergent
Look for a green laundry detergent that is biodegradable and phosphate free. A bonus tip and money saver is to use white vinegar instead of fabric softener.
If we all made these few small changes when doing laundry, we could have a huge impact on the environment over time.
The Effort’s Eco-Essentials Team