9 Ways to Green Your Laundry. Less Plastic. Less Energy. More Planet Friendly.
Author: Sandy Abram Date Posted:14 April 2019
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Reduce your impact on our planet from your laundry. Here’s our nine top tips for making laundry day greener and kinder to you and Mother Nature. Less plastic. Less chemicals. Less energy. More planet love.
Looking for ways to reduce your impact on the planet? How about starting with your laundry? Here’s our nine top tips for making laundry day greener and kinder to you and Mother Nature.
If like us you’ve had enough of plastic tubs filled with highly scented, chemical laden washing powders, liquids and capsules that flood your home with fake floral scents, then we’ve got all you need to green your laundry and help support the environment.
# 1 Use Planet Friendly Detergents
Doing the laundry using eco laundry detergent and fabric softeners produces just the same results as using non-eco products, with the added bonus that they’re not harmful to you or the environment.
Resparkle products are Australian made, organic, non-toxic and brilliant. Their laundry liquid is effective at getting rid of stubborn stains and is available scented with essential oils of lavender, citrus or rose.
Equally as brilliant, are eco laundry products from That Red House. Instead of the traditional laundry liquid, That Red House encourages us to go back to yesteryear, when laundry was kinder, with their soapberries.
Soapberries are a completely natural product, and are actually berries, from the Sapindus Mukorossi tree. They’re full of saponin, which is a natural soap that’s kinder to our skin and doesn’t pollute the environment.
Simply pop a few into the cotton wash bag provided and place in the drum of your washing machine. Each soapberry can be used three or four times.
# 2 Choose Refillable Brands
Zero waste shops are popping up in towns and cities all over the country, so be sure to find out where your nearest one is. You can take along your old containers and refill them with laundry detergent (or washing up liquids, soaps, bathroom products and dried and liquid foods).
We also stock the amazing brand of household products, Resparkle. Resparkle products are organic, plant based, natural, toxin free and totally friendly to the environment. You can purchase the starter bottles and then the refills to help you on your way to a green laundry.
# 3 Wash on a Cooler Temperature
Using hot water is the most energy intensive part of a whole washing machine cycle. It accounts for 90% of the energy used, which is shocking considering most of us would say that the spin cycle would use more.
Washing clothes at 30 degrees uses 40% less energy than washing at higher temperatures, which saves money, and energy consumption.
But not only is switching to a cooler wash good for your pocket and the environment. Washing at 30 degrees also makes your clothes last longer. They already go through enough by being swirled around and spun at high speeds, so they could do with a little TLC.
A cooler wash helps minimise colour loss and damage to fabrics, keeping your clothes fresher and less likely to suffer wear and tear. Plus, you won't notice any difference in cleaning power.
Green-clean clothes that look great for longer and don’t need to be replaced as soon? A double environmental bonus!
# 4 Don’t Wash Clothes as Often
With the exception of underwear, socks and tights, most clothes really don’t need to be washed after each wear.
If you’ve worn a dress for one evening or a pair of jeans or a jumper for the day, try hanging them outside for a few hours instead of putting them straight into the laundry bin. The fresh air will get rid of any odours and freshen everything up.
If clothes are a little bit soiled, try spot washing - using a bar of laundry soap and a small scrubbing brush (a nail brush is perfect here) to just wash that small area.
# 5 Make the Most of the Sun!
One thing we don’t lack for much of the year here in Australia is sunshine. Even on chillier Spring and Autumn days, the sun is still warm enough to dry clothes naturally.
In fact, the ideal conditions for drying clothes is warm sunshine with a gentle breeze. The heat from the sun warms the water trapped within wet fibres, allowing it to rise to the surface, and the breeze will carry it away.
If you have outdoor space, make the most of it when you’re doing washing. (Or even plan your washing loads around the weather and choose the best days each week if possible.)
Invest in a rotary clothes hoist (you know, a Hills Hoist) or simply tie a rope securely to one point in your garden to another. Fence posts, trees, bushes and kids outdoor furniture can all work. Or, drag your indoor clothes horse outside and use that instead.
On cold or wet days, make the most of the heating being on indoors and dry clothes over your radiators and heaters. If you use an open fire or another kind of heater, make sure you don’t cause a fire risk by drying clothes too close to the heat.
# 6 Try Wool Dryer Balls to Reduce Drying Time (and Avoid Ironing)
If you use a tumble dryer, it’s best, eco-wise, to only use it for loads of towels or sheets that are difficult to dry outside or by being draped over radiators.
When you do use your dryer, avoid disposable, use-once dryer sheets and try wool dryer balls instead. Our 100% pure Australian wool dryer balls from That Red House can be used an incredible 10,000 times.
They absorb moisture from your laundry load and help to move heat evenly around the drum, reducing drying time. What’s more, they reduce wrinkles, thereby minimising the chance your clothes will need ironing. A win for your time and a win for the the environment.
# 7 Switch to Plastic Free Pegs
In our grandmothers day, clothes pegs were always wooden, but since then, convenience, price and plastic have taken over and the plastic peg is now ubiquitous.
Plastic pegs perish in the sun over time, rendering them useless. They either snap off and end up embedded in your lawn, or worse, get sent to landfill where they’ll remain for hundreds of years.
Thankfully, there are greener alternatives. Stainless Steel pegs from That Red House are 100% waste free and will last forever without rusting.
Bamboo pegs are a thing too, and our 100% biodegradable, sustainable bamboo pegs from Go Bamboo are the perfect, lightweight, eco-friendly, non-staining alternative to plastic.
# 8 Go Old School
Washing clothes by hand might seem like a step backwards, but there’s nothing like adding to the household chores to make everyone in the household think twice before putting barely worn clothes in for washing.
Even if you don’t do the whole load by hand (because seriously, who would or could, long term?) pick out some easy to wash items and get hand washing. You can try using a laundry plunger for a cost effective way of making things easier.
You can also try making your own laundry detergent. You’ll know exactly what’s going into your washing machine and you can scent it how you like - minus the fake scents.
Fabric softeners are among the worst culprits for introducing chemicals into your home. That ‘spring awakening’ or ‘fresh meadow’ smell your non-eco fabric conditioner promises has been made in a lab. The chemicals used can lead to allergies, dermatitis and even problems with fertility.
# 9 Make Sure you Always Have a Full Load
Using the washing machine with a full load not only makes financial sense, it makes green sense too.
Even if you have a very modern washing machine that can calculate the weight of the load and use water accordingly, it still isn’t economical to run a half full load, that still requires water and energy to run. Running one full load uses less energy than running two half loads.
It also helps to learn how to use the settings on your machine properly. Especially if you tend to just stick with one setting for everything.
Many machines have half load and low spin options that you can use if you have to put on a small load.
Super Green Powered Laundry!
Take on the green laundry challenge and see how many of these environmentally kind swaps you can make.
Then who knows where you end up next on your venture to minimise your impact?
Growing your own veg? Zero waste? Becoming the greenest house on the street? Empowering others to do the same?
Whatever you achieve, it’s all a tick for your green credentials. Well done, and keep going!
PS – And don’t forget to give dry cleaners the flick! Most dry cleaners use chemicals called perchloroethylene (also called perc) which studies have shown may be linked to terrible diseases such as bladder, oesophageal, and cervical cancer, eye, nose, throat and skin irritations, and reduced fertility among other effects. No crisp white shirt is worth that in my opinion so I’ll take my home laundered shirt and a little ironing any day!