Eco-Friendly Ways To Wash Your Clothes
You might already make all the best choices when it comes to choosing clothing, like buying second hand, choosing sustainable materials or renting. And that’s great (go you!) but it’s also so important to sustainably care for your clothes to continue to make a positive environmental impact.
Research has shown that the way we wash and care for our clothes accounts for 60%-80% of a garment’s total environmental impact, so changing your habits when caring for your clothing and your family's clothing can have a massive effect!
Here are some of the best sustainable laundry options you might like to try!
These are our top 4 simplest tips that don’t require too much effort or change, but will make a BIG difference!
- Wash at 30°C (or below). We all know this saves energy and money but it also makes your clothing last longer. This is because higher temperatures can cause shrinking, fading and make stains stick, so keep the temperature low!
- Always wash with a full load. It takes the same amount of energy to wash half a load as it does a full one.
- Air your clothes between wears. Studies have found that 90% of clothes washed aren’t actually dirty enough to be thrown in the laundry basket. By airing your clothes between wears, they stay fresher for longer and you avoid unnecessary washing.
- Hang dry your clothes either outside or on a clothes hanger if possible. This one’s a no brainer, save your energy bill.
Soap nuts are a great natural, zero-waste option. They are dried fruit shells containing a natural soap called saponin. You simply pop a small amount in a wash bag in with your load and they get the job done. The best part is they can be used multiple times and then put in your compost bin- no waste!
Washing egg or ball
Washing eggs or balls are another good and great value zero waste option. These are made with minerals and plant – derived ingredients. They are vegan and hypo-allergenic so great for sensitive skin and can be used for hundreds of washes!
Powder, liquids and fabric conditioners.
If you would rather stick to powders or liquids, go for eco-friendly brands that are free from phosphates and chlorine bleach. Seventh Generation are a great eco-friendly brand, they use recycled packaging and sustainable plant based sourcing. Plus they offer fragrance free and hypoallergenic products made for sensitive skin which are great for baby items.
Every time you wash a garment made from synthetic fibres (polyester, acrylic, nylon) thousands of micro plastic pieces are washed away and flushed into our oceans. Sadly, researchers have found these fibres across the globe are being ingested by marine life. The best solution, where possible, is to switch to clothes made of natural materials like cotton, wool and linen.
Alternatively, invest in a microfibre catching laundry bag like guppyfriend. These bags will prevent microfibres shedded to reduce plastic pollution in our rivers and oceans.
An eco-friendly product great to use directly on stains as soon as they occur is castile soap. Castile soap is a natural soap made from vegetable oils. It’s vegan, completely biodegradable and versatile so it’s a great option for reducing plastic consumption. After treating stains with castile soap, washing at 30°C and air drying are the best options. It's important to avoid high temperatures as they can often make stains stick.
Air drying is the most sustainable way to dry clothing and should be done as much as possible. It’s also better for delicate fabrics and will save money and energy. However, if this isn't possible, keeping the lint trap clean on your dryer is a good way to make the air flow better, drying your load quicker and saving energy.
Reusable wool dryer balls also help to dry clothes faster and soften clothes so are a good alternative to single-use dryer sheets. If you miss the added fragrance, you can pop a few drops of essential oil on them before they go in the machine and ta-dah, wonderfully scented laundry, naturally.