Our laundry routine is something we deal with most days, if not every day. The laundry process takes up a lot of time, uses up loads of energy, and also contributes to environmental pollution. There’s a much better way to do things, so let’s look at the top tips for an eco-friendly laundry routine.
The quick and easy plan is to minimize energy usage, minimize toxins in the laundry process, and eliminate plastic entirely. How do we do that? Let’s find out!
- What is the Most Eco-friendly Way to Do Laundry?
- Which Eco-friendly Laundry Detergent is Best?
- Top Tips for an Eco-friendly Laundry Routine
What is the Most Eco-friendly Way to Do Laundry?
To keep it simple: use cold water during the wash cycles, use eco-friendly cleaners for your clothes, and skip the tumble dryer completely!
Wait, does cold water really clean clothes better than hot water?
Yes! Cold water is not only much more gentle on the fabric, it is also more energy-efficient (no need to heat the water). Hot water sometimes also has the unfortunate effect of setting stains into the fabric, which is not what you’d think! We usually associate hot water with being more efficient with stains. It’s more complicated than that. Check out this helpful guide to water temperature for stain removal.
But, trust us, cold water is better overall – for (most) stains, for the longevity of your clothes, and for your electricity usage.
Which Eco-friendly Laundry Detergent is Best?
Most laundry detergents we all use currently are toxic. Are you surprised? Commercial laundry detergents contain hazardous chemicals, because the primary goal is to clean the clothes. Scent is added for our pleasure. But what about our health, the health of our family, and of the environment?
Laundry detergent ingredients are known to cause cancer, respiratory problems, allergies, and more. In 2008, the University of Washington found through a study that six of the most popular scented laundry products contained dozens of toxic chemicals. “All six products tested gave off at least one chemical regulated as toxic or hazardous under federal laws, but none of those chemicals was listed on the product labels.” Wow.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) found several disturbing aspects to laundry detergents. Please read through the article for some eye-opening facts.
What is an eco-friendly laundry detergent?
If something is harmful to us, it’s usually also harmful to the environment. And vice versa. Eco-friendly laundry detergents are formulated without harmful toxins, harsh chemicals and irritating ingredients. They do not contain phosphates, parabens, sulfates, and artificial fragrances, all of which have been proven to be harmful – and also unnecessary to the cleaning process. These laundry detergents also have trusted eco-friendly certifications, and have been dermatologist tested.
Here’s a list of some of the best eco-friendly laundry detergents:
1 // BioKleen Laundry Powder | $20.38 ($0.27 / load)
2 // Charlie’s Soap Laundry Powder | $40 ($0.18 / load)
3 // Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds Biodegradable Cleaner | $26
4 // Dropps Ultra Concentrated Laundry Detergent | $20
5 // Eco Roots Detergent Sheets | $19.19 (64 loads)
6 // Tru Earth’s Eco-Strips | $19.95 (32 loads)
7 // Kind Laundry Sheets | $19.95 (60 loads)
8 // Molly’s Suds Unscented Laundry Powder | $23 (120 loads)
9 // Puracy Natural Laundry Detergent | $17.99 (16oz.)
10 // Seventh Generation Free & Clear Liquid Detergent | $15 (0.28 / load)
What is the cheapest eco-friendly laundry detergent?
So, this family-owned company called Brighton Wool & Honey Co. is awesome! They are based in Ohio, and sell natural laundry soap that is hand-mixed, hand-bottled, and hand-assembled. The detergent comes in reusable quart-size canning jars. You can return jars for reuse and earn a $1 credit toward your next purchase.
These are among the more pocket-friendly options:
1 // Brighton Wool & Honey Co. Laundry Soap | $16 (75-100 loads)
2 // Earth Breeze | $20 (60 loads)
3 // Grove Co. Laundry Detergent Sheets | $12.99 (32 loads)
4 // Pardo Naturals Laundry Detergent | $7.00 (8 oz.)
Top Tips for an Eco-friendly Laundry Routine
1 / Use an Eco-friendly Washing Machine
When it comes to electronic gadgets, eco-friendly generally means energy-efficient. Most gadgets include plastic parts, so an eco-friendly washing machine will have no, or minimal, plastic. They will be built to last for a long time.
You could also hand wash, if that’s a practical option for you. Very eco-friendly!
But the next time you’re in the market for a washing machine, opt for an eco-friendly washing machine. But for now, use what you have, and you can still minimize the damage by following the next tips.
2 / Fully Load Your Machine
Wait until you have enough clothes to wash a full load. The amount of water and electricity is the same whether you have a full load or not. It’s best to make it all more efficient by filling up your washing machine and washing a full load.
If you only need to wash a couple of items, maybe you could hand wash them. Or, run a shorter cycle.
3 / Use an Eco-friendly, Biodegradable Detergent
Are biodegradable soaps really biodegradable? It depends. But there are some amazing biodegradable laundry detergents that would be perfect to use.
Most laundry detergents contain added chemicals that are intended to make them more efficient (i.e. clean better), but they can wreak havoc on our health and the environment.
Opt for zero waste laundry detergents to minimize your plastic usage.
4 / Use a Natural Stain Remover
Stain removers contain chlorine, which makes it “strong enough” to remove the stain. However, the old-fashioned way of using baking soda and vinegar works for the most part. If you’re dealing with a more stubborn stain, try a non-toxic stain remover.
Best Eco Friendly Stain Removers:
BioKleen Stain Remover | $14
5 / Lower the Wash Temperature
We don’t need to torture out clothes in order to get them clean. If you need to disinfect your clothes, then hot water may be required, but most washes can work perfectly well with unheated water.
Cos heating that water uses up energy. Use the settings in your washing machine to unselect hot water.
Try out the Attitude liquid laundry detergent, which is ideal for washing in cold water.
6 / Use a Micro-fiber Trapping Laundry Ball
All fabrics release fibers – lint, fizz – in the wash. And, often, the fibers are synthetic, i.e. essentially made of plastic. This leads to a lot of microplastics entering the water system through our washing machines.
Using a microfiber-catching laundry ball can help tremendously. Just drop it into the machine with your dirty clothes, prior to starting the cycle. (These are different from dryer balls that are used in the tumble dryer).
Best Microfiber-trapping Laundry Balls:
1 / Cora Ball
2 / Guppyfriend
7 / Air-dry Washed Clothes
Tumble dryers use up a lot of power. The temperature goes up really high in order to dry the clothes, and total electricity use is shocking enough to consider air-drying your clothes after they’re washed.
There are three advantages: you reduce your electric bill, and you have gently-washed clothes that last a bit longer. Finally, you also increase the humidity inside your home by air-drying clothes indoors. Which is helpful when the air is extremely dry as it tends to get in winter. Win-win!
Best Eco Friendly Drying Racks:
Plus, you can fancy up your laundry routine with one of these eco-friendly laundry baskets!
Best Eco Friendly Laundry Baskets:
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