Sustainable Laundry

Apr 24, 2021 | Blog, Featured, Home & Kitchen

Looking to create a more sustainable, eco friendly lifestyle? The laundry room is a super easy place to get started!  With a few simple changes, you’ll have clean clothes without harming the environment.

As laundry rooms are designed to clean, you might not realize how many toxins are lurking in your various products. And if those products are sold in plastic containers, then unnecessary waste will sit in landfills for decades.  Keep reading to discover seven easy ways to create a sustainable, ecofriendly laundry room.

Buy Energy Efficient Machines

When it comes time to invest in a new washer or dryer, do some research and buy the most energy efficient machine available in your region. Depending on where you live, your eco priorities might be different.  In California, water is expensive and I’m always looking for ways to reduce water consumption. In Portugal, on the other hand, electricity is expensive and this would be a priority when comparing machines. The Spruce has written a post comparing high efficiency machines in 2021.

Wash In Cold Water 

Cold water uses far less energy as the water doesn’t have to be heated. It is also gentler on your clothes allowing them to last longer.  Both reasons save you money.  Although you might have a load of sheets now and then that need a hot water wash, switch to washing the majority of your clothes in cold water.

Use Non Toxic Laundry Soap

We’ve known for years that detergents are detrimental to the environment. Detergents contain phosphates or surfactants which are flushed out with the wastewater and eventually end up reaching the water table.  Nitrogen interacts with the phosphorus creating an algae bloom which starves the water of oxygen, ruining the ecosystem.  

Surfactants are a chemical that breaks down surface tension of oil and water which is why they are effective at removing dirt from clothes.  Unfortunately, it continues to break surface tension of water when it is disposed of in natural water areas. This is damaging for insects and other wildlife and also makes it easier for pollutants to be absorbed into the water. 

Beyond all the damaging phosphates and surfactants, laundry detergent is predominately packaged in plastic bottles. These plastic bottles end up in landfills creating long term toxic waste. 

But now there is another option – Laundry Strips! 

Laundry strips are a rectangle strip of laundry soap sold in a thin cardboard package that is compostable. Laundry strips are paraben-free, phosphate-free, free of added dyes, free of chlorine bleach, free of 1,4-dioxane, readily biodegradable in accordance with OECD 310D, hypoallergenic, certified by independent dermatologists, vegan and not tested on animals.

Just pull off a strip, toss it in your front or top loader, and press start. They take up much less space, produce less waste and don’t harm the environment. Net Zero Co offers laundry strips and ships with zero plastic.

Wool Dryer Balls

I started using wool dryer balls two years ago and I love them!  My clothes dry faster and the wrinkles are reduced.

Place 3-5 wool balls in the dryer with your clothes and let them tumble around.  The balls keep the clothes from clumping and increase the air flow which means the clothes dry faster. Faster drying means less energy is used.  The balls also reduce static eliminating the need for dryer sheets which are full of chemicals. Don’t be deterred by any initial investment as quality balls last for years. Net Zero Co has the cutest wool balls made in Nepal using organic New Zealand wool. 

Drying Racks

Let’s be honest, some clothes, like socks, just do better in a dryer. But most clothes can be hung on a clothes line or drying rack and dry just fine.

I put all my tops and pants on my drying rack. My rack is set up in my garage so I never have to worry about dust or rain. No energy used, and minimal wrinkling. 

When we lived in an apartment in Japan, and didn’t have a garage, I would fill a rack with clothes before we went to bed. In the morning they would be dry and I would put the rack away until the next load of laundry.

Using a drying rack for even 50% of your laundry would significantly lower your energy usage saving you ‘loads’ of money!

Marseille Soap for Stain Remover

Marseille soap is one of my recent finds and I am a fan. Marseille soap has been produced in France for over 600 years.  It fell out of popularity over the last century, but has been recently rediscovered. It is a hard soap, usually sold in a cube shape, produced using vegetable oils and qualifies as vegan. 

Marseille soap has many uses, but for laundry, it can be used as a stain remover. Wet the stain and rub the soap on the fabric before adding to the laundry. 

Click here to learn how to use Marseille soap in the kitchen. 

Use White Vinegar as a Fabric Softener

I live in the Middle East and the pipes connected to my laundry are loaded with water very high in minerals.  ‘Hard water’ doesn’t begin to describe it.  I struggled for the first year with my clothes being ruined with mineral spots. Then I discovered white vinegar and the benefits for laundry. 

I add about half a cup of white vinegar in the compartment designed for softener to every load. The white vinegar softens the water and keeps my washer free of mineral deposits.  Besides being better for the environment, white vinegar is far cheaper than fabric softeners.

Even if you don’t use white vinegar as a softener, run an empty load once a month with white vinegar just to flush out and clean your washing machine. This will help to extend the life of your machine and minimize repairs.

*This post contains affiliate links which pays a small commission to the author, but does not increase the cost to the customer.

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2 Comments

  1. JEANNE

    Will be trying out the white vinegar today!

    I use the wool dryer balls and add a few drops of essential oil before putting them into the dryer.

    Thanks:)

    Reply
    • Lauren Pollock

      I also add lavender essential oil to the dryer balls when drying my sheets. I love the smell of lavender as I’m sleeping!

      Reply

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