Thursday, February 19, 2015

5 practical eco laundry tips

Posted by Amanda Villaruel | |
According to Nordic Fashion Association, there are several life cycle assessments that show that the biggest environmental impacts occur in the consumer phase. And those consumers are you and me.

One of the reasons for that is that we tend to over-wash our clothes, and on top of that many of us use the drying machine and iron the clothes.

So, how to do the laundry in an environmentally friendly way?
Green your laundry with these 5 practical eco laundry tips
Green your laundry with these 5 practical eco laundry tips

1) The Frequency

How often do you wash your clothes? Reducing the frequency of washing is a challenge, considering we live in a modern society where hygiene is an important part of our everyday lives.

According to Energy Saving Trust, the average UK household does over five washes a week! And the average water consumption of a washing machine is about 50 liters per wash. Yeah, I know, it's ridiculously a lot. 
5 practical eco-friendly laundry tips - Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo
Copyright: / bialasiewicz - 123RF Stock Photo

This doesn't mean that you should wear dirty clothes most of the time. But by reducing the number of loads per week, from let's say five loads to four, you're already making a positive difference in water and energy usage :-)

Consider this as a chance to use all the other clothes, that you normally don't wear. Clothes that are hidden in the closet. We all have favorite items that we enjoy wearing often, but you're actually wearing out these clothes faster.

By giving your favorites a break, you can prolong the usage ;-)

Another option is to wash certain items less often, for instance jeans, jumpers, cardigans and other outerwear. 

Don't get me wrong, dirt breaks down the fibers! If the clothes are dirty, wash them right away :-)

2) Eco laundry tips: Fill the washing machine

Is it just half full when you start a wash?

How about adding extra items the next time?  You don't need to over-stuff the washing machine and use every inch of space. Because to get the clothes clean, they need some space in between so the water can run through. If the garments don't have 'breathing room', this might also damage the fabrics.

3) Eco-friendly detergents

Many detergents contain petrochemicals; synthetic chemicals made from petroleum. And the petroleum industry is not exactly an environmentally friendly business.

That's why you should choose eco friendly detergents. Brands to look for are Planet, Ecover and Biokleen that are all biodegradable.

Eco-friendly laundry liquid detergents. Photo courtesy of Planet (via Amazon), Ecover and Biokleen.
Eco-friendly laundry liquid detergents. Photo courtesy of Planet (via Amazon), Ecover and Biokleen. 

Click on the links to read reviews: (all of them are unpaid links)

Even if a detergent is claimed to be eco-friendly, do some due diligence and read reviews before you purchase. Unfortunately, there are some 'green' detergents that are not so green. That is called greenwashing :-(

Click here to read more about it at CBC News.

4) The Washing Temperature

If you reduce the washing temperature from 40 degrees to 30 degrees, you're reducing the electricity usage by an average 40% per load (source: persil.co.uk)

Another good reason for using a low washing temperature, is that hot water degrades fabrics faster than cool water and thereby reducing the quality of the garment more than necessary. Of course, some items need to be washed at a hot temperature, like towels and sometimes underwear.

5) Eco laundry tips: Dry or Fly

Drying laundry outside - 5 practical eco-friendly laundry tips
Copyright: anskuw - 123RF Stock Photo

Another tip is to avoid using the drying machine and instead go for air-drying. This can reduce the costs in your electricity bill, and you avoid extra wear and tear on the clothing.

Here are some of your options:
  • Air-dry certain clothes
  • Air-dry every other week or every third week (your choice)
For faster drying on the drying rack, allow some space between the garments for better air circulation :-)

Continue to read:
The pros and cons of a minimalist wardrobe

Earth-friendly and non-toxic alternatives for your dental care.


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