Have you ever thought about how you wash your clothes and the impact it may have on the environment?
It may seem like a microscopic issue compared to others, but your smallest actions can add up. If you want to learn about some ways you can reduce your footprint with sustainable laundry habits, keep on reading.
1. Dryer Balls
Dryer balls are a wonderful, reusable alternative to standard single-use dryer sheets that are usually not recyclable or compostable. Typically made from 100% wool fibers, these products are safe to use for even the most sensitive skin, due to the fact that they are fragrance-free (however, I recommend adding a few drops of your favorite essential oil to these if you enjoy having a scent).
In addition to these benefits, they also help to reduce drying time, which saves energy (and time!) as well. Wool dryer balls last years and can have a sustainable end to their lifecycle. If they’re 100% wool, you can compost them instead of throwing them in the trash.
2. Air Drying
Air drying clothes is a great option if you are looking to reduce your environmental impact that your laundry produces. I would highly recommend this method for items such as swimwear, intimates and activewear, as this will also help extend the life of these more delicate garments. It may take longer, but it will make your clothes last longer as well, and is much better for the environment than running a dryer.
3. Filter Your Microplastics
When you wash clothes made of synthetic fibers, they may shed small particles of plastic, also known as microplastics. Because this shedding happens while the clothes are being washed, the particles drain and sometimes end up in the ocean, accounting for a portion of ocean pollution. They are also around us in the air; however, we cannot see them due to their size. Various inventions such as the Guppyfriend, the Cora Ball and the Microfiber Filter from Girlfriend Collective have been created to help tackle this issue.
4. Wash in Cold Water
Simply switching the wash temperature on your washing machine to cold has the ability to save a lot of energy, and money! Another plus to choosing to wash your clothes in cold water is the fact that it cannot shrink your clothes, which can sometimes be a guessing game for some items combined with warm water. This choice will also help preserve the dyes in your clothing and prevent color fading.
5. Check Your Laundry Detergent
Unfortunately, the ingredients in a typical laundry detergent often include harmful chemicals, such as phosphates, that can cause negative effects to aquatic environments. Because these chemicals are absorbed into the clothing, they can also cause skin irritation and be absorbed into the skin. Switching to a detergent that doesn’t include these ingredients — such as sodium lauryl sulfates, parabens, and synthetic fragrance — is a great way to reduce your environmental impact and potentially help with skin irritation.
Launder With Love for the Planet
Hopefully this short guide can be of use during this time and can be a helpful reference to look back on in the future. Conventional laundry products can create a large amount of pollution and harm to our environment, but we can counter this problem with sustainable alternatives.
Do you have any tips for doing more eco-friendly laundry? We’d love to know!
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