Recent studies show that improper laundry practices may be detrimental to the natural environment: the average household alone hauls in as much as 400 loads of laundry every year, consuming about 13,500 gallons of water. That amount of water is already enough to provide a lifetime drinking water supply for six people. Following an Earth-friendly laundry regimen can help families cut that amount in half and save as much as 7,000 gallons of water.
Additionally, laundry isn’t just exhausting the world’s water supply. Researchers from Plymouth University have shown that doing laundry releases 700,000 microscopic fibers into the water. These particles end up in the natural environment where they threaten ecosystems and harm wildlife.
Fortunately, the threat that everyday laundry poses to the environment isn’t a tough problem to solve. What households can do is make their laundry routines more eco-friendly.
Use a Safe Detergent
Conventional detergents contain ingredients, such as phosphates and artificial fragrances, that aren’t suitable for clothing or the natural environment. Phosphates can end up in aquatic ecosystems and cause algal blooms that threaten marine life, while artificial fragrances can be toxic to human health and harm wildlife when they end up in waterways. Households should instead use eco-friendly laundry soap, which is phosphate-free and made from plant and vegetable-based ingredients. Shoppers should choose biodegradable detergents that do not use polluting ingredients.
Homemade Detergent Still Works Best
Switching to natural laundry soap is a great way to save money and help the environment. People often have different preferences for their laundry formula, and it’s easier for them to customize their mix with essential oils for a fresh fragrance. Vinegar is an eco-friendly substitute for fabric conditioner, since it can help in balancing the pH of soap and leave clothes soft and stain-free.
Use Kitchen Ingredients to Remove Stains
Soiled laundry can be soaked in cold water and baking soda to loosen dirt and grime before putting them inside the washing machine. Sprinkling salt or baking soda on a fresh stain can help remove absorb as much of the stain as possible before washing.
Natural Sunlight Is the Best Clothes Dryer
The U.S. has 88 million dryers that emit more than a ton of carbon dioxide every year. Hanging clothes out to dry can make a huge difference by cutting down energy and make families save as much as $363 per year. Line drying is also better for clothes because there’s less wear and tear than when the dryer is used.
Save Up Doing Laundry Unless It’s a Full Load
Washing machines use up the same amount of energy regardless of how much laundry is in the mix. Maximize your washing machine’s efficiency and reduce household energy consumption by washing full loads at the end of the week instead of resorting to multiple small loads over the course of a week. The full-load method can save up on water, too.
Green laundry practices are not only beneficial to the environment, they also equate to a better quality of life too. It’s an opportunity for families to reduce personal energy, cut down on utility bills and avoid any potential health hazards. Making the switch to green laundry is definitely a win-win situation.