Green Your Laundry Routine
Updated: Sep 3, 2019
Do you know the impact your laundry has?
This seemingly unavoidable chore has a bigger impact on the planet than many of us realize. Between 75-80% of our clothing's lifecycle impact comes from washing and drying, according to a lifecycle analysis conducted by Environmental Resources Management for clothing company Marks & Spencer. This is due to the large amount of energy it takes to heat the wash water and run the dry cycle.
However, there are simple adjustments you can make to your laundry routine that will reduce your personal energy and water use, and therefore your environmental footprint.
We've rounded up our top tips to help you keep it green while getting things clean!
Wear or use it more than once: It doesn't go for everything (unmentionables and socks come to mind), but the simplest way to cut back on your laundry's impact is to just do less of it. Towels and bedding can usually be used for a week or two before washing. Clothing items will last longer the less you wash them.
Use natural washing detergent: Try dried soap berries, nature's zero-waste laundry detergent, grab some from Bulk Barn using your own container. Or try out a DIY recipe. Not into DIY, Om Natural at the Kelowna Farmer's Market, has locally made natural laundry detergent that doubles as dishwashing detergent! Pro tip: Fabric softener can be replaced with a cup of white vinegar.
Maximize your washer for energy efficiency: Always wash in cold water, about 90% of the energy used to wash clothes goes to heating the water. Shoot for only full loads, if you can't fill it up, the load selector allows you to use the smallest amount of water.
Hang to dry: Because dryers use so much energy, skipping it altogether can make a real difference. Clothes also last longer because there's less wear and tear. In the warmer months consider drying outside.
Maximize your dryer: Full loads here too! Cleaning the lint filter frequently will increase efficiency and shorten drying time. If your dryer has a moisture sensor, use it. This will automatically reduce the amount of drying time or shut off the machine when it senses that clothes are dry. Clothes not dry after the sensor dry? It could be dirty so try scrubbing the metal sensor with steel wool.
Ditch the dryer sheets: Opt for wool dryer balls, which you can often find at local crafter markets or make your own with this easy DIY. These balls can cut your drying time down by about 30%! If you're looking for a sweet scent, add a few drops of essential oil to the balls.