Green Tip: Doing Laundry Sustainably
Green Tips | August 10, 2017
The summer heat means more sweat, and by extension more loads of laundry to do. However there a variety of practices other than re-wearing your sweaty gym clothes that can make your laundry practices more sustainable.
Wash with Cold Water
Studies show that 75% of the total energy-use and carbon emissions associated with your laundry comes from warming the water. Although normal detergents may work best in warm water to remove stains and dirt, there are a variety of cold water detergents that are specifically designed to work with cold water and have the same cleaning effects. Overall, switching to cold water and cold water detergent is a greener alternative to warm water washing, and you don’t have to sacrifice the cleanliness of your clothes in the process.
Instead of stuffing your loads into the dryer, try using the sun instead. The dryer consumes an immense amount of energy, second only to the refrigerator in household costs. You’ll also save energy on ironing. The impact of drying, along with the choices made in washing clothes, can cause a significant difference for the environment. A single load of laundry washed at 140 fahrenheit and dried in a combined washer drier gives off over five times as much in carbon emissions as a load washed at half the temperature, dried on a line.
Only Wash Full Loads
This obvious change to your behavior can reduce the money you spend on laundry, the frequency of how often you need to do laundry, and your overall carbon footprint. Although you may be sweating this summer, try not to do laundry until you absolutely have to in order to reduce the amount of water and energy you are using on washing your clothes.
Making your own detergent can also reduce the waste produced by detergent and fabric softener bottles. In fact, every year nearly 700 million plastic laundry detergent jugs end up in landfills, which is enough to circle the earth 6 times!
Finally, avoid dryer sheets. They generate waste during production and contain chemicals that are bad for the environment when they inevitably end up in landfills. Instead you can use tennis balls or wool balls which can be reused time and time again.
For more laundry tips, check out our earlier article, here.< Back to Citizen’s Toolkit
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