What is the most environmentally friendly way to wash clothes?

What is the most environmentally friendly way to wash clothes?

The answer, unsurprisingly, includes washing less often and generating less waste. But when you do have to launder, there are a number of eco-friendly ways to get your clothes clean that won't put dirty laundry water back into the environment with traces of detergent and microplastics.

Keep it simple.

The simplest problem-solver is to launder less often. The fewer times you wash your clothes, the less energy is used, and the fewer chemicals are released into the environment. Ditch plastic bottles and tubs for greener alternatives unless you are going to refill and reuse them.

There are plenty of options if you're looking for ways to reduce your laundry's environmental impact , you just need to make the effort to change you laundry routine and behaviours.

Mum and daughter hanging up washing and laundry in the sunshine

Wash clothes less often.

The simplest problem-solver is to launder less often. If that's not an option, try setting a timer so you wash only when you have enough dirty clothes. You can also try washing full loads instead of smaller ones — it'll use less water and energy.

Washing tips:

Jeans: Every 3-5 wears

Shirts: Every 2-3 wears

Dresses: Every 2 wears

Jackets: Every 3-4 wears

Bedding: Once a week, on alternating days with towels.

Towels: Once a week

Ditch plastic for greener alternatives. Many detergents come in plastic or bottles, but most are not recyclable appropriately (at least not yet). Look for an eco-friendly alternative like a reusable bottle or refillable pod system — they'll save money and reduce waste.

DIY nature-friendly detergent. DIY recipes abound on the internet, but some require ingredients like borax and washing soda (which aren't always available outside of the U.S.). Here are some more accessible options: Liquid castile soap, baking soda, white vinegar and essential oils; liquid castile soap and baking soda; or only water with lemon juice (for whites). These could be used as is or mixed with regular detergent in a bucket — see which works best for your needs!

So, in summary.

The best way to go green with your laundry is to wash less often, shorten your wash cycles, and use less detergent. It's also convenient to choose detergents that come in biodegradable or reusable containers like those made of steel or glass or packaged in compostable card.


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