Learn 5 easy ways to establish a green laundry routine that is safe for your family and good for the planet too.
Sorting. Washing. Folding…..Sheets. Towels. Underwear. Don’t you wish those endless piles of laundry would just magically go away?
Laundry may be a thankless job, but we certainly don’t want it to be dangerous. Between the chemicals used in laundry products and the large amounts of energy used and waste produced, our weekly laundry routines can be unhealthy for our families and bad for the environment too.
One thing we can do to improve the situation is to make our laundry routine safer and more environmentally friendly. By establishing a green laundry routine using non-toxic and eco-friendly products and practices, we can make the laundry room a safer place for people and the the planet. And hopefully that will help make laundry day a little more rewarding. 🙂
A Green Laundry Routine
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Creating an eco-friendly laundry routine is easier than you might think. The first step is to swap out toxic chemicals in laundry products, for plant-based, natural ingredients that still get the job done.
Next, look at energy usage and figure out where you can reduce. Finally, take a look at product packaging, and try to switch to plastic-free, low-waste and refillable packaging options where possible. Before you know it, you’ll have a sustainable laundry routine to be proud of!
Follow these 5 steps for a healthy & green laundry routine:
1. ) Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergent
The “secret formula” behind most laundry detergents is a mix of chemicals that are harmful to both human health and the environment. Many of those chemicals are hormone-disruptors and some are even linked to cancer. Plus, the wastewater from laundry often contains chemicals that are toxic to fish and wildlife, and are not biodegradable. That doesn’t sound very clean to me!
The good news is that there are many sustainable laundry detergent choices available these days, so it’s easy to find one that meets the needs of your family. Whether you prefer laundry liquid or laundry powder, scented or fragrance-free, or you need special odor treatment for sports clothes – I’ve got you covered in my post about the best eco-friendly laundry detergents!
Even greener – Opt for low-waste laundry detergents, such as laundry pods or refillable laundry detergent bottles. I’ve been moving in this direction and it feels great to skip the big plastic bottles!
2.) Cold Water Wash
Did you know that about 75% percent of the energy used in clothes washing comes from heating the water? Truth is – cold water cleans just as well for the majority of loads, plus your clothes will look better for longer when you skip the hot water. Bonus: it will save you money too! (One exception – bed linens are best washed in hot water to keep dust mites at bay.)
Even greener – Run full washer loads to get as much as you can out of each use and hand wash small items to save water.
3.) Skip the Bleach
Chlorine bleach might have been in your mother’s laundry toolkit, but it shouldn’t be in yours. Chlorine can burn skin and the fumes can be irritating to the eyes, nose and throat. It’s also really bad for the environment, creating toxic compounds called dioxins that persist over time.
Instead of bleach, use natural, mineral-based oxygen cleaning powder in the laundry and as a pre-treatment for stains. I soak my kids dirty athletic socks in water mixed with oxygen powder before washing and it really helps get them clean!
Even greener – Skip all the “extras” that the laundry marketers would like you to think you need – like fabric softeners, optical brighteners and scent boosters. A high quality eco-friendly laundry detergent is usually all you need. Check out my DIY laundry fresheners if you need a little bit of extra scent and softening.
4.) Natural Stain Removers
Traditional laundry stain removal products contain some very questionable ingredients that are linked to cancer, developmental and reproductive concerns and allergies, as well as environmental concerns. It’s best to skip those harsh chemicals and use natural stain removing products instead. Sign up for my mailing list to get my free guide to non-toxic stain removal.
Even greener – Go with a plastic-free stain removal stick to be even more eco-friendly. Just rub the stick directly into the stain before washing.
5.) Ditch the Dryer Sheets
That unmistakable “dryer sheet” scent that we know all too well comes from a mix of chemicals that can cause allergies and hormone disruption. Plus those single-use, polyester sheets are non-biodegradable, making them even worse for the environment.
My favorite substitute for dryer sheets are wool dryer balls. As they bounce around in your dryer, they fluff up the laundry and reduce static cling. Add a few drops of essential oil (I use lavender) for a nice, fresh scent. Find more recommended dryer sheet alternatives here.
Even greener – Line-dry laundry outside or inside. I’ve got more tips for line drying and a sustainable laundry room for you if you need.
How do you green your laundry routine?