My Guide to Earth Friendly Laundry

Wet clothes hanged outside, with
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Unless you go completely back to the basics you are always going to cause some environmental harm and spend some money to get your clothes clean. This guide is here to help you save money, reduce your environmental impact, and spend less time doing laundry! The more you do, the more you’ll be living a fair life for the earth and the more money you’ll save. But of course doing some of it is always better than none of it. I recommend you adapt these tips into your life one or a few at a time to transition into a more earth friendly and free life.

1. Wear your clothes more than once. Most clothes just don’t need to be washed after each time you wear them.

2. Wear clothes that are easy to clean and don’t have special cleaning instructions. Dry cleaning is far more resource intensive and expensive than laundry so I suggest steering clear of any clothes that need dry cleaning.

3. Own fewer clothes so that it’s not possible to have huge loads of laundry. It’s the same concept as having fewer dishes. The less you use, the less you’ll need to wash. Imagine never having big piles of dirty clothes. Wouldn’t that be nice?

4. Do your laundry in full loads. This will cut back on the number of loads that you need to do saving water, energy, and money. Combine loads with family or friends if you need to make a full load, but don’t have enough dirty clothes yourself.

5. Wash in cold water rather than hot water.

6. Say good-bye to laundry detergent. Use soap nuts or something like the SmartKlean laundry ball. Soap nuts are “the laundry detergent that grows on trees.” They are good for about five loads and when you’re done with them you can just throw them in your yard or compost pile. 

7. Don’t use any cleaning products that have chemicals in them. This includes bleach, stain removers, dryer sheets, detergent. Instead, find a natural alternative. Ditch the bleach! The Environmental Working Group has great guides on this.

8. Join the refill revolution and fill up your products at a bulk refill shop or at the bulk section of your local co-op or grocery store. Check out Blue Dot Refill to see an awesome example of a refill store!

9. Use a laundromat rather than owning your own washer and dryer. Sharing is a huge way to cut back on your expenses, your environmental impact, and to live a much simpler life.

10. Use energy and water efficient machines. Look for the Energy Star and HE (high efficiency) machines. Older machines can use as much as 40 gallons of water per load while high efficiency machines can use as little as 15 gallons.

11. Hang dry your clothes. The sun and fresh air will dry your clothes for free. How else can you let nature do your work for you?

12. Make your own laundry products.

13. Do your clothes by hand rather than using a washer and dryer.

If you really want to go all out then here is a video for you. Check out how I do my laundry by hand, using rainwater and soap nuts, and then hang the clothes out to dry!

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