Laundry contributes to household waste in every way imaginable. Plastic waste and chemical residue from your laundry detergent packaging, CO2 from your energy consumption, microplastics from your clothes. The list grows the more you dig.
While it’s unlikely to be the biggest environmental offender in your home, it’s one worth considering. A thousand little insults are responsible for the global issue we have on hand, which means the only way to improve our position is by making a thousand tiny changes that together add up to have a huge impact.
Laundry is a super easy place to start.
(image taken from University of Michigan Sustainability Planet Blue)
The bonus is the changes you make to minimize impact, will also result in cost savings, performance increases, and the sparking of joy!
So let’s get to it:
1. Keep your machine clean:
This is a game changer. Honestly.
If you’ve been through the wringer trying to get perfect results in your laundry and haven’t done this, do it. Your machine’s user guide will tell you how, and if you’ve lost it, you can always Google it. No more overdosing or temperature blasting, just clean, fresh laundry.
2. Pick your cycles:
How many types of cycles do you use? ‘Cos the better you know them, the better your results. You don’t have to know these inside out, but there are some basic principles that you should call on, when setting your cycles. Regarding energy savings, temperature has the greatest impact, so start there for now.
|Temperature||Use for||On||But not|
|Disinfecting, or blasting heavily soiled loads||Cotton linens & whites.||All the time (it’s energy inefficient), on wool/delicates or colors (especially those prone to fading), on stains that have set (it’ll finish the job), on anything fabric subject to shrinking.|
|General laundry, to maximize detergent performance, and get the best clean results||Most laundry, including jeans, darks and permanent press (synthetic materials, like nylons)||On lightly soiled / refresher loads (you’ll save more energy still on cold water), on woolens or delicates.|
(cold – 30 degrees)
|Lightly soiled loads, delicate care, energy and cost savings.||Bright colors, wool and delicates (with dedicated detergent) and all Ettitude products.||On heavily soiled loads, with powder not specifically designed for cold washing (else you might get white marks).|
3. Look for low impact packaging solutions.
If you’re a powder person, you’re probably already there, but if you’re a liquid person, make sure you look for concentrates or plastic reducing packaging solutions. Our friends over at Dirt are the perfect solution if you’re looking to make a more sustainable laundry choice.
4. Choose environmentally friendly ingredients.
We add this to the list hesitantly, because while a lot of brands are good at telling you what they don’t have, they can be downright awful at telling what they do contain.
Look for: no phosphates, no parabens, cruelty free, biodegradable ingredients
5. Wash less.
Finally, the less you wash, the less impact you’re going to have on the earth in the first place! Do things to make this possible. A great system for your not-quite-dirty, not-quite-clean clothes is a good place to start. Using naturally antimicrobial bedding like ours extends the wash cycle of your sheets. Another way to extend it further is by using a flat sheet to reduce the frequency you need to wash your duvet cover. A full set of Ettitude sheets only takes up half of a standard size washing machine, which means you can fit more in to one cycle. Tiny changes.