Laundry is my least favorite chore. I’m sure that part of it is that I have to go to the laundromat. However, I do feel better about it knowing that I’m not producing nearly as much waste as I used to. Here’s how I make my laundry routine as eco-friendly and zero-waste as possible.
As with any laundry routine, the day starts with sorting your laundry. Aside from sorting light from dark, I also sort between what style of wash they need.
Most of my non-clothes laundry I wash on normal. I wash anything that needs a good thorough wash. This includes undergarments (excluding bras), towels and rags, and bed linens. For most people, sheets can go with delicates. However, I have allergies and need to keep my sheets super clean.
Everything else, I wash on the delicate setting. This helps your clothes last longer and reduces the microplastics your clothes release because the delicate setting results in less friction.
To avoid the waste associated with laundry detergent, there are several options.
If your local co-op or bulk store offers laundry detergent in bulk, that’s a great option. It’s what we’ve done for years. However, our budgets are getting a little tighter and we’ve been looking into other options.
DIY laundry detergents also seem promising, and I’ve heard good things about them. Here’s a recipe from Wellness Mama!
Another option to consider is reusable laundry eggs. They quickly pay for themselves in cost, are reusable, and don’t require soap–which is great for people with skin conditions like myself. I frequently react badly to new types of detergent. We’re planning on trying this soon, so I’ll update everyone on how that goes.
Rather than reaching for bleach, for mild whitening, you can use vinegar to whiten clothes. Vinegar also works wonders for getting rid of stubborn odors!
Now that all of your products are taken care of, it’s time to load up the machines. You should always run full laundry loads, but never overfill them as this increases wear on your clothes and decreases the efficiency of the machine.
Using cool water saves the energy required to heat it to wash your clothes. Unless you need to use hot water, switch to cold.
Whenever you can, air dry your clothes. Aside from saving your clothes from the wear and tear of the dryer–which contributes tons to destroying your clothes–you’ll save tons of energy. To avoid fading in the sun, dry clothes inside out.
Dry your clothes on the appropriate setting to avoid over-drying your clothes–damaging them, and wasting energy. For example, for light fabrics, you can choose a low heat, quick drying time.
Wool dryer balls can reduce drying time–saving energy–and are a great zero-waste and reusable replacement for dryer sheets. If you’d like to add some scent, you can add a few drops of essential oil.
Now all that’s left is to put your clothes away! If you put your clothes away soon after you take them out of the dyer, you can eliminate the need for ironing. If you wait too long, you can try hanging the clothes in the room while you shower to steam them rather than using an iron.
Even though laundry is an annoying chore, it doesn’t have to be a wasteful one. Hopefully, you can gain some insight from my personal zero waste laundry routine. Do you have any zero waste laundry tips?
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