Sustainable Laundry Hacks | POPSUGAR Home

So you have a basket full of dirty clothes and it’s time to throw them in the laundry – no problem, right? Well, think again. While your washer and dryer are very convenient, they both use a lot of energy. In fact, a load of laundry uses around 15 to 30 gallons of water, and if you have an older washing machine it can use up to 54 gallons of water – and that’s just water usage. The amount of electricity that washing machines and dryers consume is even worse: washing machines ring at 255 watts per hour and dryers at a whopping 2,790 watts per hour. In comparison, that’s more than twelve times the amount of energy your refrigerator uses, and is similar to the amount of an air conditioner known as an energy sucker. So what are you doing to be more sustainable while keeping your clothes fresh and clean? Fortunately, there are a handful of ways you can get more environmentally conscious when it comes to your laundry. If you’re interested in making your next load greener, we’ve got some helpful tips for you.

1. Re-wear your clothes and wear less

It may sound like a no-brainer, but fewer loads of laundry are a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. We’re not saying to turn your underwear on or to put your socks back on after a workout, just to be aware of clothes that you can wear multiple times – like jeans, shirts, and jackets. The more you wash your clothes, the faster they will wear out. So keep that in mind the next time you toss them in the laundry basket. All you have to do is do a quick inspection and sniff test to see if anything has any signs of wear and tear before washing, which it usually does!

2. Skip the dryer

As mentioned earlier, dryers use a lot of energy. Instead of drying your clothes every time you put them in the laundry, you can hang them up to dry instead. Not only does this prevent your clothes from potentially shrinking, but it also keeps them in better condition as they are less worn out.

3. Opt for cold water instead of hot

The water heating consumes a lot of energy. If your clothes don’t require a warm load to wash (most don’t), this is a great way to save energy (and cut your electricity bills!).

4. Pick up some dryer balls

Dryer balls change lives and everyone needs them! The balls of wool absorb moisture so you can shorten the drying time and even run your dryer on a lower heat. Not to mention, they soften your clothes and fold them so you can say goodbye to toxic dryer sheets for good.

5. Switch to non-toxic alternatives

Some laundry detergents, stain removers, and even dryer sheets can contain harmful chemicals that can harm the environment (and yourself). To be extra careful, it is best to buy environmentally friendly laundry detergents that contain herbal ingredients instead of petroleum-based ones. To do this, be sure to look at the detergent label before buying. If the bottle is biodegradable, even better! Did we mention that you can also use a cup of white vinegar to replace your fabric softener? It reacts with the pH of the soap and makes clothes soft and clean.

6. Instead, wash your clothes by hand

While it sounds like a pain in the know, hand washing clothes uses less water and is a great option when you don’t have a full load. However, if you don’t want to hand wash, there are other options like pedal washers and laundry pistons that you can use to get your job done. These alternatives are particularly suitable if you live in a house without a washing machine – because who wants to go on a special trip to the laundromat?

7. Skip dry cleaning

The next time you buy a garment that needs dry cleaning, think: do you really need it? Dry cleaners can use harsh chemicals that have been linked to health problems such as cancer and fertility problems. Instead, try wet cleaning or liquid carbon dioxide cleaning, both of which are environmentally friendly alternatives to dry cleaning.

8. Invest in highly efficient washing machines

If you have the luxury of buying a new machine, we strongly recommend a highly efficient washing machine. HE machines use 20 to 66 percent less water than conventional washing machines and around 20 to 50 percent of the energy of a conventional washing machine and dryer. For this reason, HE machines save you money in the long term and protect the environment at the same time – a win-win situation!

9. Buy a microplastic catcher

Like almost everything nowadays, many of our clothes (including sportswear) contain microplastics. Clothing made from synthetic fabrics such as polyester, nylon, and acrylic contains plastic, and microplastics are released when washed. Currently, the filters in our washing machines do not trap microplastics, and as a result, the plastics are flushed into our wastewater treatment systems and later into our rivers and oceans. To prevent this from happening, microplastic traps are a great option and come in shapes like laundry balls and filters.

10. Throw away the iron

Ironing is a lot of energy consuming and can be easily eliminated by hanging your clothes right after you wash or in your bathroom while you shower. The steam unfolds them so much that you think they are pressed iron!

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