Wash Better: An eco-friendly guide to better laundry habits.
The laundry habits my granny used are coming back in style with more people switching to good old fashioned vinegar, baking soda or soap flakes to get their sheets clean.
But if you are not quite ready to make such a switch, but you are still looking to reduce your impact when you wash your laundry, we’ve compiled a few tips and easy tricks to get you started.
Wash less often. The idea we need to wash something (aside from intimates) every wear is largely influenced by the companies who make laundry products. Air your clothes after use, spot clean when needed. If your clothes aren’t dirty or stinky get another wear (or more), out of them before throwing them into the laundry hamper. This will also prolong the life of your garments as the laundry can wear them out.
Separate textiles with a heavy durable texture from those with a soft surface. If you stop washing your jeans and your fleece items in the same wash load, you will extend the life of your clothes and reduce your contribution to wash-related microplastic pollution.
Use a washing bag. A seriously impactful switch is to use a Guppy Friend Laundry bag for your synthetics. During washing, synthetic garments lose plastic fibres. These break off and end up in the wastewater of your load and so far, they cannot be filtered out efficiently.
The microplastics enter the sea and are ingested by fish and other marine life. So, the plastic from our clothes ends up on our plates and harms not only nature but probably us too. Yuck! When you use a Guppy Friend laundry bag the microplastics collect in the bag and instead of being washed into our water system can be disposed of correctly.
Check your load size. A full load of laundry uses less water, product and energy than two half loads. This will also cut down your laundry time and save you money, too!
Wash cooler. Water heating is a major energy suck. According to Project Drawdown hot water for showers, laundry, and washing dishes consumes a quarter of residential energy used worldwide. Up to 30°C is sufficient for most loads. So, avoid high temperatures to save energy - it’s better for your clothes too!
Let it all hang out. Air-drying clothes uses less energy, prevents static cling on fabrics and extends the life of clothing by reducing wear and tear in the dryer. Living in a small space, it’s not always practical to air dry all our linen and towels, so when we have to use the dryer we throw a couple of pure wool dryer balls in with the load to reduce drying time, soften the laundry and prevent static.
When the time comes to replace what you already have here are a few tips for what to think about for your next purchase:
- Washing powder often contains liquid polymers and mineral abrasives. These tend to increase friction, leading to more fibres breaking. Look for a concentrated detergent without such ingredients and don’t use it more than necessary. Bonus points if you purchase en vrac!
- Ditch the synthetic fragrances. As a general rule, unscented products are greener. A lot of people associate scents with cleanliness, but there are so many harsh chemicals that come along with these products, often undisclosed on the packaging.
- Buy an energy-efficient machine...but only if your current machine is at the end of its life! Efficient washing machines can reduce water use by 17%, according to Project Drawdown.
- Shop for natural fibres like organic cotton, linen, hemp and wool to help prevent microfibers from entering our waterways. These textiles often require less washing too!
- Swap out the chemical-laden pretreatments - and their plastic bottles. Treat a stain with vinegar or soap instead. A little trick of the trade: our Solid dishwashing block works wonders for grease stains - just a little on a wet cloth & bang! stain is gone!
If you have some tips for a greener way to get your whites whiter and your colours brighter, we’d love to hear them!