If you’re trying to make your weekly routine a little greener, the laundry room is a good place to start. Whether you do your laundry at home or go to a laundromat, there are a few easy steps you can take toward eco-friendly habits.
The easiest way to reduce energy use in the laundry room is to wash clothes less. Tough garments like jeans and sweatshirts don’t need to run as often as you might think, and no one will know if you reuse your pajamas a third day in a row. Air out your clothes between wears to help them feel fresh without washing.
Fill the washer
Be sure you have enough laundry to justify a load before starting a load. According to Energy Star, washers use about the same amount of energy no matter how many items are running at once, so get the most bang for your buck by filling the machine every time.
Switch to cold water
Another tip from Energy Star, about 90% of the energy that goes into a load of laundry goes toward heating the water. Unless you need hot water to attack specific cleaning problems, use cold water every time.
Do like grandma did and hang your laundry to dry on a line or a drying rack if you’re in a small apartment. Dry items flat if you’re concerned about stretching or pinching them. Unless you’re dealing with bulky items or need to fluff up clothes, there’s no need to run the dryer.
Use dryer balls
If you must use the dryer, skip dryer sheets in favor of reusable dryer balls, which help separate items in the dryer and cut down on drying time.
Opt for non-toxic detergent and stain removers
The Environmental Working Group prepared a guide to green cleaning products. While a shockingly large percentage of products fail the group’s eco-friendly tests, major brands like 365 and Dr. Bronner’s tend to score pretty well.
Wear natural fibers
Synthetic fibers leech microplastics into waste water as they wash. These unhealthy, microscopic pieces of plastic end up in the bellies of fish, which end up in the bellies of humans. Wear organic cotton, wool and other natural fibers to avoid the unsettling impacts on the food chain.