When laundry day arrives, we rarely think about how the fluff and fold can impact the environment, but, believe it or not, there are many ways for us to promote a cleaner planet while creating a cleaner home. Here are some of our favorite tips for cleaning up your wash routine.
Switch to a homemade or non-toxic detergent like Dr Bronner's or Mollys Suds. Many of the household name laundry detergents we grew up using contain hazardous chemicals classified as carcinogens. Although the scents may be nostalgic, they can cause skin irritation and send dozens of toxic chemicals into our ecosystem. When buying a detergent, opt for fragrance-free as a general rule. Companies that make laundry detergent and other soaps typically use proprietary “blends” of fragrances or chemicals that are not included on the list of ingredients. If you love scented detergent, place a few drops of your favorite essential oil into the load. Check out the Skin Deep Database to find out how clean your detergent of choice really is.
For a homemade detergent option try: 1/2 cup washing soda (AKA Soda Ash or Carbonate Soda), 1/2 cup of a grated blue soap and 3 quarts of warm water.
Believe it or not, vinegar makes an amazing fabric softener. It does the job by stripping away residue on your clothes that would otherwise make them stiff, and it has properties that can break down some of the minerals found in hard water supplies.
Choose a cold or warm wash temperature instead of hot and avoid the sanitize setting unless necessary. This will save 90 percent of the energy typically used in a wash cycle! If we all made this change we could save the energy equivalent to 100 thousand barrels of oil per day.
Clean your lint screen and don't overload the dryer. You can save up to 5 percent on your electricity bill with this simple shift. If everyone did this, we would save the energy equivalent of 350 million gallons of gasoline each year.
Let it Hang
After stepping out of the shower you are nice and fresh (especially if you just scrubbed with The Malibu Made Body Scrub). When you dry off with a towel there is no need to wash it right away. Hang it back up and give it a few more uses. The same goes for bedsheets and clothing. It isn't always necessary to wash after every use. This is especially important when traveling. Let your hotel maid know that you don't need new sheets and towels every night.
Dry cleaning isn’t actually dry at all. Most cleaners use a chemical called perchloroethylene, or perc, which is a known carcinogen to humans and also deeply hazardous to the environment.Luckily, more and more green cleaners are becoming available and utilizing perc alternatives such as wet cleaning and liquid carbon dioxide (CO2) cleaning, which are both non-toxic. Dry cleaning our clothes less often is ideal for both our wallets and the planet! When dry cleaning is necessary, be sure to bring your own garment bag and hangers to reduce unnecessary plastic waste. If possible, seek out an environmentally conscious dry cleaner that avoids toxic chemicals. Beware of green washing. The word green doesn't always promise real solutions.