Guide To Natural Laundry
An Introduction to Improving your Laundry Routine
Getting your laundry clean can be a multi-step process with plenty of chances to cause environmental damage or making greener choices - from the detergents and methods you choose for washing clothes to the way your dry and soften your laundry to how you take care of “dry clean only” garments. Throwing a load of laundry in the washing machine with a cup full of conventional laundry detergent may be the most habitual domestic duty you take care of in any given week, but it can also have consequences for your health and the planet.
To clean-up your wash-up routine, there are several things you can do, including choosing natural laundry detergents and fabric softeners, using eco-friendly laundry tips, and making better choices for dry cleaning your laundry.
Greening your home laundry routine
You’ve got many choices for how to clean your laundry from week to week - from what kind of washing machine to use to the laundry soaps you put in your machine, every choice you make as an impact on the planet and may have implications for your family’s health, too. Here are some quick tips for making your laundry routine leaning and greener:
- Eco-friendly laundry appliances: Unless you live where technology is forbidden (unlikely), your laundry methodology will likely begin with the appliances you use. Greener washers and dryers are those that save both energy and water, which of course will also reduce your utility bills. So if you’re about to buy a new washer and dryer, look for the greenest models possible by following our tips for choosing water-saving and energy-efficient laundry appliances.
- Efficient machine use: Having laundry appliances that save energy and water is a start, but how you use them is also important. We’ve got a whole list of simple, low-cost laundry tips you can implement to cut your consumption of water and energy which will further reduce your everyday electric and gas bills every single year.
- Natural laundry detergents and fabric softeners: Conventional products for cleaning your laundry are often filled with petrochemicals, phosphates, unnatural surfactants, synthetic fragrances dyes, as well as pesticides and chlorine bleach, all of which can damage aquatic environments, pollute air and soil, and cause human health problems. Buying eco laundry detergents and natural fabric softeners or making your own DIY laundry cleaners are two great ways to take control of the chemicals used in your laundry routine. Check out our DIY laundry detergent recipe and our DIY fabric softener recipe.
Natural dry cleaning
You may have a closet full of “dry clean only” garments that require special care to keep them looking sharp and smelling fresh. But traditional dry cleaning employed by most dry clean shops utilizes a chemical known as percloroethylene (perc) which is highly toxic to human and environmental health. Minimizing your dry cleaning requirements and choosing eco-friendly dry cleaning methods are two ways you can cut your dependence on this chemical and clean-up your wardrobe:
- Eco-friendly dry cleaning: Though not yet mainstream, there are now several reliable and effective ways to clean “dry clean only” garments without the use of perc. These include things like wet cleaning, carbon dioxide cleaning, and Siloxane dry cleaning, all of which are less toxic than traditional dry cleaning. To learn more check out our article on dry cleaning and read a little further about wet cleaning.
- Reducing your need for dry cleaning: In addition to choosing a greener dry cleaning method, you can also cut how much you dry clean your clothes by wearing clothes longer, washing them at home, using home dry cleaning kits (which are perc-free), and buying clothes that don’t require dry cleaning. Not only will this reduce your monthly dry cleaning bills, it’ll mean cleaner indoor air, a healthier home, and safer working conditions for those employed by dry cleaners.
This is just a taste of some of the things you can do to reduce the environmental impact of your regular laundry routine. Read through our entire section on greening your laundry habits to find some great tips, tricks, and recipes for developing a less toxic laundry cleaning methodology.