8 Eco-Friendly Laundry Tips for Longer Lasting Clothes
Maintaining and extending the life of the clothing already in your closet is one of the first steps to building a sustainable wardrobe. In a world where 80 billion pieces of clothing are consumed globally each year and every second the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles are sent to the landfill or burned, maximizing the life of your clothes and wearing what you have (even if it’s a closet full of fast fashion) is far more sustainable than clearing out your closet and filling it with only ethical & sustainable brands.
How we wash our clothes plays a huge role in the overall lifespan of our clothes so today we’re sharing 8 eco-friendly laundry tips to make your clothes last longer while also reducing your impact on the planet.
DON’T OVERDO THE SOAP
Am I the only one that would pour in a little ‘extra’ detergent thinking I was getting my clothes extra clean? Turns out that’s actually counter productive. Excess soap can hold in dirt and make it harder for garments to get clean leading to more washing, more water use and more wear & tear on your clothes. Too much soap also reduces a washer's efficiency and dumps more pollutants back into local ecosystems.
Adding a half cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle works to kill gems, whiten whites and helps get rid of odors. White vinegar also naturally makes your clothes soft and fluffy and is a great alternative for dryer sheets which contain synthetic fragrances and other chemicals.
Use natural detergents and products that are free of chlorine bleach, synthetic fragrance, dyes, and optical brighteners. Natural detergents are usually plant (not petroleum) based and contain biodegradable surfactants, and tend to be specifically formulated to perform well in cold water.
DAB DON’T RUB
Have you ever spilled guac on your shirt and tried to rub it clean only to end up making the stain 10x worse? Welcome to my life. Rubbing will most likely make your stain worse and possibly wear away the fabric. Instead, gently dab the stain with cleaner and always use a white cloth so that colors can’t transfer. One natural option to get rid of stains is to toss the item into a big pot of water with a few lemon slices and bring to a boil for a few minutes and/or let soak overnight. Have you tried this trick? Did it work for you?
THE 3/4 RULE
Even the most energy-efficient washer machines use 40 gallons of water. Reduce the number of loads you wash each week by only washing full loads. Another way to significantly save water is by not over loading the machine. Always fill your washer machine 3/4 full clothes. Over loading doesn’t allow the items inside to get properly cleaned/rinsed and also leads to torn ripped clothes
As much as possible avoid the dryer and opt to air dry your garments. Not only does it save money, time and the environment but it also helps your clothes last longer. Over-drying breaks down fabrics and shortens their ‘life span.’ If you do use the dryer place items on top of the dryer to speed up their drying time,
KEEP IT CLEAN
When using the dryer make sure to clean the lint trap before starting your dry cycle. Dryer lint build-up can restrict air flow and cause your clothes to take longer to dry — and thus use more energy.
TURN DOWN THE HEAT
It’s estimated that almost 90 percent of the energy used when washing clothes goes to heating water. By using cold water you can reduce your energy use.
Do you have any eco laundry tips that help keep your clothes in good shape? Join the conversation on Instagram or in the comment below!