Lightening the Load – Sustainable Methods for Washing Clothes

Around the world, human beings are searching for ways to become environmentally responsible. As we develop awareness of the impact of chemicals in the environment and climate change, it’s more important than ever to make lifestyle changes for the health of our bodies and the environment.

We can shop for clothes responsibly and wear sustainable fabrics. We can also be more responsible about how we wash our clothes. With our hectic lives, most of us toss a load of laundry in the wash as part of our daily routine, without much thought. That’s the benefit of modern conveniences such as washers and dryers. They’re so easy to use we don’t always think about their environmental impact.

The truth is, the washer and dryer combo are energy suckers. For example, a washing machine set on a hot water wash will use 90 percent of energy to heat the water and 10 percent to power the motor. This energy drain alone is reason enough to keep the wash setting on cold!

Factor in the constant advertising of detergent companies that encourage us to have brighter, whiter, cleaner clothes and we’re tossing, washing and drying more than ever.

Below are a few tips to go green on laundry day. Not only are these suggestions good for the environment, you’ll have a lower energy bill, your clothes will last longer, and you’ll have less exposure to damaging chemicals.

Less washing, larger loads – Start separating clothes that can be worn more than once and clothes that are truly dirty. The jeans giant Levi’s recommends their jeans be washed every two weeks, for example. When it’s time to do laundry, wash full loads.

Cut out the chemicals – Detergents, bleach and laundry sheets all contain chemicals that are damaging to the environment and your own health and well-being. Dryer sheets contain numerous chemicals that may have a negative impact on the human nervous system. A healthier alternative for use as a dryer fragrance are lavender sachets. Or skip the dryer sheets altogether.

Embrace the sunshine – With all the information about the sun’s harmful rays, it’s refreshing to give the earth’s warming star some good press. Using a clothing line to dry clothing is an easy, cost free method of harnessing solar power. Skipping the dryer for the clothes line also saves considerable energy.

Ditch the iron – Not only is ironing a mind numbingly boring task, it’s often unnecessary. Damp clothing hung up immediately after a wash cycle will dry with minimal wrinkles. Irons use excessive energy and destroy the fibers in fabric, shortening the life of garments. Purchasing wash and wear garments that don’t wrinkle is another option.

Striking a balance between enjoying the ease of today’s modern conveniences and being an earth conscious human is important. We can do this by choosing to be informed consumers and conserving resources. If changing something as basic as our laundry habits improve our health and the health of the planet, it’s worth it.

What are some ways you save energy on laundry day? Share your tips below!

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