I love doing the laundry (and the dishes!) simply because it involves cleaning, getting the dirt out and making things look all fresh and newish.***laughing*** However, I also realize that both these household chores can be quite unfriendly towards the planet simply because they consume a lot of water, energy and use detergents that are toxic and chemical-laden. So, I’ve been trying to be as eco-friendly and green about my laundry as I possibly can.
Here are five of my simplest ways to green your laundry while getting the dirt and stains out as well.
1. Wear Clothes (Some of them!) Twice
One of my favorite ways is to wear clothes twice. No, no, don’t run away. Just hear me out! ***laughing*** This is easily possible in winters and when one wears a T-shirt or a top only for an hour or so. Indian summers however don’t allow us to wear clothes more than once. Jeans can easily be worn twice before being tossed into the wash and so, can most of the T-shirts and tops.
2. Use the Delicate Cycle for Lightly Stained Clothes
I generally use the Delicate cycle for pretty much everything, other than kitchen dusters and dishcloths. Those go into the Heavy cycle to get the stains and smells out. The delicate cycle uses less water, detergent, energy and I’ve found it to be just as effective in getting clothes clean and stain-free. Try it!
3. Line Dry Your Clothes
Since we stay in India where we’re blessed with plenty of sunshine and winds all through the year, we line dry our clothes. Always, all the time. Even in the monsoons which can be wet and cloudy, we have periods of bright sunlight which is good enough for us to line dry clothes. Line drying is great for a number of reasons. One, it dries clothes without using any energy, other than from the sun. Two, Sunlight is a natural bleach and germicide, leaving clothes whiter, brighter and cleaner. Three, drying clothes on a line makes for a great toddler-mom chore!
There is a really great website called LineDryIt.com which has tips, facts and products to help get started with line drying.
4. Use Cold Water and Wash a Full Load
Washing in hot water costs money and energy. I use cold water for everything and find that even the dirtiest, grimiest of toddler clothing comes out clean. However, I do presoak them sometimes or spot-scrub them. Even, if there are any mild stains left, they get bleached by the sunlight.
The other thing that I do is to always wash a full load of clothes. I tend to do my laundry in batches – curtains, bath and bed linen, coloreds, whites and lights, toddler clothes and kitchen dusters. So, I basically have a full load pretty much all the time. Washing a full load uses the water and energy levels optimally.
5. Use Green Laundry Detergent or Make Your Own
Like I said, there are plenty of natural detergents available in the market. Laundry Tree which makes 100% natural, organic Soap Nuts has received some great reviews from several mom bloggers, including Tsh at Simple Mom. I think Soap Nuts are great especially since they’re the fruit of a tree grown right here in India (along with Indonesia and Nepal). Ironic that we don’t get them here, though.
Since I haven’t found a suitable green option in Indian markets, I decided to make my own laundry detergent. It’s easy, quick and effective. I use the recipe from Planet Green.com but there are others available at Tip Nut as well as a video on how to make your own laundry detergent at The Simple Dollar.
There you are. Five simple ways to go green while doing the laundry. However, I’d love to learn more ways of being eco-friendly while washing clothes.
So, what is your green-your-laundry tip? How do you wash clothes while protecting the environment? Please do share!
Photo Credit: D Sharon Pruitt