Anyone else with a never-ending pile of washing? Yep, hands up here. Unfortunately, it’s something that we can’t ignore, delegate to the dog or outsource offshore. I have tried….. the dog isn’t interested.
It is one of the areas where we really can make some significant environmental impact with regards to what we use to clean our clothes, how we go about it, and the results speak for themselves.
If you want to save a heap of money, a heap of plastic and just generally feel good about what you’re doing for the environment, these eco friendly, plastic saving tips are for you. Most of you will say, “I am just one person, what can I do?” The good news is – you are not alone! There are hundreds of thousands of people trying to do their little bit for the planet and get more environmentally friendly in their laundry practice. Every little bit helps.
The best part, you won’t just be helping to save the environment, you will also be saving some dollars along the way. If you change your mindset on buying clothes and the products you use to wash your clothes, your bank balance, and the environment is going to benefit. To become more sustainable in the laundry you don’t have to do anything drastic, just implement some amazingly simple changes.
Here are 8 simple ways for you to make your laundry more eco-friendly:
# 1 - Ditch the plastic pegs
If I had a dollar for every broken plastic peg I’ve ever owned… They become brittle so quickly and once those plastic shards end up in your garden they’re a risk for wildlife. Make the switch to stainless steel pegs instead. They are much more durable and the steel can be recycled, should they reach the end of their lifetime. They come in bags of 16 and 32. Make the switch now.
# 2 - Use natural wool dryer balls if you have to use a dryer
Naturally not using a dryer is best, but if you don’t have the luxury of a washing line or it’s raining for weeks on end, these dryer balls will make using the dryer much more eco friendly. They can cut drying time by about 30% and will also reduce wrinkling and static. Reusable 100% natural Merino Wool Dryer Balls are available in bags of 4.
# 3 - Consider switching to an environmentally friendly laundry detergent.
Regular laundry detergents are not only bad for the environment, but they can also be unhealthy for our skin. They often contain formaldehyde (a known carcinogen), ammonium sulphate, dioxane, fragrance (this is a BIGGIE, because many fragrances are known carcinogens and endocrine disruptors) and more.
Plant based liquid detergents are just as effective as their commercial counterparts, but they often contain less ingredients and the ingredients they do contain are usually biodegradable, which is so important for when they reach our waterways. Not only that, but if you find a true eco-friendly shop laundry detergent, it is also less likely to contain known skin-irritants.
We use Soap Berries which are also known also as 'Soap Nuts', these little soapberries grow on trees in the Himalayas are a 100% natural and organic alternative to traditional soaps. They are part of the lychee family and are collected when they drop to the ground and dry out. The berries contain ‘saponin’ which is a surfactant that acts like soap. How amazing is that?!
# 4 - Switch your fabric softener or ditch it altogether
A lot of people swear by fabric softeners because they make ironing easier, make their clothes feel softer and reduce the amount of wrinkling. Unfortunately, some fabric softeners are some of the most ‘unfriendly to the environment’ laundry products you can use. Depending on what you’re washing, some clothes, like denim, should not even have softener used on them. Many fabric softeners use fillers and additives along with palm oil that can be harmful to your health and are not biodegradable. If you don’t absolutely need to use fabric softener, but still want your clothes and towels to come out feeling soft, you can use a liquid laundry detergent.
# 5 - Be aware of synthetic fibres and what they are doing to the environment
In general swimwear is made using synthetic fibres that will last longer if you wash them by hand. Every time you put your swimwear through the washing machine they sheds microplastics. Instead, simply hand wash using a mild detergent. Alternatively, buy a protective washing bag and place your swimwear and all other synthetic containing clothing inside. Washing bags help catch synthetic fibres preventing them from being washed into our waterways and ending up damaging our precious eco systems and ending up in the stomachs of fish and then potentially in ours! .
# 6 -Try to buy more eco-friendly clothing
We all love a good bargain when it comes to clothing, but at what cost to the environment? Cheap clothing is often poorly made and occasionally becomes unwearable after only a few washes. They are also usually made using cheap synthetic materials such as polyester that pollutes our waterways with tiny fibres called microplastics. Of course, this isn’t to say you should stop buying cheap clothing altogether, but try opting for a few quality items that are made from natural or more sustainable materials, such as cotton or wool. They will last longer and help the environment. Swap with your friends, go to the op shops, markets. Recycle where possible!
# 7 - Consider reusing your lint
Yes, you read that right! It does sound strange, but you can use lint as kindling to start a fireplace fire, line garden pots to increase the moisture levels in the soil or, you can even use it to stuff cushions and other craft items. At worst case put it in your compost, but only if from all natural clothing. If you have wool carpet this is another good way to dispose of your vacuum cleaner bag contents- compost it.
# 8 - Use refills
If you don't have a favourite washing liquid then I would suggest to look for an organic, all natural laundry soap that can be purchased without all the plastic packaging from a bulk plastic free store. You can also make use of small concentrate refills and reuse the bottles you have at home. Look for products that are available in recycled or recyclable packaging. There are plenty! Koala Eco who we love does an amazing Laundry Liquid or try our 100% all natural Soap Berries.