Want to make your weekly wash more sustainable? These eco-friendly laundry tips will help you achieve that 'green' household status in a short amount of time. And as well as reducing the environmental impact of your washing, you're highly likely to save money along the way too. By using fewer commercially made laundry products, and by perhaps even transforming the way you shop for clothes, your bank balance is going to benefit from these really simple changes.
It goes without saying that investing in an energy-saving, smart washing machine is a great move sustainability-wise, and that it's worth considering to make our green laundry suggestions even more effective.
Read on for our favourite green laundry tips and for more advice on living more sustainably, visit our eco hub.
1. Skip the fabric softener
Many people swear by fabric softener, – it makes towels softer and ironing more manageable – but unfortunately, commercial fabric softeners are quite easily the least environmentally friendly laundry products out there. Many contain palm oil and a whole host of additives, including fillers, that are not biodegradable and that can even be harmful to your health.
The easiest way to cut out fabric softener without your clothes coming out of the wash feeling 'hard', is to use a liquid detergent rather than a powder. Liquid detergents will always be more emollient than powder and are better suited for use in hard water areas.
2. Switch to an eco-friendly laundry detergent
To continue on the theme of laundry detergents, just switching to a plant-based liquid detergent will be more eco-friendly. Plant-based detergents are just as effective as commercial detergents, but they typically contain fewer ingredients and biodegrade when they reach waterways.
Tip: Not all 'natural' detergents are palm oil free, so always check the ingredient list.
3. Stop machine washing your swimwear
Every time you put your swimming costume or bikini through a washing machine cycle, it sheds microplastics. Swimwear is made from synthetic fibres that should only ever be washed by hand – and will last longer if washed by hand. Use a mild laundry detergent, or even a shampoo to freshen it up in your bathroom sink.
4. Ditch fast fashion
There are two main problems with very cheap clothing: one is that it's often made from synthetic materials such as polyester that pollute our waterways and oceans with microplastics (see the above point on swimwear); the other is that very cheap clothing is often poorly made which results in it becoming unwearable after only a few washes. We're not saying that you should never buy clothes again (phew), but, opting for fewer quality items that are made from natural materials is always more sustainable, and likely to be cheaper in the long run.
5. Consider reusing your dryer lint
The lint that collects in your dryer filter can be surprisingly useful: try lining your garden pots with it to increase moisture levels in the soil, or use it to stuff cushions if you're into crafts. Got a fireplace? Use your lint as kindling to help get the fire going.