Take a look at the back of your favorite laundry detergent. The ingredient list is probably hazy and ill-defined. First aid info and cautions abound. “KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN” is prominently displayed.
And this is something we use on a regular basis? Making a few eco-conscious alterations is not only good for the environment, it’s much better for your health as well. But how to go green when it comes to laundry?
One of the easiest ways to change to a more eco-friendly laundry system is to switch to an environmentally-friendly detergent. Some detergents are labeled clearly as such – Seventh Generation, for instance – but it’s easy to check.
- Simply look for an eco-friendly laundry product that is phosphate-free and biodegradable. For an even better alternative, look for one made of natural ingredients, rather than petroleum-based.
- Avoid dry cleaning completely, as it is one of the worst offenders when it comes to being exposed to dangerous chemical concoctions.
- Using natural additives in your laundry is a far better choice than using purchased chemical additives. Use an aspirin tablet to brighten whites rather than bleach.
- For disinfection (good for diapers or undies), try a half cup full of vinegar or a few drops of essential oil such as lavender, tea tree, or lemon. Vinegar also works as a fabric softener in loads such as towels, shirts, and jeans.
- Baking soda or a lavender sachet works as a deodorizer.
- Line dry your clothes whenever possible. It not only saves on electricity, the sun bleaches out stains and leaves a pleasantly fresh scent. Avoid ironing, and use two or three tennis balls in the dryer to limit static and remove wrinkles.
- Using cold water instead of hot (heating the water takes most of the electricity used in a machine) reduces energy costs even further.
- If you can afford to upgrade your appliances, picking out extremely energy efficient washers and dryers can make a profound difference in the environmental impact of your laundry.
If not, then making these changes, along with wearing your clothes more between washes and using eco-friendly laundry products will still greatly reduce your negative impact on the environment and your family’s health.