Sustainable Laundry Rhythms
Laundry is one of my favorite chores. It’s something I’ve really been able to turn into a mindful meditation- a place where I can just be present with the work that I am doing with my hands and really enjoy it. The warmer months where I can hang laundry on the line to dry always feel like magic, and I look forward to it on a weekly basis. There’s truly nothing like fresh sheets on the bed that dried in the wind earlier that day, or when the weather turns and you have to drop everything and hurry outside to gather the linens before a downpour begins.
I wanted to chat about a few ways that can create a more sustainable laundry routine for you and your household. Making a few changes when it comes to how we do our laundry can make a positive impact on the environment and our health!
Curating a home and wardrobe with only natural textiles is the best thing you can do to have a more eco-friendly laundry routine. Fibers like acrylic, polyester, nylon, and other synthetic fabrics are made from plastics and man-made chemicals, and every time they are washed, microplastics are released. One study found that just one wash of clothes can release 700,000 microplastic fibers. These tiny plastic particles then end up in our oceans and water systems, affecting not only the environment, but our health as well.
Take a moment to consider parting with your synthetic clothing and instead wear natural fibers such as cotton, linen, hemp, bamboo, and tencel. Washing natural fiber clothing does not release microplastics because the clothes are not made out of plastic. Better for the environment and better for our health.
If you do have a few synthetic pieces that you can’t seem to part with, a better-than-nothing alternative is to invest in a washing bag that prevents fiber shedding/microplastic pollution when washing synthetic clothes.
Washing your laundry on cold saves a lot of energy. About 90% of the energy used by our washing machine during laundry goes towards heating the water. By washing on cold, you create less carbon emission as well as saving yourself some money on your energy bill. Go to the site Cold Water Saves to learn more!
Air drying is a simple way to use a little less energy, when possible! It’s fun to hang clothes on a clothesline outside in the summer or on those cute little bamboo drying racks if the weather doesn’t permit hanging your clothes outside.
DITCH THE CHEMICALS
This one is a nonnegotiable! Laundry detergents, softeners, stain removers, and dryer sheets are extremely extremely toxic and are not only hurting the environment but most importantly hurting our health. Conventional laundry products are full of carcinogens and hormone disrupting chemicals, and we walk around wearing them, sleeping on them, breathing them in and letting them soak into our skin. Switching to all natural laundry products is a great way to reduce toxins in your home and body. Making your own will also save you money, as you can buy the ingredients for cheap in bulk, and make big batches at a time that will last you a long time.
And I know what you’re probably thinking….”what about my beloved dryer sheets??!?” Ditch em. There! I said it! Dryer sheets are completely unnecessary and were probably created to sneak even more chemicals into our everyday lives. If Laura Ingalls didn’t use em, we don’t need to use em! If you can’t seem to part with some sort of thing to pop in your dryer with your laundry, you can purchase bamboo or (ethically sourced) wool dryer balls to ease your mind.
There are some things that can be worn/used more than once before giving them a wash. Sweatshirts, bras, pajamas, and jeans can really don’t need to be washed after each use. In the winter, beds don’t need to be laundered weekly especially if you’re a shower-at-night person like me. I only wash my sheets weekly (probably more like every two weeks) in the summer when I know I’m sweating and smelling more than usual. Bath towels can also be used more than once before washing. I use mine for a whole week before switching it out for a new one (don’t @ me!). Besides, you’re only using it to dry off your already clean body so how gross can it really be?
Owning less clothes means washing less clothes! When you have basic staples that you can wear multiple times with multiple outfits before giving them a wash, it saves you time and saves energy as well!
SUSTAINABLE LAUNDRY ESSENTIALS
What do your sustainable laundry rhythms look like? I’d love to know! Until next time, Calico Babes!
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