Everyone loves clean clothes; however, doing the laundry has more impacts on the planet that you might think. Even if you choose to buy from brands that gain sustainable clothing awards, the overall impact can greatly depend on how you choose to wash and dry your garments. If you want to go the sustainable route, consider the frequency and manner in which you wash your clothing. You can minimize your personal energy and water use by making simple changes in your laundry habits. This will benefit your wallet, your wardrobe, and the environment. Here are ways to wash your clothes more sustainably:
Wash in Cold Water
Switching to cold water washing is the easiest way to make your laundry more sustainable. Did you know that up to 90% of the energy used for running your washer comes from heating the water? These days, the majority of clothes and washing powders clean just well in cold water as they do in hot, so why not switch? This will greatly save yourself plenty of energy and money.
Wear Some Clothes More Times Before Washing Them
You do not really have to wash all of your clothes after every wear, unless you are exposed heavily to dust and dirt or you spilled something on your clothes. If you are not sure, hang your garments up for a few days to air out. This can significantly minimize the number of times you need to launder your clothes.
While adjusting to just purchasing sustainable garments, you will discover that the natural fibers are more forgiving and you can go some wears between washing for most garments. Synthetic fibers make you sweat more and the garments tend to hold on to the smell, requiring washing after every wear. Wearing your clothes many times between washes can significantly affect the amount of water needed over a garment’s lifecycle, offering you an easy way to minimize the impact of your garment care on the planet.
Wash Full Loads
Running the washing machine when it is full will also save you money and energy. It will take nearly the same amount of energy to run no matter the number of items you are washing. Thus, the fewer times you can use it the better. In case you own a machine that lets you auto-set the water level to match the load size, make sure to give this a try.