Doing the laundry might seem like a mundane, petty chore. However, it has a great impact on our planet. Research proves that 75 to 80% of any clothing’s life cycle is impacted by washing and drying. Doing the laundry takes a lot of energy – first you would have to heat the washing water and then run the drying cycle. There is a huge potential to reduce water consumption and on usage of personal energy by resorting to green laundry methods.
Apart from being beneficial to the environment, earth-friendly laundry could save you some cash. An average household does about 400 loads of clothing in laundry every year, uses almost 13,500 gallons of water. Studies have shown that using an Energy Star qualified top loading (or “a horizontal axis”) machine could save about 7,000 gallons of water every year. Approximately, we can say that in the 11 years life of a washer, there would be enough water saved that could fill-up three backyard-swimming pools or perhaps provide a lifetime of drinking-water for six people! Also, this washer could save $550 with regards to operating costs throughout its lifetime, in contrast to a regular washer.
A few green-laundry tips
1. Green detergent. Detergents may contain chemicals that affect your clothes, disrupt the aquatic ecosystems as the dirty water from the washing may drain off into a water body. Phosphates in laundry soap could result in algal blooms that could adversely affect marine life and ecosystems. You could buy Eco-friendly detergents that are easily biodegradable and made from plant-based instead of petroleum-based ingredients.
2. Hang clothes out. Dryers consume a lot of energy. Skipping the dryer could make a huge difference to energy consumption. Also, clothes would last longer, if dried out in the open as there is a lot of wear and tear caused due to dryer usage.
3. Maximize the dryer. Using the dryer may be necessary sometimes. You could adopt this ingenious technique at saving energy in spite of using the dryer. If the lint filter is cleaned frequently, it adds to the efficiency of the dryer by reducing the time taken to dry clothes. You could also use a moisture sensor in your dryer. This would shut the machine automatically, when it senses that the clothes are dry. Thus you can save energy as well as reduce the wear and tear on your clothing. A sachet of dried organic lavender can be used in the dryer for a sweet, healthy scent instead of the chemical freshener.
4. Ironing. Not only is ironing a tedious task, it also deteriorates the fabric and consumes a lot of energy. You could reduce the number of clothes that require ironing by hanging clothes immediately after they are washed. While the clothes are wet, the water works with gravity to get rid of most wrinkles. Wrinkle-free clothing such as linen should be washed differently. You could reduce the final spin cycle for such clothes, thus leaving more water in them. This would help increase the pull on these garments and get rid of most wrinkles. You could also fold the clothes in a manner that creases appear as per your requirement.
There are several ways by which we could reduce the carbon foot print linked to our daily chores such as the laundry. Making your laundry Eco-friendly has several benefits – it is good for your clothing, your wallet as well as for the planet. Everyone wins, when you green the laundry.