Give your laundry and eco-makeover with these simple switches!
The laundry is one area of the home that includes a lot of chemicals. Laundry powders and liquids can include phosphates which are bad for our waterways and enzymes that can irritate sensitive skin. There are hundreds of laundry products on the market, most of which are packaged in plastic. The good news is that with a few switches you can cut out harmful chemicals, reduce plastic use and save money by doing it yourself!
Firstly, rethink the fabrics you buy. Many clothes we wear are made from synthetic fibres such as polyester, nylon and acrylic. These fabrics don’t breathe as well as natural fibres and in my experience are more likely to hold stains. Instead, look for fabrics such as wool, flax linen, organic cotton and silk. Fabrics such as wool don’t need to be washed as frequently as the fibres are more resistant to soiling.
More bad news about those pesky synthetic fabrics, they release tiny microfibres into the water when washed, and this water goes into our oceans. Recent research showed that using the delicate cycle to wash clothes releases significantly more microfibres because of the high volume of water used. Products such as the Guppyfriend bag can help with this. By putting your synthetic clothing into the bag prior to washing, you can help stop microfibres being released into the water.
Got stains? Have a go at making your own stain removal spray. Just mix ¼ cup liquid castile soap (such as Dr Bronner’s), ¾ cup water, ¼ cup liquid vegetable glycerine and 10 drops lemon essential oil in a spray bottle. Do a patch test first if you’re concerned about the fabric colour fastness. Spray this on the stain (leave on longer if it’s a doozy) and wash as normal.
Try using soapberries/soapnuts to replace your usual laundry powder or liquid. Soapberries grow on Sapindus trees and contain a natural soap like substance called saponin. To use, just pop five soapberries in a small cloth bag (usually included with your soapberries) and pop it in your machine. They work better on a warm water cycle, or just soak them in warm water for five minutes before using. These five berries will last several washes and when you’re finished with them you can throw them on the compost heap.
When it comes to drying your laundry, air drying is the way to go! It uses less energy than a dryer and the sun acts as a natural sanitiser, not to mention the breeze airing out your clothes.
The final step in your eco friendly laundry step is to stop using plastic pegs that break apart and contaminate our soil and waterways. Marine grade stainless steel pegs from Best Pegs won’t rust, break or heat up in the sun and they will outlive your plastic and wooden pegs many times over! They are also packaged in a reusable canvas bag that could also be used to wash delicate items.
Have you got an eco-friendly laundry tip? Comment below to share!