Plastic Free Laundry Routine


Laundry’s Impacts

I have a family of five, so I am constantly doing laundry.  If I’m not, it’s piling up waiting for me to get tired of looking at it.  Thus, it was one of the first places I transformed when beginning my more sustainable lifestyle.  Here are some things to know if you want to have a plastic free, eco-conscious laundry routine.  The following things come to mind when I think about doing laundry: energy use, water use, plastic consumption, and harsh chemicals.

Harsh Chemicals:  The big named detergent, fabric softeners, and stain removers we normally use are often made with harsh chemicals and fragrances.  Those chemicals used to clean and freshen our clothes then get all over our bodies when we wear them, and can adversely affect our health.

Plastic consumption:  I don’t want to spend too much time on why plastic is bad.  But from top to bottom, it is bad for us and the environment.  It never completely breaks down, creating micro-plastics.  Fresh waters and oceans alike are being choked and contaminated by it.  99% of it is made out of oil.

Energy and water use:  Only 3% of the Earth’s water is fresh and drinkable.  Global climate change disrupts the water cycle, making clean fresh drinking water increasingly scarce.  The energy we use, if you do not have solar panels, comes from fossil fuels, a finite and damaging resource.  This energy consumption pumps harmful greenhouse gases into our atmosphere.

With all of that said, here are some ways that you can transform your laundry routine into a plastic-free, chemical-free, energy and water saving one:

Product Swaps:

  • Use wool balls, paired with a few drops of essential oil instead of dryer sheets.
  • Use plastic free laundry detergent. I use Clean Cult for that.  They send you a glass container for your first shipment.  Then after that, they send refills in a recyclable cardboard package.  They also have carbon neutral shipping!
  • A cup of vinegar and 10-15 drops of essential oil to deodorize and kill the germs.
  • Combine baking soda, dish soap, and hydrogen peroxide for DIY stain remover

Products by Lizzie sells wool balls, and all-natural laundry detergent (though not plastic free) and other all-natural skin-care products.

Other tips and things to consider:

  • Look out for greenwashing. Big corporations like to make it appear like a product is eco-friendly by using the color green, leaves, or buzz words like clean, green, sustainable, eco-friendly, and natural on their labeling.  Read the ingredients., if you can’t pronounce them, they aren’t natural.
  • The most sustainable product you can use is the one you already have. Don’t go buying new products all willy nilly.  When you run out of something and need to purchase more, look into purchasing an eco-friendly alternative.
  • Wash your clothes with cold water. Washing your clothes with hot water doesn’t disinfect your clothes, the water doesn’t actually get hot enough to do that.  Plus it fades the color.
  • Wash full loads, or adjust the water load size accordingly. Newer appliances generally weigh the loads to determine how much water to use, but not all of us have access to new washing machines.
  • Hang dry when you can, or all of the time. Whatever works for you.  Something that has helped me is grouping clothes that I know I will hang dry when I separate the dirty laundry and wash those together.  Once I take them out of the washing machine, I hang them up all up to dry, saving me from an entire drying load.
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