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Fresh and clean. That's how we want our laundry and our earth. Clean laundry and a green earth don’t have to clash. There’s plenty of ways to green up your laundry while still keeping your clothes soft and sweet–smelling. And eco–friendly laundry habits aren’t just green for the planet, they’re green for your wallet too. The less energy you use, the less bills you pay and the more money you save. Eco–friendly laundry is a win–win for us all! Let's dip into a few green laundry tips you can start today.
Think about your average day: How dirty do your clothes actually get? If you didn’t sweat and weren’t in a dusty environment, your clothes probably don’t need to be washed that night. That doesn’t mean you have to be as hardcore as Chip Bergh, the CEO of Levi Strauss & Co®. He said his jeans "hadn’t seen the inside of a washing machine"—and his jeans were almost a year old.
While you might not want to go a year, you can hang your clothes back in the closet instead of tossing them in the dirty hamper. By wearing your jeans at least three times, using cold water when you do wash and air drying your jeans, you use up to five times less energy.
Laundry detergent comes bottled up in a big ol’ plastic bottle. Plastic isn’t biodegradable. Making DIY detergent that uses only one bottle, over and over, cuts on trash and saves you money. (And who doesn’t love a little extra green in their pocket?)
You can also make your own stain remover and fabric softener. For a sweet-smelling softener or detergent, add 3-5 drops of lavender essential oil. Or peppermint. Or lemon! Whatever you’re in the mood for. Essential oil is naturally derived from plants, so you get a chemical-free fragrance filling your laundry room.
Do you want to eat more mindfully? Consider purchasing a juicer.
Washers use around 19 gallons of water per load, on average. Even energy-saving washers use about 14 gallons per load. Make sure that water doesn’t go to waste by only running full loads. If you live by yourself and don’t have enough dirty clothes for a full load, ask a friend or neighbor if you can "laundrypool." It's like carpooling: You use one machine for you and your friend’s needs.
Handwashing is also not that hard. If you can’t wait and you really want that one shirt to be freshly cleaned for tomorrow, go old school. Fill your sink or bathtub up (just enough to submerge your clothes), swirl in some detergent and hand scrub away for the most eco-friendly laundry possible!
Up to 90% of laundry energy comes from…you guessed it… hot water. That’s a super simple fix: Just choose cold water only and you’re good to go. Cold water also has lots of other benefits besides cutting energy, like:
Granted—nylon, spandex and other fabrics may have a label that says to wash in warm water. Being green isn’t about never heating up your water, just minimizing the heat.
Sommeliers and casual drinkers can agree that no modern kitchen is complete without a wine refrigerator. Why? Because wine is too important to be shoved to the back of the refrigerator behind the sports drinks and the leftovers.
An iron uses a lot of unnecessary energy. But green habits don’t have to mean wrinkly clothes. There are so many other options for getting clothes smooth and ready to roll. A few green laundry tips for getting wrinkles out include:
Keep the planet and your laundry as fresh as can be with these eco-friendly laundry habits. Go green!
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