You make it your goal to be more eco-friendly in your actions, but there are some responsibilities you just can’t avoid. Doing laundry will always require water and a bit of electricity unless you do it by hand. But the good news is you don’t have to sacrifice convenience or time to green clean your laundry items.
Learn how to green clean laundry at home and why it will make more sense to find an eco-friendly laundry drop off service to do it all for you.
Whether you do laundry yourself or use your local laundry service, a simple way to reduce your environmental impact is to use cold water. You may not realize it, but some estimates say that up to 90% of the energy required to do laundry is for heating the water.
Of course, this comes with an important caveat – health. When dealing with laundry that has come into contact with something contagious, you must wash your laundry in hot water and dry the items on high heat, killing viruses.
The detergent you use has a significant effect on the environment, so choose carefully. Many detergents contain chemicals that are bad for the environment and even our health. Ideally, you want to use phosphate-free and biodegradable detergents, as phosphates are one of the big issues with most detergents. For reference, phosphates hurt marine ecosystems by encouraging algal blooms. The easiest way to choose an eco-friendly detergent is to look for the EPA Safer Choice logo in blue and green. This indicates the detergent is EPA-approved.
Conveniently, this tip is applicable no matter how you do your laundry. If you wash it yourself, buy eco-friendly detergent the next time you are in the store. If you use a laundry service, ask them to use a green detergent.
Once you settle on a detergent that doesn’t harm the environment, try to buy it in bulk. The larger the container you buy, the less plastic is required per ounce of liquid, leading to less plastic for each load of laundry.
You can even look for detergents that come in eco-friendly packaging alternatives.
Are you someone who always leaves your washing machine on the same load size? Get in the habit of adjusting the load size to match what is actually in the machine. This will use less water for smaller loads.
If you set a time for your dryer, it will likely use more energy than using a preset. Settings like “Standard” or “Normal” usually rely on sensors to shut off. But if you set a time, the machine will keep going even if your clothes are dry. That leads to more energy consumption than what’s actually needed.
Alternatively, if your dryer lets you adjust the temperature, switch it to a lower temperature and increase the time spent drying. The machine doesn’t have to heat up as much, so you use less energy even if it works longer.
Air drying your clothes is an excellent way to reduce your environmental impact. It doesn’t require any electricity and uses natural heat from the sun.
As a bonus, air drying clothes reduces the risk of damage, as they aren’t exposed to the dryer’s agitation. Even a commercial laundry service will likely recommend air drying when possible.
Simply drape clothes over a shower rod, towel rack, or chair. Or better yet, buy a foldable drying rack.
If you use an old washing machine, it is likely not very energy efficient. Upgrading can reduce the amount of electricity you use per load.
However, remember that replacing your machine also comes with an environmental impact, as your old one will end up in a landfill. See if you can find a service that recycles parts of your old machine and carefully evaluate the pros and cons before upgrading.
Whether you wash your clothes at home or use a wash and fold service, see if you can reduce your frequency of doing laundry. Do you really need to wash your pants after every wear? What about sweatshirts that go over a shirt?
Of course, don’t sacrifice personal hygiene for the sake of the planet, but see if you can make some minor adjustments.
While you can make efforts to be greener with your laundry, they all require time and effort on your end. If you want an easier and more sustainable option, look for organic dry cleaning or a green wash and fold service.
Green laundry and dry cleaning services likely incorporate the above tips into their process. Though it might not be physically possible for them to air dry your clothes, a laundry wash and fold nearby can execute sustainable initiatives more efficiently than a regular household.
For example, they can buy detergent in large quantities, reducing the amount of plastic used in detergent packaging per wash.
Commercial laundry services likely use efficient washing machines. Upgrading to a more efficient model can save you money in the long run by reducing electric bills, but it requires an initial investment. It’s easier for a wash and fold laundry to get enough capital, or even a business loan, to purchase eco-friendly machines.
It’s important to remember that not every pickup and drop off laundry service claiming to be green truly takes steps to care for the environment. Some businesses make minor changes and claim that they are green.
You may wonder, “Where do I find an eco-friendly wash and fold near me?” Look for an online laundry service that specifically states why they are green. Greener Cleaner, for example, uses detergents that have no hydrocarbons, no PERC, and no petroleum-based solvents for both dry cleaning services and wet cleaning.
When choosing the right laundry service, make sure you research one that values the environment. You not only get the benefits of a laundry service, but you also reduce your impact on the planet.