More and more of us are aware of what our actions are doing to the environment. Consequently, it’s not all about recycling anymore, we’re now encouraged to be more green in every aspect of our lives.
Even everyday home tasks need to be considered. Washing machines and dryers actually account for a large part of our home’s energy and water use. Some of us run these appliances everyday, so the consumption is higher than you’d think. That’s why we’ve pulled together 9 ways you can be more green with your laundry.
Worried about your energy bills? Check out 10 ways to save energy this summer and lower your bills.
How to make your laundry more eco-friendly: 9 essential tips
1. Buy an energy-efficient washing machine. Look out for Energy Star certified washing machines — these use 25% less energy and 33% less water compared to those without. It’s also good to check the energy consumption per year in the specs to get an accurate comparison.
2. Use the quick wash setting when you can. The majority of washing machines come with a quick wash setting which uses less energy and water than a standard cycle. It takes half the time as well, so it’s great when you’re in a rush. However, this should only be used for laundry which is lightly soiled or needs a refresh. It can also only wash a few items of clothing at a time.
3. Wash your clothes in cooler temperatures and on shorter cycles. Using hot temperatures requires energy to heat the water, so if it’s not needed, reduce it or even use a cold wash. The same goes for program length, if you can shorten the cycle, this will also save on energy and your bills!
4. Dry your clothes outside rather than in the dryer. If you’ve got blue skies then why not hang your washing to dry? This saves all of the energy you would have used in the dryer and is a free alternative. It’s also less-damaging to your clothes.
5. Swap out your laundry detergent for an eco option. Some laundry detergents use plant-based cleaning agents, such as ECOS Plus Laundry Liquid Detergent (opens in new tab). These are better for the environment and will still clean your clothes effectively. Look out for recyclable packaging and concentrated formulations as well.
6. Use a wash bag to catch microplastics. Microplastics are tiny plastic fibers which shed from some of our synthetic clothes during a cycle. These are washed away with our wastewater and can end up polluting lakes and oceans on a large scale. You can use a product such as the Guppyfriend Washing Bag (opens in new tab) to catch these fibers. You can also consider which textiles contain microplastics and buy alternatives in the future to reduce this.
7. Fill your washing machine when you run it. Whichever setting you’re using, use the maximum capacity your manual recommends. This means your washing machine is running as efficiently as possible. It will save on unnecessary wash cycles and energy.
8. Only wash clothes when necessary. This is down to your own judgement, but don't wash clothes more often than needed. It will waste energy, water, money and will damage your clothes in the process.
9. Avoid ironing where you can. Most of us hate ironing, which is why you will be pleased that we’re not recommending it. It uses up energy and can damage the material of clothes too. Line dry where possible to naturally press clothes.