Green Washing: How to Sustainably Revamp Your Laundry Technique

Nobody likes doing laundry. It’s a never-ending task that seems to go on forever – but one way to break it up is by trying to tackling the sustainable impact of your household chores. Traditional ways of washing clothes tend to waste a lot of water. Here are a few quick and easy changes you can make to reduce the impact of your laundry.

Laundry Alternatives

Instead of using a washing machine, why not give washing by hand a go? It saves water and can also extend the lifetime of your clothes. Get yourself a dedicated bucket to keep your clothing away from food scraps in the sink, rinse your clothes in warm water, and use elbow grease to get rid of stains.

If you start with your cleanest clothes first, the water will stay cleaner for longer, so you can wash more clothes in one batch. Once you’re finished up, you can then use the wastewater for your plants and garden.

Laundry

One for the Multi-Taskers

If you want to be really efficient about it, you can also wash your clothes while you’re in the shower, doubling down on your water use. You can even use the same all-purpose soap for yourself and your clothes.

Pick whether you wear your clothes in the shower and wash them while standing (might be slightly uncomfortable), or simply put them at your feet and wash them by hand. This trick is especially useful while travelling, when you might be limited on space!

Shower

Make It Count

Don’t wash your clothes immediately – they actually often don’t need it! Especially for adults and during colder weather, we don’t tend to sweat or get clothes dirty enough to warrant washing after just one day.

Aside from underwear and tight clothing that is close to your skin, start assessing your clothes before washing. Are they stained? Do they smell? If not, then stick them in a hamper and wear them again tomorrow. The less laundry you have to do, the less water and energy it uses up.

Clothing

Use a Natural Breeze to Your Advantage

If you regularly use a dryer, that’s a lot of energy being consumed just to get your clothes toasty and dry. There’s a much more sustainable solution waiting for you just outside your door.

If you have access to a garden, set up a clothesline to hang your clothes off. When the weather is good, they can be cupboard-dry in just a few hours. Even if you don’t have your own outside space, you can still improvise your own way of drying clothes outside. String up a line from one window to another, so that your clothes hang along the wall in between. There’s always a creative solution to be found!

Drying Clothes

Pick Your Poison

When buying laundry detergent, avoid chlorine bleach as much as possible. Unless you absolutely need gleaming white clothes, avoiding this damaging chemical can score you big points with the environment.

You should also try and buy concentrated detergents as much as possible, especially if you’re washing by hand. You’ll find your products go a lot further when you use concentrated options, so it saves money at the same time.

Alternatively, why not try making your own laundry detergent? It’s actually much simpler than you’d think and has the added bonus of saving you money and as well as plastic.

DIY Laundry

Make your Clothes Last Longer

Following some basic laundry rules can help make your clothes last longer. Always keep your light and dark clothes separate when you’re filling the washing machine. It just takes one dark top to run and ruin the whites of your other clothing.

You also usually don’t need to wash your clothes at a high temperature – and it can actually damage your clothes long-term. Check the label on your clothes and switch to cold or 30-degree washes as much as possible, saving energy and wear and tear.

Washing Machine

For more sustainable living tips, come on down to the Zero Waste Berlin Festival to meet other sustainable businesses and like-minded people. We have consumers, individuals, and entrepreneurs from a range of different industries who are all approaching sustainability in a unique and authentic way. 

Tickets are currently available to buy here, so make sure you secure your space alongside like-minded professionals, entrepreneurs, and activists on September 17-19. We’re looking forward to seeing you there!

Author

  • Rachael Davies is a freelance writer and journalist based in Edinburgh, with work in National Geographic, Huffington Post, and TechRadar. You can find her on Twitter @rachdaviesetc or via her website.