Laundry might not be on the top of everyone’s minds when it comes to their ecological footprint, however washers and dryers account for a massive part of the average person’s home energy and water use. An average household does as many as eight loads of laundry per week. That can add up to thousands of gallons of water per year! Luckily, there are a variety of solutions available today to minimize our impact, while keeping our clothes fresh and clean.

Let’s explore 5 ways to Wash Better.

1. Switch to an Energy Efficient Washer

A high efficiency washing machine uses less than half the amount of water a traditional machine does. A common top loader uses over 55 gallons of water, compared to energy efficient models that can use as little as seven. With hundreds of loads done each year per household, that’s a lot of savings.

High efficiency washing machines also use less electricity. They’re also much more gentle on clothing, meaning your closet will last longer. Saving so much water and energy also means you’ll be saving money too! It’s a win-win, so if you can make the investment, it’s likely to be worth it. Replacing an older machine with a high efficiency one likely pays for itself over its lifetime.

2. Wash Less Often

A lot of people, including myself, have fallen into the habit of washing something as soon as it’s worn once.  However, if it looks and smells clean, try going a little longer in between washes for garments like pants, jackets, etc. One of the biggest things you can do to minimize your laundry’s impact is to always do a full load. As mentioned earlier, high efficiency washers let you wash fewer loads overall due to their larger size!

white textile on blue plastic laundry basket

3. Use Cold Water!

Hot water is known to be the go-to for most people looking to clean their clothes. The problem is that hot water requires significantly more energy for each load done. For decades, the thought of switching to cold water hasn’t been realistic. Most consumers still believe that cold water washing isn’t as effective and safe as hot water. However, cold water is actually just as safe, and can be just as effective when done correctly.

Luckily, washing machines and detergents are focusing on making cold water washing more feasible. Tide has launched a new campaign focused on decarbonizing laundry and educating people about misconceptions surrounding cold water washes. Their goal is for consumers to switch to cold water for a majority  of their washes by 2030. If the goal is met, Tide says it would have the same impact as removing around a million cars off the road for a whole year.

blue and white rose flower

4. Consider a clothesline

Dryers are second to only refrigerators in household energy use, so doing anything to minimize their run-time is very helpful. Using a clothesline is a guaranteed way to cut that energy consumption to zero. Clotheslines also help your clothes last longer, and the anti-microbial properties of the sun ensure they stay fresh while outside! 

In the winter, you can even hang your clothes inside to try. Just make sure you allow enough ventilation to avoid moisture build up. Sometimes you just need to run the dryer though, and that’s understandable! We recommend always checking your lint screen to keep your dryer running as efficiently as possible, as well as using any eco or moisture sensing features your dryer comes with! 

white and gray floral textile hanged on green leaf tree

5. Avoid the Dry Cleaner

Many dry cleaners use harmful chemicals that research has linked to numerous health problems. The easiest way to avoid them? Avoid clothes that require dry cleaning in the first place! See a “dry clean only” label? Move on to the next item, there are always alternatives that can be normally washed.

Already own clothes that require dry cleaning? That’s fine! Research if there are any “green cleaners” near you. Green cleaners use liquid Co2 to safely and effectively clean your clothes. Many delicate clothing items can also be hand washed or cycled in the “delicate” mode of your washer as well.

cleaners building during night time

These simple tweaks to your laundry routine will help you cut down on energy, water, and money! Making your home as eco-friendly as possible is one of the biggest steps you can take towards living better.

Stay tuned to everything Planet Home for more solutions!