In a year, washing and drying a 5 kg load of clothes every two days emits almost 440 kg of carbon dioxide. The dryer consumes the majority of that energy.
Washing with hot water also has a carbon cost that rises rapidly with the machine’s age. It will require more energy to run if it is not in pristine condition all of the time.
Clogging, or failing to clean out a washer or dryer regularly means having to run it more often and at higher temperatures. This increases the energy output.
Toxic Laundry Detergent
When you do a load of laundry, plastic fibres and hazardous colours are just a few of the contaminants that end up in our sewage system.
Another hazard is chlorine bleach and harsh detergent chemicals.
These chemicals can create chemical reactions in your body, such as skin irritation and asthma, in addition to getting into your groundwater and affecting nearby plant life.
How can we help?
We would have to buy additional clothes if we didn’t wash and take care of our clothes. One of the largest carbon footprints on the globe is that of the garments industry.
There are, however, other more environmentally friendly ways to wash your garments that will allow you to get more wear out of them while also benefiting the earth.
Wear It More Than Once
The best way to reduce the environmental impact of your laundry load is to do less laundry. If possible, wear clothes two or three times before washing them.
Instead of throwing stains in the wash with harsh bleach, treat them by hand with vinegar and hot water.
Begin at home to reduce air pollution in your surroundings. We’ve already discussed how your dryers release fibres into the air as well as through your sewage system.
Using an air purifier in your laundry room achieves numerous things. For starters, it protects against the damp that causes mould.
Second, it can reduce the CO2 increase in the air caused by the washer and dryer.
Finally, it may help to protect against airborne fibres as well as any toxins released by heavily scented detergents.
Use Natural Detergent
Whether this is getting into your water sources or the packaging, manufacturing, and shipping of laundry soap, the detergent you use has a significant environmental impact.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are many organic laundry detergents available that are better for your skin and your loved ones and the environment.
Cold Water Wash
It is correct that the dryer accounts for the vast majority of your laundry energy costs. However, heating the water accounts for 90% of the energy used in your wash cycle.
Cold water is gentle on your clothes and conserves energy.
If you’re concerned about stain removal, try pretreating clothes with a stain remover before tossing them in the wash instead of using hot water.
Hanging Clothes To Dry
Your dryer is estimated to generate more than a tonne of carbon dioxide per year. You can easily avoid all of that waste by not using the dryer at all.
When possible, hang your clothes to dry. It may take longer, but it is far more environmentally friendly in more ways than one.
You save energy by not using the dryer, and your clothes will last longer because of the gentler drying cycle outside.
This means that they will be thrown out less frequently. It’s better for your bank account and the environment!
If you are unable to hang your clothes to dry outside, purchase an indoor airer or drying rack. You can hang it next to the radiator to dry your clothes overnight.
The Guppyfriend™ Washing Bag protects synthetic garments and reduces the number of microfibres that get flushed through washing machines. Guppyfriend states that the single compartment bag is made from 100% polyamide and can be fully recycled. This would collect as many
microfibres as possible allowing your machine to not get clogged up and not letting as many microfibres out, ultimately reducing your carbon footprint.
Clothing production, cleaning, and disposal have a significant environmental impact.
Toxins in dyes and synthetic fibres that end up in our water systems and the air, to the energy consumption and water waste caused by doing laundry twice a week.
But there are ways to reduce all of it.
Choosing natural materials that are safe for the environment, hanging your clothes to dry, and washing in cold water are just the beginning.
Following these guidelines will keep your laundry green, your clothes lasting longer, and your family healthy.