It’s time doing laundry came clean. The laundry room is yet another place in our homes where it’s important to be mindful of our choices—and how our routines may be affecting the environment. According to Procter & Gamble, the equivalent of 1,100 loads of laundry are started every second, every day in the US alone! Endless piles of clothes, expensive detergents full of synthetic chemicals, huge electricity and water consumptions—unfortunately, there’s very little to look forward to come laundry time… Thankfully, we have a few resource- and money-saving laundry tips to help you take down the Laundry Day Monster—all while reducing waste and avoiding harmful chemicals along the way.
1. Ditch disposable dryer sheets Scary and synthetic from start to finish (not to mention single-use!), conventional dryer sheets are essentially a polyester sheet that’s been covered in chemicals, including fragrance ingredients and volatile organic compounds—even carcinogens. Here’s a very small sample (compiled by EcoWatch and Women’s Voices for the Earth) of what you might find in your average scented dryer sheet:
• Butane: used for blending different types of gasoline and burns to form carbon dioxide
• Acetone: commonly used in the production of bisphenol-A (BPA)
• Limonene: emits a lemon-orange fragrance and used as an alternative to turpentine and paint strippers
Not only do these chemicals end up coating your clothes and clogging your dryer’s lint screen, they’re also emitted from dryer vents into your home and the outdoors—which can cause skin and respiratory irritation and even disrupt the nervous system.
2. Give wool dryer balls a spin
Luckily, there’s a way to soften and help your clothes dry while also passing on the synthetic chemicals—wool dryer balls! These reusable alternatives lift and separate clothes, which allows more air to circulate, reduces static cling and cuts drying time down by up to 25%. You’ll reduce waste and electricity expenses from your dryer—and you’ll never have to buy another box of disposable dryer sheets. Check out a few of our favorite wool dryer balls and other dryer sheet alternatives. And, when things get really smelly, the unique and innovative designs even allow you to add all-natural fragrances to your dryer balls, too.
3. Load up on sustainable soap
Unfortunately, just like conventional dryer sheets—and so many other consumer products these days—detergents and liquid softeners can also include a number of similarly icky synthetic chemicals that should just never come into contact with your body or your home. When shopping, choose an unscented detergent, and, as always, read your labels. We’re really big fans of Eco Nuts’ Natural Laundry Soap because it’s the essence of eco-friendly living—from the plastic-free container to its contents. The soap can be used effectively in any water temperature (energy-saving cold, please!), and it contains no dyes, artificial foaming agents, fragrances, fillers, enzymes, optical brighteners, SLS (sodium laurel sulfates) or phosphates. Plus, it’s 100% biodegradable, which makes it easy on septic systems, and the berry-like fruit used to make the all-natural soap is organically grown and wild-harvested—without chemicals, fertilizers or pesticides. We particularly recommend Eco Nuts for those with sensitive skin and for sustainably washing cloth diapers.
4. More soap DOES NOT mean cleaner clothes According to the Wall Street Journal and Method Products Inc., 53% of laundry-doers don’t use the recommended amount of detergent per washing cycle. Not only is this a colossal waste of the hard-earned dollars you used to buy that detergent—over-dosing your detergent in laundry loads can also lead to other nasty side effects, like leaving a residue on clothes that will actually attract more dirt, as well as causing odors, leaking and generally just more wear and tear on your washing machine. Don’t guess-timate—if you choose to just fill up the detergent bottle cap and dump it in, you’ll be wasting over half the loads you could wash with that one bottle of soap. Instead, use the printed lines on detergent bottle caps and included scoops to be sure you’re using the recommended amount of soap for each and every load. Since laundry is one of those tasks that just never seems to end (the average household does 600 loads of wash a year!), you’ll be able to make a BIG difference in reducing waste and adopting a more sustainable lifestyle with these simple steps. For more ideas, be sure to explore our planet-loving, grime-hating selection of green cleaning items.
Sources: http://www.womensvoices.org/2013/04/04/ditch-the-dryer-sheets/ http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748703808904575025021214910714 http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2013/04/how-to-avoid-detergent-overdose.html