Everyone knows laundry never freaking ends with kids. Never. I’m either staring at the laundry bin with fear, throwing a load in and promptly forgetting about it, hoping the dryer can get out the new must smell, or staring at the dried clothes thrown all over the house wondering whose going to put them away. The idea of having more children terrifies mostly because I think of all the additional laundry that will be required.
The average household does 400 loads of laundry a year…. (it does feel like I do that much in a month though). Think of how much water goes into the washing of all those clothes? All the chemicals put onto the fabric you then wrap your kids in, the plastic that’s required to package the detergent, and all the other unseen costs of shipping, manufacturing, and energy. I’ve read between 75 – 80% of our clothing’s lifecycle impact comes from washing and drying, according to reports by Proctor, because it takes so much energy to heat the wash water and run the dry cycle.
So I rounded up some quick laundry tips to keep your cycles green, you a bit saner, and the earth a bit happier.
- Wash Less. I mean, call it laziness or me being “earth friendly” but I re-wear my workout clothes twice, and make the kids wear their pjs 2-3 nights before throwing them in the laundry. If something gets really gross, different story, but for the most part, we aren’t running in mud and my workout clothes can withstand a bit of sweat. (If yours can’t – stay tuned – talking about that later!) Save yourself some time and grief and just wash your clothes less – they’ll last longer too!
- Wash on COLD. Maybe this is a given, but in the United States, 49% of laundry loads run with warm water, 14% with hot, and only 37% use cold water. But 34 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions would be saved if every household in the United States used only cold water for washing clothes. Cold preserves the color better & keeps clothes lasting longer. By using cold water, you will personally reduce your carbon dioxide footprint by 350 pounds a year, or 0.05 percent. Source.
- Purchase Dropps. This might sound like an ad, but it’s not, I just really think they’re that great. It’s completely clean detergent (EPA approved), manufactured in the US, shipped directly to your door in eco-friendly packaging. No plastic, no chemicals, no middle man – so cheaper and better all around. It’s also on auto-refill, so I pre-selected my frequency, scent, etc. and it ships right to my door without me having to think about it. I haven’t run out of detergent since i started about 6mos. ago. Note, it’s a cold water detergent!
- Switch Washers. According to Treehugger, “Switching to an Energy Star-qualified front-loading (or “horizontal axis”) machine can save as much as 7,000 gallons of water per year. Over the approximately 11-year life of a washer, that’s enough water to fill up three backyard swimming pools or provide a lifetime of drinking water for six people! An Energy Star-qualified clothes washer can also save you $550 in operating costs over its lifetime.” If you don’t have a front loader – just make sure it’s at least Energy Star certified!
- Air Dry. I mean, my husband might be the pickiest laundry person I’ve ever met, but we’ve always air dried most of our clothes. It’s annoying as hell because clothes are littered all over the house, but it doesn’t shrink the clothes and it’s better for mama Earth. You don’t have to air dry everything, but the more the better. Plus, because dryers account for 6% of your energy usage — you can save some $$ on your energy bill!
On average how many loads do you do a week? Is it just me, or does it all just never end?