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Stewardship

Laundry Day: Make it Sustainable

Linens hanging out to dry in the garden
Annie Spratt

I would be lying if I told you that I disliked doing laundry, so a whole day about it has me tumble-ing. Maybe it’s because I have loads of sustainable laundry tips and tricks that I am excited to share!

I think we can all agree there’s something about looking over to the corner of the bedroom and seeing an empty laundry basket, it brings a lot of satisfaction. Maybe because that means you can just hang-out for the rest of the day. And if you don’t think I am funny yet, you may just need a dryer sense of humor! 

All kidding aside, practicing better stewardship within our regular routines is an important step in each doing our small part to care for creation. Smart shopping and some creative ideas is an opportunity to test out more sustainable products and start conversations with your little laundry helpers about how to integrate earth-friendly practices into daily life. 

To help improve your laundry routine in one easy step, the Root & Vine team has pulled together some easy, practical, and sustainable products and tips. 

Take a look!

All About Detergents 

First and foremost, use the products that you already have to keep things as earth friendly as possible, so that the time, energy, and money that was used to make the product does not go to waste. If you have a product that doesn’t work for you, consider giving it to a friend or family member. 

Next pick an eco-friendly detergent that fits your lifestyle. Just because a product is marketed as good for the earth doesn’t necessarily mean it is. If you want to avoid plastic, opt for powdered detergent. It is often packaged in cardboard that can be recycled. Another newer detergent alternative that you may want to try is detergent sheets. The product uses a lot less packaging and product than traditional detergents. If you can’t seem to shy away from liquid detergent, try buying bigger jugs. You get more product volume, for less plastic used. If you are lucky enough to live by a sustainable refill store that’s a great option too! Just take your old containers and refill them. 

Lastly, adjust how much detergent you are using. Most manufacturers make the measuring cup a lot larger than it needs to be. If you can see just a little bit of suds in your washer you are using enough!

Cold vs. Hot Water 

Image: Raychan

According to The Project Drawdown, “Hot water for showers, laundry, and washing dishes consumes a quarter of residential energy use worldwide.” 

So, is it necessary to use hot water when washing garments? The answer is no. With modern improvements to washers and detergents, over the last decade, it is no longer necessary to use hot water to remove germs and dirt from fabrics. 

Goodbye Fabric Softener and Dryer Sheets! 

The truth is, fabric softeners and dryer sheets do what they say. They make your clothes smell better, feel softer, and appear less wrinkly. These things are all great, however with positives also come negatives. Using dryer sheets and fabric softeners add to the amount of waste on the planet. 

Try these more sustainable options instead; opt for wool dryer balls. Wool dryer balls will reduce static cling as well as speed up your drying time, win win! Pro tip…Try adding a few drops of your favorite essential oils to the balls before popping them in the dryer for a nice scent. Another popular way to soften clothes is by adding a splash of vinegar to your wash cycle. Vinegar helps soften fabrics and works to eliminate odors in your laundry. Don’t worry, your clothes won’t smell like you just left an Easter egg dying party! 

 Hanging Clothes to Dry 

Next time you throw in a load of laundry try hanging items out to dry. With the weather getting warmer, hang some on a line outside. I’m not able to hang my clothes outside where I live, so I use a clothes drying rack, which works great for me! Another pocket friendly option is using some clothes hangers and hanging them around your living space. It’s great for the environment, and even better for your electric bill! 

If you aren’t feeling like you can commit to fully air drying all your linens try a hybrid approach. Throw your garments in the dryer for about 10 minutes, and hang them to dry for the rest of the time. It can really make a difference! 

We all know that doing laundry by hand — or at least hanging it out to dry is probably the most friendly to the environment.  But hey, we’re also realistic, and know that taking a few steps is also good even if we can’t do that.