Though it may seem like a basic chore, doing the laundry has a bigger impact on our earth than you may think. Much of our clothing’s life cycle impact comes from washing and drying since it takes so much energy to heat the wash water and run the dry cycle. This is why greening your laundry routine has the potential to greatly reduce your personal energy and water use, and therefore your environmental impact.
According to Energy Star, the average household does almost 400 loads of laundry each year, consuming about 13,500 gallons of water. Switching to an Energy Star front-loading machine can save as much as 7,000 gallons of water per year. An energy efficient washer can also save you $370 in operating costs over its lifetime.
By skipping the dryer (even if it’s only part of the time) you can save even more money. Dryers are only second to refrigerators when it comes to household energy consumption, costing the average household more $96 per year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Try using a clothing line or drying rack to save on utility bills.
These are just a few examples of ways to make your laundry more eco-friendly. Doing so is better for your wallet, wardrobe, and planet. Read on for more tips.
- Wear it more than once: Reduce your laundry load by rewearing clothing.While some articles of clothing should be washed daily, there are some that do not like jackets and jeans.
- Use cold water: About 90% of the energy used by a washing machine goes towards heating the water. Using cold water to wash some of your clothes eliminates this energy.
- Choose a reliable laundry detergent: There are many detergents on the market so be sure to research the ingredients in yours to understand how it is affecting the planet.
- Reusable dryer balls: Instead of single-use fabric softener sheets, opt for reusable ones. They work just as well and can reduce waste.
- Don’t iron if you don’t have to: Not only is ironing a tedious task, it also requires energy and deteriorates fabric, shortening the lifeline of your clothing. Many fabrics can go without ironing, but if you do need to use the iron, try ironing all your items in one sitting to reduce the amount of times the iron has to heat up.
Written by Emily Su, Class of 2022