friendly laundry habits add up to a significantly reduced environmental impact, but it’ll mean cost savings and less wear and tear to your garments, which makes them last longer.
Curbed spoke with a few sustainable laundry experts to get their advice for taking up a new routine that uses less energy and fewer harmful ingredients.
Wash your clothes less often
“Our belief that we need to wash clothes after every wear is largely influenced by the companies that sell laundry products,” says Julia Watkins, author of the forthcoming book Simply Living Well. Unless they’re stained or stinky, most clothes can be worn several times before they need to be washed. This will also make your clothes last longer, as laundering wears clothes out.
Use less detergent
If you use just what you need, you’ll waste fewer resources, but most people are using more detergent than they need to—and detergent manufacturers don’t help by making the dosing cup much larger than the quantity needed and making the lines nearly impossible to read. Try marking your cup with a Sharpie so the line is easier to read. If you can see more than a little bit of suds in your machine, you are using too much!
Finish what you’ve got
First, know that using up whatever supplies you currently own is the greenest choice, so that the energy to manufacture and distribute it don’t go to waste. If you don’t like something you have, try to give it (when it’s safe to do so) to someone who will use it: a friend, neighbor, or perhaps somebody in a local Buy Nothing group.