If you want to handle your clothes in a more sustainable and ethical way, you have a range of options of how you can do that. You can, for example, buy less clothes, only buy from ethical and sustainable brands or follow the steps from my e-book.
But perhaps the easiest way to deal with your clothes more sustainably is by washing them differently. Washing clothes is actually very damaging to the environment. Apart from the fact that it uses a lot of water, CO2 emissions and the energy consumption of laundry are enormous. In addition, regular washing also contributes to your clothes wearing and tearing earlier. Therefore, It can pay off to examine the way you wash your clothes. How you can do your laundry sustainably, I am gonna tell you in this article.
1. Wash less often
It might be stating the obvious, but the number 1 tip to wash your clothes more sustainably is by washing less. The washing process is the most polluting and environmentally damaging.
Of course, nobody wants you to be smelly, but it is really not always necessary to wash your clothes after wearing them once. Nevertheless, this does often happen. Jeans, pants, skirts, and bras can be worn more than once. Aluminum-free deodorants ensure that you can wear shirts and sweaters more than once. Small spots can also be cleaned with a cloth and some soap.
If your clothes do not smell fresh, they do not have to be washed right away. Most of the smells can also be removed from your clothes by airing them out for an open window or “steaming” them while showering. If a night airing out or steaming has not helped, you can always decide to throw it in the laundry.
Washing less often does not only ensures that you use less water and energy, but you also lengthen the lifespan of your clothes. And yes, you guessed it, that is also very sustainable.
2. Use an environmentally friendly detergent
Every time you use detergent with your laundry load, it ends up in the environment. Therefore, choose to use a natural and environmentally friendly detergent. These do not contain toxins. I like to use detergent from the sustainable brand Seepje. They make detergent from peels of the Sapindus mukorossi tree that is common in Nepal. In this way, my detergent is completely natural and as environmentally friendly as possible.
3. Wash cold(er)
It is often falsely thought that you need to wash your laundry at a high temperature in order to get it clean. This is nonsense. Even with cold temperatures such as 30 or even 15 degrees Celsius, your laundry can be just as clean as when you wash it at 40 or 60 degrees. This also makes a huge difference in energy consumption. That is not only great for the environment, but also for your wallet!
4. Hang your laundry
A clothes dryer may sound easy and attractive, but it is not very environmentally friendly. This also uses extra energy and creates extra CO2 emissions. It’s actually a shame because your laundry can perfectly dry hang! In addition, the clothes dryer also ensures that your clothes wear out faster. So, sell your dryer today and make your clothes last!
5. Iron only when it is really necessary
When I was growing up, Sunday was ironing day. And really every single thing got ironed: towels, underpants, socks. Quite bizarre. Most garments do not have to be ironed. Especially if you hang your clothes properly while drying (extra reason to do away with the tumble dryer), you will prevent ironing in most cases. Furthermore, when buying new clothes, pay attention to the materials. Do not buy materials that wrinkle easily. That saves a lot of time and energy!