Everyone likes their clothes fresh and clean. However, some people still don’t know that the things they do to get freshly laundered clothing can harm the planet in the long run.
Fortunately, public awareness about the environmental effects of laundering is improving. In fact, how well service providers clean clothes and the laundry price list in Dubai are no longer the only things that matter to people nowadays.
You can also take part in the green movement. Even the slightest adjustment to your laundry methods could go a long way in reducing your carbon footprint and helping to create a healthier planet.
If you have no clue how, here are seven eco-friendly laundry hacks you can try:
Invest in a water- and energy-efficient washing machine.
Globally, washing machines use as much as 19 billion cubic meters of water every year. They also emit about 62 million tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent greenhouse gases within that period.
The good news is that newer models have become significantly efficient in their water and energy use.
To make sure your machine is indeed helping the planet, ask yourself the following questions when buying one:
What is the machine’s energy efficiency factor?
Fully automatic washing machines tend to be more energy-efficient than analog ones. However, you’ll still need to ask for the unit’s actual energy efficiency factor before closing the deal. The higher the EEF, the more energy-efficient the appliances are.
How much water does it use in total?
Water efficiency is determined by the washer’s total water consumption, both hot and cold, for every pound of laundry. Most water-efficient machines use an average of 10 gallons of water, which is roughly 75 percent less than older models.
Is it gentle on clothes?
How well the machine handles your laundry affects the clothes’ longevity. And the longer you can use your clothes, the less fabric is thrown into the landfills and you can also reset your thermostat.
Is it durable?
The unit itself also needs to last long to extend the gap between new washing machine purchases. This also lessens electronic waste that goes into the landfills, not to mention the carbon footprint of manufacturing them.
Turn off the heat as much as possible.
As much as possible, turn off the hot cycle in your washing machine as it accounts for 90 percent of the total energy used for a single load. Some models have this turned on by default, but you can always switch it off before every wash.
Of course, using cold water may not always be possible. Some pieces made from nylon and spandex come with cleaning recommendations that involve warm water. Follow the washing instructions set for your clothes, especially those made from these kinds of materials.
The hot cycle also eliminates germs in the clothing more thoroughly than cool water. This is particularly useful for households where someone is sick or works in places where they get exposed to bacteria and viruses frequently (e.g., hospitals or doctor’s clinics).
So, unless you use germ-busting detergent, don’t skip the hot cycle.
Remember to wash these warm-water-only pieces separately, so your regular load could still be washed in cold water for energy efficiency.
Buy only environment-friendly detergents.
When it comes to eco-friendly washing, making smart choices of models and washing machine settings only does half the job. The cleaning products you use make up the rest.
To help save the planet, buy only environment-friendly detergents. These should not include harsh substances like:
- Phosphates: These substances can cause eutrophication or a decrease in dissolved oxygen levels from the excessive growth of algae and large aquatic plants.
- Dyes: Dyes absorb or reflect light from entering bodies of water. This diminishes algae growth, leading to an imbalance in the ecosystem.
- Chlorine: Though chlorine doesn’t harm the environment initially, it can combine quickly with other particles and become water-polluting chemicals like dioxins.
- Cellulase: This harsh enzyme degrades cellulose that maintains the stability in the cell walls of plants.
Besides its contents, the detergent’s packaging also matters. Most environmentalists recommend powder detergents that come in biodegradable cardboard boxes.
But even if liquid detergents are sometimes frowned upon because of their plastic bottle containers, you can still choose them as long as you know how to dispose of them properly. Take advantage of free recycling in Dubai for these products.
Skip the dryer as much as possible.
Machine dryers are very convenient to use, especially during rainy days. However, this particular washing machine feature is another energy hog.
Unless it’s an absolute emergency, stick to air-drying to keep your laundry eco-friendly. Use a retractable clothesline and maximize your surroundings.
You can also skip the dryer and still get properly dried clothing with the help of dryer balls. These reusable spheres of wool help absorb the moisture, making it possible to dry your laundry well enough even when the machine is at the lowest setting.
(Read item no. 8 for more benefits of dryer balls.)
Don’t run the machine below a full load.
Besides the apparent benefit of conserving electricity, running your washing machine on full load every time you do the laundry reduces your detergent and water use.
Whether you have a full-sized traditional washing machine or an energy-efficient washer, you’re bound to use as much as 25 water gallons per cycle. If you put as many items as your washer can handle for one full load, you can reduce the number of cycles necessary for all your laundry.
Keep your detergent usage to a minimum.
Some detergents are labeled eco-friendly, but it would still be best to use as few products as possible without compromising your clothes’ cleanliness. The rule of thumb is to always heed the manufacturer’s instructions, especially in the amount used for every load.
Skip the fabric softener and chlorine bleach.
While they leave your clothes fragrant and soft, fabric softeners aren’t quite as friendly to the environment as they are to fabric. The same goes for chlorine bleach.
Both products contain chemicals that contribute to the worsening pollution on the planet.
Fortunately, there are several eco-friendly alternatives you can try:
- Instead of fabric softeners, use dryer balls on your final rinse. Besides absorbing excess water, these nifty wool spheres also soften clothes and lessen the wrinkles on them. This means you can reduce your fabric softener usage and the need for ironing (which also uses precious electricity).
You can also use a few drops of vinegar as a softening agent.
- For bleaching, switch to oxygen bleach to get rid of stains. This is as effective as chlorine, but without contributing to pollution since it naturally breaks down in the air instead of being emitted into the atmosphere.
Do Laundry the Eco-Friendly Way
Keeping your clothes soft, fresh, and clean is possible without causing harm to the environment. Follow the hacks listed here to do your laundry the eco-friendly way.
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