Washing Clothes Sustainably

Yesterday I spoke about drying clothes – but what about washing them? Do we really need to use harmful chemicals to get our clothes clean? The answer is an emphatic no! We can adopt a natural and sustainable laundry routine.

One of the ways that you can be more sustainable in your home is to think carefully about your laundry routine. Making the right choices when it comes to how you wash your clothes can help you to become more eco-friendly. It can help you withdraw your support for damaging systems and move closer to a zero waste way of life.

One of the very first things to think about when it comes to zero waste laundry is how often you launder your clothes in the first place. In order to avoid wasting water and energy, it is important not to wash too often. Make sure you only wash clothes/ bedding etc when they really do need it, and not necessarily automatically after you have worn items for only one day. 

Many people are guilty of washing clothes and other textiles far too often. Remember, this won’t only waste water and energy. It also increases wear and tear on your fabrics and can often mean that they won’t last quite as long. 

But perhaps the best way of all to move closer to a zero waste lifestyle is to move away from commercial laundry detergents altogether. We have been tricked by commercial advertisements and a consumerist mindset into thinking that we need to buy a whole bunch of expensive and polluting products to clean our clothes effectively. But this is not true at all. Most households should, with a little effort, find it easy to move away entirely from commercial products and get back to basics. Natural ingredients are all you need to wash clothes.

For example, you can:

  • Use a simple Castile soap solution. (Perhaps with the addition of some essential oils.)
  • Choose soap nuts to wash your clothes.
  • Use Soapwort (Saponaria officinalis) or other plants high in saponins. Saponins create a lather in water can can be used as a surfactant in place of modern soaps and detergents.

If you would like more tips to establish a sustainable laundry routine, please do get in touch.

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