We all love soft, fragrant clothes but do we really have to harm the environment while doing laundry? Here how to wash your clothes sustainably and lighten your load on the planet! #LiveGreen #Lifestyle
“Can washing your laundry ever be an eco-friendly activity?” a friend asked when I told her about this article.
Several litres of water and harmful detergents washing down the drain, poisoning everything they touch—her point was not far off the mark.
Using greywater for laundry is a no no. And not washing clothes is a sin, unless you want to skunk up your office and make your colleagues wear nose plugs.
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Just like everyone, I too wish that my clothes would get magically cleaned and lemony fresh without my having to raise a finger AND not stain the environment in the process.
Where are the elves when you need one? (sigh).
The truth is, the responsibility rests with us to ensure that our laundry doesn’t consume and waste more than it has to. And going eco-love on laundry will stop you from staining the environment and leave your clothes softer and smelling better. So it’s a win-win!
They come in plastic bottles or packets, they have chemicals in them and leave traces of micro-plastic as they slide down the drain. That’s the everyday detergent for you. And they damage your clothes too. Thankfully, there are always alternatives and all you have to do is switch to plant-based detergents that are free of chemicals.
Such chemical-free detergents are softer on your clothes as well as on your skin.
Bucket or full load
Washing clothes by soap and brush saves water and also builds your biceps (let’s assume to make the work more . . . appealing) and if you take up this regime, well you would be saving a lot of water if you don’t run the tap the entire time! I mean, why would anyone?
But if a washing machine is your laundry-buddy, make sure that you wait the load is full. The machines will always use the same quantity of water irrespective of how many clothes you throw in, and a full load will be the eco-friendliest option.
In case there’s a dress emergency when you need it like TOMORROW and the load is not full, just pick up the bucket, build your ehm . . . biceps. Sorted.
Vinegar and Baking Soda
Vinegar works equally well as any detergent and fabric softener. To use it as a detergent, pour about ½ cup of white distilled vinegar into the machine replacing your normal soap. Run the machine as usual.
If you just want to use it as a fabric softener, keep the distilled vinegar ready and wait for the machine to begin its last cycle. Pour it directly into the washer and let the vinegar work its magic.
Baking Soda is a natural deodoriser and cleanser. It can be directly poured into the washing machine when it fills completely with water to help it dissolve. About half a cup works well for a full load of clothes.
And then there are stains that just refuse to go with a simple washing routine. In such cases, pour about a cup of baking soda in about four litres of water, soak your dirty laundry in it overnight and carry out your regular washing routine the next day.
Buy durable eco-friendly clothing
While talking about eco-loving options for cleaning our clothes, why not talk of the clothes themselves? We must realise that our clothes need to be eco-friendly in nature too so they don’t contaminate the environment in any way.
Responsible shopping can give a leg up to responsible laundry. Bamboo clothes are one example of responsible fashion since they take up fewer resources to be manufactured and are just as soft on your skin as any natural material.
In addition to this, taking proactive steps to stop the colours from fading is also necessary. One way to do this is to turn your clothes inside out so while washing even if the colour fades, it fades from the inside. Secondly, go for cold washes instead of hot ones so you protect your clothes and save energy at the same time! High five!
Ain’t no shame in reusing
Back in school, a joke was going around that boys wear and re-wear clothes till they start stinking. “They smell the clothes before wearing them because they don’t wash clothes,” a girl said and the group erupted in laughter. Fond memories. Well, the joke is on them because reusing clothes more than once before washing them is actually an effective method of saving water.
Now, of course, we don’t mean you wear delicates and stinking clothes over and over. But jeans, dupattas and even those shirts that you wore for a couple of hours before changing can do without getting washed.
Now, who doesn’t like a load of laundry that smells good? When your fabric softener gets over this time, don’t be in a hurry to buy a new bottle. Try pouring a little bit of essential oil in the last cycle of the washing load and see how wonderfully it works.
The added bonus is that you don’t have to select from the same 4-5 fragrance options. Rather, you can explore fragrances like lemon, eucalyptus, tea tree etc. My personal favourite is lavender.
Since we can’t really live without having a fresh set of clothes, we can at least think of solutions to make it more sustainable.
You may also like: Saving Every Drop: 6 Easy & Smart Ways to Conserve Water in Your Bathroom!
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)