Doing the laundry is one of those frustrating inevitabilities in life. You need your wardrobe to look (and smell) as fresh as possible, so making laundry a weekly priority is important. Of course, very few people look forward to this task. Sure, it doesn’t take a lot of effort, but it can definitely eat away at your day.
On top of all this, there are a handful of frustrating environmental issues that stem from the way we wash our clothes. Using a washing machine too much can waste water and energy (1), while certain cleaning products contain agents that can be hazardous to human, animal and plant life (2). Luckily, you can keep your clothes fresh without destroying the planet by taking a few additional eco-friendly steps when going about your routine.
Hand-Wash Your Clothing
The best way to get started is by limiting how much you use your washing machine. Opting to hand-wash your clothing can be a fantastic way to conserve both energy and water. Now, the difficult part of hand-washing your clothing is you need to make time for the task. You will no longer be able to toss your clothes in the machine and go off to focus on another task. Hand-washing requires your full attention and a bit more room in your day.
That said, making space for the activity in your weekly schedule can make you feel more accomplished. To get started, all you need to do is find a large plastic bucket for washing and wringing out each article of clothing. Next, look at tools like a laundry plunger (3) to make the cleaning task easier and a laundry wringer to aid in the drying process. Hand-washing with a plunger has been noted to be effective and requires only a bit more effort than plunging a toilet. You’ll get a little workout for your arms and have some clean laundry in under 15 minutes.
Try Drying Alternatives
You’re already learning how to wash your clothes by hand, why not take things to the next level? Instead of hand-washing and throwing your clothes right into your dryer, you might find it more beneficial to explore some alternatives. Limiting dryer usage can be helpful when you’re conserving energy, but there are a handful of drawbacks to this. For one, it will take more than a day for damp clothing to dry without machine aid. You can speed this process up a bit on a warm, sunny day by utilizing an outdoor laundry line (4).
As mentioned above, the best way to ensure dry clothing in the fastest manner is by thoroughly wringing out each piece of clothing. Doing this action by hand is incredibly straining to your wrists and it requires much more effort than hand-washing. Use a wringer or similar device and you can limit your energy consumption without developing wrist problems in the process.
Use Better Cleaning Products
To get your clothes truly clean while hand-washing, you have to use the right products. Since a number of detergents and bleaches are terrible for the environment, you want to opt for green alternatives. In recent years, a number of new products have appeared on the market promising to deliver options that are less harmful to the planet. With so many different products out there promising the same thing, you might find yourself wondering if everyone is being honest.
Governmental regulations on what qualifies as a “green” cleaning product do not exactly exist. Still, you can consult helpful resources put out by the EPA to become a more informed shopper and avoid using products that contain hazardous chemicals (5). While most brands that make eco-friendly promises are being on the level, it is best to verify the claims on your own to know you’re making the best choice.
Making these slight adjustments to your routine can provide you with a sense of pride that your effort is helping to keep the world as fresh as your hand-washed clothing.