Fresh clean towels, a closet full of clothes to wear, an empty hamper – the effects of doing laundry are so satisfying yet it’s still so tempting to procrastinate.
Doing laundry takes up our time, and it also takes a lot of resources: water, electricity, and physical materials. Save on resources and money by making your laundry routine sustainable.
Laundry costs also add up over the course of a month, year, or dare I say lifetime. It may seem like an inevitable expense, but there are huge opportunities to cut costs around your laundry routine.
In this case (and many cases), saving money also means reducing waste. With these tips, you will reduce your home’s footprint, save money, and have fewer chemicals in your home.
1. Use machine-washable kitchen items instead of disposable
If you look around the kitchen, you’ll see a lot of items that could be machine washable but instead are produced as disposable.
You cut waste and money by making these machine-washable swaps:
- Paper towels 🠆 washable kitchen cloths
- better in every way: more absorbent, durable, handle messes better
- Disposable dish sponges 🠆 microfiber scrubber sponges
- more durable and effective at cleaning
- Plastic cleaning product bottles 🠆 E-cloth
- you can clean your whole home with specially-designed cloths and water, skipping the chemicals and bottles altogether. The cloths are machine washable
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A load of my kitchen laundry
I dive deeper into reusable kitchen swaps in my blog post The Complete Guide To Going Paperless In the Kitchen.
2. Stop using liquid laundry detergent
When you buy liquid detergent, you’re paying for more water than product.
They’re also made with chemicals, unless you spring for for hypoallergenic or natural products, which always seems to cost more. That still leaves the problem of the plastic bottles.
You can save money and waste less by making your own laundry detergent from scratch or buying a more sustainable laundry product.
Homemade Laundry Detergent
My favorite homemade laundry detergent recipe is from blogger Bren Did. I made this for years, and was so impressed with how well it worked. She did the math and this recipe boils down to about $0.06 a load.
After moving to the Netherlands in 2018, it became too big of a project to try to track down the right ingredients in Dutch, so I started buying laundry soap once again.
Sustainable Laundry Detergent
Now, I use (and love – review coming soon!) the Eco Egg. It’s a refillable laundry pod that checks all of my boxes:
- cost efficient
- natural and hypoallergenic
- small footprint
You throw the whole Eco Egg in the washer each time – no measuring or pouring. The egg is filled with mineral pellets which dissolve as water flows in through the gaps. Only the amount of soap that you need is used, and there’s no disposable packaging.
The initial egg is $17.99 and is advertised to last for 210 loads, boiling down to about $0.09 a load. When the pellets are getting low, you can buy refills for a lower cost than the initial egg, saving you additional money in the long run.
3. While you’re at it, skip the dryer sheets too
If you’re someone who loves the fake smell of flowers, then you may not be persuaded here but hear me out: clothes don’t need to smell like anything to be clean.
If you really think about it, “clean” clothes wouldn’t smell like anything. Softeners and dryer sheets make your clothes smell like something, but they don’t make them cleaner.
For extra help removing odors, substitute fabric softeners with vinegar. It helps remove odors and bacteria, is all natural, and has no odor when dried. Cutting out dryer sheets transitions well into idea number four.
4. Omit the dryer altogether to save on energy usage and extend the life of clothes
Cutting the dryer out of the laundry equation saves money on electricity and dryer sheets, and also extends the life of your clothes. Machine drying clothes risks shrinking, and wears down the elasticity.
If you don’t have room for a clothesline outside, here are two great indoors options that accommodate a small space.
In live in an apartment small enough to be considered a “tiny home,” and a collapsible drying rack has made life easier. The radiator is also a great spot for drying, even in the summer when it’s not turned on.
If you’re set on using the machine dryer, an all-natural solution you should consider using wool dryer balls. They absorb water, reduce lint and wrinkles and say they cut down on overall dryer time by 25 percent.
5. Only wash with hot water when necessary
Cold water requires less energy, and also helps get certain stains out better and reduces color fading.
6. Have fewer items to wash
Imagine having half as many items to wash each week: you would cut your energy, water and detergent costs in half (not to mention the time spent doing laundry, too).
You can achieve this by creating a capsule wardrobe: a well-organized wardrobe, with fewer pieces but intentionally picked to simplify your life and and whittle down to only what you love.
How do you make your laundry routine sustainable? I hope this helps you in making a sustainable laundry routine.
Hello, friend! I’m Kayla. I help people shrink their footprint on the Earth and find freedom in owning less. On Writing From Nowhere, I share ideas on living more intentionally and sustainably.