Sustainable, Healthy & Organic Laundry Guide
I grew up tossing clothes in the dirty laundry basket if I wore them for an hour. Something about being three floors and 1/2 a mile walk from the laundry during university inspired me to rewear my jeans a couple times before throwing them in the dirty clothes. As I discovered that went well, I began to consider whether all my clothing items were truly dirty before washing them. Underwear always get washed. Bras, not so much. Pants, pullovers and shirts don't get washed until they feel or look dirty... sometimes I may get 14 days of wear out of a piece before I feel it needs washed. And no, I don't look or smell dirty. Though it is worth noting, this would not apply to low-quality clothing. Plastic fabrics (i.e. polyester, rayon, nylon, etc.) show and feel dirty much sooner than quality, natural fabrics. I also find that the higher quality my natural fibers are, the longer they can go between washings.
Cold water is sufficient for most all washes! Unless your clothing is covered in oil, warm water is not really going to be much different than cold water. Did you know that the majority of energy in the average load of laundry goes towards heating the water? Not necessary so skip it. The earth thanks you.
Use Green Laundry Detergent
Personally. I'm a soap nut convert. Simple, affordable, compostable and 100% a plant. Our stockist Housework store sells soap nuts. If you're not ready to make the leap to soap nuts, I use to just use a bit of Dr. Bronners Unscented which is highly concentrated and biodegradable. You can often find it in bulk at zero waste stores or your co-op.
I'd steer clear of chemical stain removers. In fact, the only Barcelona Pullover I've ever heard was "ruined" was because somebody has used a standard chemical stain remover on a stain, forgotten about it and then created an even bigger permanently chemically bleached stain. When I spill something on my clothes, I usually just quickly search, "natural way to remove ______ stain," and so far, so good! Did you know hydrogen peroxide removes blood? And sparkling water is effective on coffee & wine? It's important to wash anything stained with cold water because warm water is more likely to set the stains.
It's more romantic anyways. I grew up drying clothes on the line but it's a bit more challenging now. The average drier emits over a ton of carbon dioxide a year. The sun will get your clothing just as dry, and you'll benefit from solar cleansing too. All you need is a piece of cotton rope and a few wooden clothespins which can be found at most any local hardware store. I don't recommend hanging wet clothes inside because it creates too much humidity which can breed mold. So if it's raining, maybe wait to do laundry or be aware of how to maximize your drier when you need it by keeping the lint filter clean and using your moisture sensor if you have one.
I'm no laundry machine expert, but for myself, I chose to get a Splendide in large part because my home is a sailboat. But it's a great washing machine and by necessitating only one machine be manufactured, you're saving the carbon footprint of manufacturing an entire machine! It can't wash as many clothes as your standard american washing machine, but since we're wearing your clothes so often before washing, it's plenty big enough for 2-4 people. If you need to do more laundry than that, it may still be worth searching out a machine that washes and dries in one — or just skipping the drier all together if you're in a climate where you can hang dry year round!