Plus, how to minimize your laundry's impact without buying a thing
Let's talk about my least favorite household chore: laundry. The average American household does about 300 loads per year. Laundry can dump a lot of bad stuff into our waterways, like chemicals from detergents, microplastics shed by clothing, and trash from laundry-related products. There are the greenhouse gas emissions from the energy we use running the machines. Frequent washing and drying also makes clothing break down faster and indirectly creates more textile waste. Getting stuff clean has a big impact.
For me, the only thing that could make laundry any more burdensome would be adding guilt to the process. So, I switched to Earth-friendly products a while ago. Recently, I’ve done a lot more digging to create a great list of items as well as easy-to-implement tips to help you green your wash-day routine.
Tips for Washing
- Is the item really dirty or stinky? Not everything needs to be washed after each wearing.
- Ditch liquid detergent in big plastic bottles. Instead, try laundry strips, plastic-free pods, or concentrates.
- Use cold water. You’ll have clean clothes and a lower energy bill.
- Tap white vinegar, lemons, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda to whiten clothes instead of detergents with non-biodegradable optical brighteners.
- Reduce your microplastic pollution (created when you wash synthetic fibers) with a laundry ball, laundry bag, or laundry filter.
Tips for Drying
- Use a drying rack or line-dry your clothes.
- Sub charming reusable wool dryer balls for dryer sheets.
- Dry your clothes on the low-heat setting.
- Turn on your dryer’s sensor so that it stops running once your clothes dry.
- Clean the lint trap after every load to boost your dryer’s efficiency.
- If your load contained only natural fabrics, compost your lint.
And of course, if the machines themselves are at the end of their lives (and you’ve already considered repairs), upgrade to EnergyStar appliances. Get more details on our favorite items below, and happy shopping!
–Elizabeth Weinstein, Marketplace Editor
The Cora Ball is the easiest to use of all the microplastic filters. Leave it in your machine to reduce microplastic pollution by about a third. Save 15% with code BLUEDOT.
Friendsheep Wool Dryer Balls and Home Goods
Friendsheep has elevated dryer balls to an art. We love the beautiful colors and patterns, as well as their decor and pet toys. Save 10% with code BLUEDOT.
Dirty Labs Laundry and Home
We appreciate the refined yet subtle fragrances (think matcha and bergamot) of Dirty Labs’s super-concentrated, enzyme-powered detergents. Save 15% with code BLUEDOT.
Earth Breeze Laundry Detergent
Earth Breeze gives you clean clothes as well as space: the paper-thin detergent takes up about as much space as a few greeting cards.
Guppyfriend Washing Bag
Put clothes inside the Guppyfriend before you wash them, and reduce the number of microplastics released by up to half. Because the bag reduces fiber breakage, it can also help extend the life of your clothes: a nice bonus.
A Great Drying Rack
Using a drying rack not only saves energy but also protects clothes. The Brabantia HangOn rack can accommodate an impressive amount of laundry.
An Intensive Microplastic Filter
The PlanetCare Laundry Filter attaches to the outside of your washer and traps up to 90% of the microplastics released by your clothes. Save 10% with code BLUEDOT.