Laundry can be a real pain, especially now that we’ve heard about the environmental impacts from detergents and micro fibres entering our water systems.

I thought I would compile all of my top tips for sustainable laundry. It is actually easier than you think, and there are so many parts you can swap, change or tweak to make more environmentally friendly choices with each load.

Where do these issues stem from?

Lots of our clothes are made from synthetic fibres, containing plastics like polyester, nylon, acrylic and polyamide. The vast majority of our clothes will contain some form of these fibres, with new fabrics being created with over 50% plastic content.

Every single time we wash our clothes, these materials are shedding millions of microscopic plastic fibres into the washing machine. These are so small that they actually pass through our filters and go straight into our water systems. The problem only gets worse once in the ocean, where chemicals can be absorbed by the fibres and eaten by sea life. There has been evidence of these fibres now entering back into our food chain, detected in animals such as mussels.

Swap out plastic bottles of detergent for a more natural and non-toxic option.

We’ve got a list of DIY cleaning products list here. If you’re not wanting to make your own though, here are some alternatives, I personally use soap nuts. These are a natural solution to laundry which don’t leach toxic chemicals into the water stream! I have Ecozone ones. All you do is pop a few in the little bag and put them in the drum with your clothes. You can use the nuts for around 4 washes before they’re ‘done’ and then you just compost/food waste them.

Other options are ‘eco friendly’ detergents which you can either refill from a bulk store, or come in non-plastic bottles, or in powder form from a box; Ecoleaf, Bio-D, or you could try an Eco Egg.

Normal laundry supplies; soap nuts and a Guppy Friend bag!

Avoid microfibres

Microfibres are the tiny plastic fragments which are washed out of our clothes – Around 7000 per wash. There are steps you can do to help. This bag is designed to ‘catch’ them, so simply put your clothes in the bag before washing. Another solution is a Cora Ball which does the same thing; catches micro fibres from entering through your system. Other steps are reducing the spin cycle setting to reduce the amount of battering the clothes get in the wash (this will also help your clothes last longer) and washing less often. Also the older your clothes the LESS they shed!

STOP MICRO WASTE by using a Guppy Bag!

Optimal energy saving laundry day

Really reducing the amount of washing you do is key – only washing when it’s really necessary and making sure you’ve not got a half empty load. Keeping the temperature down – I do all my washes at 30°C

Drying your clothes

Especially now that we’re nearing summer we shouldn’t be using dryers. I don’t use mine. I have a clothes horse which does the treat. Those with space issues should think about investing in a pulley system which means you can get your washing hung up inside and out the way.

Also for those who really ‘need’ to dry their clothes quickly – finding alternatives to single use dryer sheets – there are dryer balls which work fabulously and adding a little essential oil can add a lovely scent too.

Hopefully this gives you a few ideas of where you can reduce your impact through your laundry. If we all take small steps to be more sustainable, it will have an enormous effect.

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Zero Waste shop in Glasgow