From the detergent you use to the scents you choose, there’s no shortage of ways to clean your laundry—and laundry appliances—without harmful chemicals.
Beyond question, the best thing for the environment is to launder less. Fewer cycles would reduce the amount of chemicals and microfibers that reach our oceans, while cooler settings save on energy bills and help clothing retain its color and last longer, according to research.
But what if you just have to launder a load?
We’ve got you covered! Check out our easy tips for getting the job done while keeping your laundry—and the environment—safe and reducing your carbon footprint.
Before you get started:
If yours is an environmentally friendly washer, then you already know less is more. In fact, energy-efficient appliances use at least half the water and energy of traditional washers. Most models also spin faster thereby removing more water, so loads require less time to dry. Washers with a larger capacity can handle more volume, resulting in fewer necessary washes.
Most laundry detergents on the market, typically unsustainable and with limited capacity to biodegrade, contaminate rivers and oceans with synthetic chemicals. These chemicals, in addition to their plastic containers, are harmful to the ecosystem. Consider switching to a plant-based or green-friendly detergent or making your own with natural ingredients such as borax, bar soap and baking soda, according to DIY Natural. Detergent strips that produce less suds are biodegradable, require less packaging and are free of paraben, phosphate, dyes and bleach.
Buildup. You may not notice it, but it’s there. Laundry soap clings to the rim of the washer, which can lead to mold. Mineral deposits from hard water, water softener minerals and fibers from laundry can also contribute to a shorter appliance lifespan, restricted water flow and dingy fabric.
Maytag suggests cleaning washing machines—to include the tub, fabric softener and bleach receptacles and around the door—every 30 washes. DIY Natural recommends a white vinegar and baking soda solution to disinfect, kill mold and mildew and dissolve soap residue. Both ingredients are also gentler on plumbing and appliances.
To reach smaller areas, such as the fold under the top of the washer, knobs or dispensers, scrub with a toothbrush and vinegar. After cleaning, be sure to rinse using the hot cycle.
Moving on to the dryer:
When it comes to efficiency, a clean dryer is just as important as a clean washer. Excess lint, dust and fibers slow down dry time and can be dangerous. In fact, almost 3,000 house fires a year are linked to blocked dryer vents, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.
Cleaning experts recommend wiping down the drum and area around the lint trap with a mix of water and white vinegar and a microfiber cloth. Also, clean sensor strips, vents and spaces around the outside of the dryer using a vacuum with a hose attachment. If you can, remove the agitator cap and clean in and around the area with a toothbrush or cloth.
Whirlpool suggests cleaning the dryer lint screen after every load and a thorough cleaning of dryer vents and ducts every two years.
To further avoid harmful chemicals in the laundry room, replace dryer sheets and liquid fabric softener with reusable, all-natural LooHoo Wool Dryer Balls. You’ll save on dry time, soften fabric, absorb odors and reduce environmental waste.
Another great option this summer? Hang your laundry out to dry on a clothesline. For extra fluff, tumble your dry laundry with LooHoos on low or no heat for a few minutes.
And finally, after the laundry is done:
To keep clothes and linens fresh, consider adding lavender or balsam pouches in dresser drawers. Well-worn LooHoos, spritzed with an all-natural fragrance or essential oils, is a wonderful way to reuse and repurpose—and freshen any space.
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