My Zero-Waste Laundry Routine & Eco-Friendly Laundry Products
What does it look like to have a zero-waste laundry room? You can make DIY laundry detergent. But there are also a few special zero-waste laundry products I’ve found that make laundry day a non-toxic joy in our household.
1. Laundry sheets
One thing about laundry detergent is that it comes in very large plastic containers and they’re tough to recycle. Think of the carbon footprint to make liquid laundry detergent, package it, and then ship it all around the country.
In contrast, try laundry sheets! Laundry sheets are the best zero-waste laundry detergent available.
I love these zero-waste laundry detergent sheets by Earth Breeze. For every purchase, Earth Breeze donates 10 loads of laundry detergent to charities and nonprofits. Laundry detergent is one of the most requested items in homeless shelters and disaster-relief projects.
These sheets are lightweight and are packaged in cardboard. This particular packet comes with 60 loads. There’s also a fragrance-free option.
I’d use half a sheet for a small load and a full sheet for a larger load. I’d use two sheets for a much larger load. You would also throw the laundry sheet right into the washer.
2. Wool dryer balls
I use these instead of dryer sheets, which are made with synthetic chemicals and fragrances. Dryer balls are made from wool and you can compost them at the end of their life but they last a long time.
My dryer balls are ethically harvested. Wool has to be taken from the animals at some point or it will grow too unruly. I know this from having livestock and it can actually harm the animal and it’s not comfortable for them.
So when you’re searching for wool dryer balls, make sure they are sustainable and ethically harvested rather than just for profit because there are certainly organizations like that out there.
3. Silicone dryer balls
If you don’t want wool, there are alternatives like silicone dryer balls. These balls have little soft spikes on them, which massages clothes to help them fluff up and dry faster.
4. Essential oils for dryer balls
I like to use an organic lavender essential oil with my wool dryer balls. It adds a nice, fresh scent to the clothing. I’ll use half a dropper full of oil and put it on one dryer ball only. I’ll use one scented dryer ball, but I’ll use more than one unscented dryer ball per load.
Multiple dryer balls per load reduce static, uniformly dry clothing, and reduces the time it takes to dry the load.
5. Drying outdoors on a rack
I used to hang-dry everything to save energy but the farm I live on has solar so I use the dryer more. But I highly recommend using a drying rack.
I still hang dry a few delicate items. Most of the time I’ll use chairs outside to hang my clothes. But there are plenty of drying lines and racks that pull out from a wall and give you lots of space to hang items.
Many are made from bamboo or even metal, and they’re sturdy enough to hold an entire load.
6. Hand wash
Make use of your appliance’s settings. You don’t want to waste energy or water by washing or drying a small load on a large load setting. But, if you don’t have a machine with a setting for a small load, I suggest washing a petite load by hand using a small bucket.
I will use the leftover water to water my plants outside. Using a non-toxic, biodegradable soap, like a laundry sheet, when you do hand wash benefits the plants since there’s nothing harmful left in the water.
7. Guppy bag
I highly recommend a microplastic capture bag system, also known as a “guppy bag.” I use the Guppyfriend Washing Bag because it can stop microplastic pollution that breaks down from the fibers of our synthetic clothing.
I love the guppy bag but there are filters you can apply right to your washing machine. This is important because many of the garments made today are mixed with plastic fibers and while they’re being washed, they release plastic that can’t be captured in a normal washing machine filter.
The bits of plastic end up in the waterways and end up contaminating our oceans and affecting wildlife.
The best thing you can do is to use a microplastic capture bag system. I’ve been trying to slowly reduce the amount of items in my wardrobe made of synthetic fibers and wear clothes made of all cotton and other natural materials so I don’t have to even worry about using a guppy bag.
But this has taken me years to do because it’s not easy finding all-natural clothing.
Zero-waste laundry routine
I hope you can see that even doing laundry can help you save the planet and have a positive environmental impact. Maybe some of these products and methods can help you begin the journey toward a zero-waste laundry room.
Share with us in the comments what other great zero-waste laundry products or methods you use on laundry day!