Cutting waste in the laundry room actually happened really organically for me. A previous partner had an allergy to the fragrance in dryer sheets and harsh detergents so I stopped using dryer sheets out of necessity. When I found that they didn't make all the much of a difference to my laundry routine, I never used them again, even after that partner and I separated. I have honestly never missed them.
Today I'm sharing 5 steps to making your laundry room a more environmentally friendly place and how to make it a much more enjoyable (and healthy) experience too.
1. Cut drying time with dryer balls
Get yourself 3 wool dryer balls of varying sizes, if you can. Dryer balls are typically made of wool, and go directly into the dryer with your wet clothes to help them tumble and dry more effectively - you can cut your drying time by about 25% because these little wonders allow the air to pass more freely around your clothes rather than them tumbling around in one big clump.
You can also try non-toxic PVC dryer balls like these by Nellie's All-Natural. These ones are really durable whereas you may need to replace your wool ones sooner. We had these when I was younger and they certainly worked well but I personally prefer wool because it's a more natural fabric and they are much quieter in my dryer (the PVC ones can sound a bit clunkier because of their weight).
I think these wool ones from Saje Wellness are lovely (they even come with an essential oil blend), but you can also pick yours up in bulk from your local health food store or zero waste store, or you can always get them on Amazon or Well.ca.
PRO TIP: add a drop or 2 of the essential oil of your choice to each ball (I love purification from Young Living or any lavender) for an added dose of freshness when you pull your clothes out.
2. Remove static cling with a capful of white vinegar in your rinse cycle
I haven't used dryer sheets in years and love knowing that I'm keeping one more thing from the landfill. a capful of white vinegar in your rinse cycle does an amazing job, and no, your clothes will not come out smelling like vinegar.
3. Keep your family and the environment safe with non-toxic detergent or soda - your clothes will still come clean, I promise!
DYK that conventional laundry detergents commonly contain toxic chemicals linked to cancer? Things like fragrance, cleaning agents, stabilizers and brighteners are all added to make sure the product stays cheap but at a huge cost to our health and environment. Not only are these things emitted into the air and washed down the drain to be absorbed by the Earth, but they are put against our skin and absorbed by us and our families. The crazy part? They are all COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY and do far more harm than good. You can still have affordable and effective laundry detergent, without all the added chemicals.
Some of my favourite clean brands are:
Seventh Generation (can be found at most grocery stores)
Young Living Thieves Detergent
I've just ordered The Soap Works powdered laundry soap which I'm excited to try because it comes in a paper bag vs a plastic tub. Next up: Making my own.
4. Save energy and hang/line dry as much as possible
This super simple IKEA indoor/outdoor drying rack will do the trick, but I also love this one from Bed Bath and Beyond because it doesn't take up much space and still looks stylish. Or try this outdoor rack from Amazon.com you can put up in your yard in the summer if you don't have a clothes line.
5. Make it worth your while
I don't do laundry unless I have a full load, save for instances when I need to use the delicate cycle. Right now, I try to stick to one laundry day (usually Sunday's, since that's my day to meal prep and do housework before the new week starts), but I know that's all going to change once the baby comes. For right now though, 1 day is more than enough for a family of 2. We usually do about 3-4 loads; 1 for bedding, 1 for towels and another 1 or 2 for clothing. We are both pretty good at re-wearing clothes more than once before we wash them, so this really allows us to cut down on unnecessary washing. The sniff test works wonders!