In the meantime, there are some relatively painless steps you can take to decrease your exposure and shrink your ecological footprint (some of the tips below were incorporated from Planet Green’s How to Go Green Laundry page):
- Become a label reader. Look especially for “Does not contain…” because manufacturers are not yet required by law to list what is in the product. However, green companies will proudly display what is NOT in the product if they want to sell their product to environmentally conscious people like you.Look for “phosphate free,” “no bleach,” “SLE free” and “NPE free.” Look for “biodegradable” detergents since those often do not contain the harmful ingredients listed above. Look for plant- and animal-based ingredients, instead of petroleum-based.
- Buy concentrated detergents. These have reduced packaging and a smaller carbon footprint (requiring less space and fuel for shipping).
- Become a Soap Nut! Soap nuts are the dried fruit of the Chinese Soapberry tree (Sapindus mukorrosi). People have been using these natural soap-releasing berries for thousands of years, and they’ve recently caught on in the U.S.
- Wear it more than once. Too often, we just toss our clothing into the hamper after wearing it, out of habit, without regard to whether or not it’s really dirty. Washing less often also extends the life of your clothes.
- Wash and rinse in cold water. You will save a bundle on electricity (one estimate is $100 per year) just by doing this, because 90 percent of the energy required for washing lies in heating the water.
- Wash only full loads of laundry. It’s more energy efficient.
- Hang it out to dry. Put up a clothesline! Become part of the Right to Dry movement.
- Try making your own detergent. Here’s one formula costing pennies per load.
- Ditch the dry cleaning. Traditional dry cleaning is a very un-green and toxic process using harsh, carcinogenic chemicals, such as perchloroethylene (aka “perc”), which has been linked with a variety of cancers and other problems. Many “dry clean only” products can be safely hand washed. For those that can’t, try to find a greener dry cleaner in your area.
If you’re interested in the Enzyme Formula we produced, you can read more about it here!