After last week’s blog, we noticed a lot of members asking a similar question. What does an eco-friendly washing load look like? What products to use, which cycle, temperatures. Is there a guide to follow so that every single load we do is as eco-friendly as possible? The answer is yes. Here it is.
The types of loads you may have
We’re categorising laundry loads into three areas. Your standard everyday washing load will typically be the clothes that you’ve worn to work, or on the weekend doing mundane tasks. They may smell a bit through sweat, but nothing too extreme that can’t be easily washed out.
The second category is the ‘extreme’. These are typically either baby clothes or someone with a weakened immune system from being ill. For example, you may have been in bed for a couple of days, in the same pyjamas, a bit smelly and tired. Clothes that a riddled with bacteria and other germs can harm those with a weak immune system – like babies – but also, for people who have been sick all week, the last thing you want is to spread those germs throughout the house.
The final category is the messy load. It includes muddy clothes from a winter walk, a big food spill or anything worse that you could imagine. The messy loads are the items you often think ‘take off immediately and get it in the machine’. That’s the easiest way to know what belongs here.
The right temperature
The temperature of the wash is the quickest way to make sure it is an eco-friendly washing load. While your washing machine will use energy regardless of the cycle, heating water is a high-energy action. This means you should try to keep your loads as cool as possible.
For the standard everyday load, a cool 30 degrees is suitable – the same can even be said for the messy clothes category. The only load that you really need to whack up the temperature on is the extremes (baby clothes and bacteria-ridden clothes). That’s because the higher temperature will remove these unwanted germs and bacteria. Keeping the person who is sick from getting worse and preventing the spread throughout the house. It will also keep the baby safe from any germs and anybody else with a weakened immune system.
The right size
If you’ve ever overfilled your washing machine you will know the utter horror that comes from it. The loud bang of the machine as it tries to break free from your kitchen. That concrete brick in the base is no longer strong enough to hold the machine down as it tries to literally walk out of your home.
While it is true that your washing machine will only add the water that’s needed for the volume of the load, the cycle still uses a similar energy level. No matter how many items go into the machine, energy is needed to wash them. So, make sure you don’t underfill your machine. Half loads or a quick 30-minute cycle for a single item is incredibly energy inefficient and will result in possibly the least eco-friendly washing load you’ve done.
The right duration
That being said – the duration of your loads is important. Most washing machines will allow you to select what type of load and then switch up the duration. For your extreme and messy loads, you will probably need to just go with the flow when it comes to the duration of your load. However, when looking at the everyday wash, it’s a perfect opportunity to adopt an eco-friendly washing load habit. If your washing machine has an eco-friendly load option – it’s time to select it. If not, pop it at 30 degrees and for a maximum duration of 40 minutes.
The right laundry detergent
Many of you asked us which type of laundry detergent is best. The small pods, powder, or an eco-egg. There are of course some that are better for the environment than others. But you might need to be careful with any detergent you switch to. There are many people with skin allergies out there so be sure to test accordingly in guidance with the product you use.
It’s important that any swaps you make are sustainable and affordable. Companies like Smol have a pod delivery service subscription which can be incredibly helpful. They’re also eco-friendly and mindful about their carbon impact, you can find out more here. Other products like ecoegg are perfect for reducing waste as they come with a 10-year guarantee. You only have to refill the egg after 70 washes too.
There are plenty of products out there to choose from so there is no reason to have an unfriendly laundry detergent. Depending on which brand you currently use, it might be time to do some research.
So, there you have it. A complete eco-friendly washing load guide. Start by establishing what sort of load you are putting on, set the temperature, the duration, make sure it’s full and then add the cherry on top with an eco-friendly detergent. It’s simple enough, so enjoy doing laundry knowing you’re doing your best for the environment.