While we are ditching one-use coffee cups, using metal straws and recycling soft plastics, we are largely ignoring another part of our lives that could do with an environmental overhaul: our laundry.
Sure, saving water isn’t always as appealing as going plastic-free, but there is so much more that’s lurking in your washing room that’s just begging to be more eco-friendly.
It may be hard to think about how you can make a difference while doing your next load of washing, but thankfully Dr Holly Kaye-Smith from Western Sydney University as part of Earth IQ, has come up with some simple ways we can waste less.
Only wash clothes that are actually dirty
“Did you know 93 per cent of the clothes we wash aren’t dirty?” Holly asks.
Now we aren’t suggesting you wear that same t-shirt for a whole week – especially not in the middle of summer – but Holly suggests that trying to get even just one extra wear out of an item of clothing means your laundry burden is halved and that’s one less load you’ll have to put on.
Get the right laundry products
While you may not want to make your own eco-friendly detergent, Holly suggests opting for a mild laundry detergent that’s grey water safe.
Most importantly, Holly says fabric softeners should be avoided as they can contain harmful chemicals. If you can’t live without the scent of fabric softener on your towels, opt for a gentle one.
Rethink the dryer
Line drying (or hanging on a clothes horse outside for apartment-dwellers) allows your clothes to soak up the sun’s UV rays, which act as a natural whitener and kills germs, Holly says.
“Where possible avoid using a clothes dryer - if you have to use a dryer, add an old tennis ball to the load so it dries faster and the laundry (especially towels) will feel softer,” she tells.
Not only is this good for your clothes, but it will cut your electricity consumption and slash your bill.