Learn how easy it is to go green in the laundry room with these green laundry room tips and tricks! Here are our favorite eco-friendly laundry detergent picks and more.
Eco-Friendly Green Laundry Room Tips & Tricks
Laundry is the bane of my existence as a busy mom with four children and a husband in the construction industry. So many loads of laundry. Always. While we certainly don’t have a magic button to make laundry magically clean itself, I have learned a few tips, trips, and useful laundry hacks that might be useful to you, especially if you would like to lesson the environmental impact of doing laundry.
- Eco-Friendly Green Laundry Room Tips & Tricks
- Use Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergent
- Eco-Friendly Laundry Hacks
Why Go Green in the Laundry Room?
We try to make eco-friendly decisions in all aspects of our lives. We’re not perfect and we do sometimes use products that aren’t as eco-friendly as others, but every action has a consequence. With four kids and so many loads of laundry, small steps in the laundry room add up to make a big difference to the environment.
Eco-friendly laundry products are essential at our house. I haven’t banned all the harmful chemicals from my house, but I do try to use as few of them as possible. Traditional laundry detergent has quite a few chemicals I’d prefer to avoid.
Use Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergent
Chemicals found in traditional or conventional detergent we use to clean our sheets, towels, and clothing with can cause skin irritations, headaches, and hormone disruption. Call me weird, but I hate that artificial clean clothes smell because it generally means the clothes are doused in chemicals. I want my clothes to BE clean, but not SMELL like anything.
The following harmful ingredients are often found in conventional liquid detergent, powder, and or pods. I also recently learned that laundry pods are generally cased in plastic which I’d also try to avoid.
- Artificial fragrance
- Optical brighteners
- SLS / SLES – sodium lauryl sulfate / sodium laureth sulfates
- Ammonium laureth sulfate
I probably don’t need to tell you that ALL NATURAL means nothing, so make sure that you read product ingredients so you really know what you’re using. When in doubt, look up an ingredient at the Environmental Working Group’s Skindeep site to see how safe it really is.
Instead, I look for laundry soap that will leave less of an environmental impact. At the least, we look for plant-based ingredients instead of petroleum-based ingredients; detergents that are fragrance free, or contain fragrance derived from essential oil; I also like to consider the packaging because I’d like to avoid big plastic containers. That’s not always possible, but at the very least, we look for recyclable plastic bottles when they can’t be avoided.
Our favorite eco-friendly laundry detergents
Here’s a list of eco-friendly laundry detergent we’ve used or think looks promising. All of these options work for high efficiency washing machines, work on our sensitive skin, and also have good cleaning power.
- Charlie’s Soap – I used Charlie’s Soap for a long time. It’s very effective for cloth diapers and on all sorts of stains. I like Charlie’s Soap because it’s fragrance-free, effective, and the company is Climate Pledge Friendly as well as EPA Safer Choice Certified.
- Molly’s Suds – This is another brand I connected with at Expo West. We really like the activewear formula for our active lifestyle.
- Stoneworks by Grab Green – Made without sulfates, parabens, phthalates, dyes or optical brighteners and fragrance is made from essential oils. The detergent is also EPA Safer Choice Certified.
- Seventh Generation Liquid Laundry Detergent – USDA Certified Biobased Product made with 69% plant-based ingredients scented with 100% essential oils and botanical extracts.
- Sheets Free & Clear Laundry Sheets – free of plastic and packaged in a recyclable or compostable cardboard box. All you have to do is put a sheet in your laundry and you don’t have to worry about using any plastics. We also like these sheets because they are easy for kids to use and works great!
- ECOS Liquid Laundry Detergent – I first learned about ECOS products while attending Expo West in Anaheim. I enjoyed visiting the ECOS facilities on a brand tour and learned first hand about their commitment to the environment and dedication effective cleaning products.
- Tide Purclean in a Box – This is one I haven’t used, but I am intrigued by the packaging for this detergent because is made with 50% less plastic per ounce versus 2.25 x 46 ounce bottles. Tide Purclean is made using 100% wind power electricity and 75% of its ingredients are plant based. One of the ingredients is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, so take note if that’s an ingredient you’d rather avoid.
You can also make your own eco-friendly laundry soap easily at home, following this frugal recipe.
Eco-Friendly Laundry Hacks
If you’d like to make a bigger eco-friendly impact through your laundry routine, here are a few more easy things you can do.
Don’t Forget to Treat Stains Before Washing
One genius laundry hack I’ve seen is to keep clothes pins on the laundry baskets. When adding dirty clothes, put a clothespin on any article of clothing that needs to be treated before washing. This is a smart way to remember to treat any stains before sending them through the washer or dryer.
Wash your Clothes in Cold Water
Approximately 90% of the energy used to wash clothes goes to heating the water, so if you can switch to cold water for even half your loads, you’ll save a significant amount of energy!
I’ve found cold water washes most of my laundry just fine. Occasionally I’ll have a dirtier load that needs hot water, but usually cold water is sufficient to keep our clothes clean.
Use a natural laundry detergent and stain remover made from naturally derived ingredients and non-toxic materials that are free of phosphates, chlorine, artificial fragrances, and dyes.
To me, all natural also includes assessing the packaging. In an ideal world, we’d be able to be plastic-free. Unfortunately, that’s not possible. But there are some interesting alternatives to consider.
It’s a good idea to involve your kids as soon as they are able. Start by having them fold easy items or matching socks. Make them responsible for collecting their dirty laundry and bringing it to the laundry room, and progress to having them do their own laundry.
It’s relatively easy for kids to do their own laundry if they have an easy detergent option, and I think our kids have had an easier time because our laundry machines wash and then dry all in the same unit. That means they don’t have to remember to switch the loads.
Forget the Bleach
Instead of using bleach which is quite hard on the environment, whiten your laundry with lemon juice instead. You can also harness the natural bleaching power of the sun if you hang laundry outside.
You can be like me, and switch to black instead of white. Black socks never look dirty and don’t need to be bleached. For real. I quit buying white socks years ago and haven’t looked back. 😉
Stay away from Fabric Softeners and Dryer Sheets
Unfortunately, fabric softeners and dryer sheets are just as chemically laden as conventional detergent. We don’t use dryer sheets or fabric softener, but there are a few options for a green laundry room if you’d like to. If you’re looking for a few eco-friendly fabric softeners, here are some that we recommend, although we do not personally use them.
Wool dryer balls – a great reusable and natural option for softening clothes without disposable products
Clean out the Lint Filter
Keeping your lint filter clean reduces the amount of energy it takes to dry your clothes. If your dryer doesn’t have to work as hard to dry your clothes, it uses less energy. Simple concept right? Clean your lint filter before or after every load to save money and energy!
Hang Dry if Possible
The dryer is a huge electricity hog, even the most energy efficient units. I must admit that I do not hang many loads out to dry any longer, but I did for a very long time, and will return to it when I have fewer kids at home.
There’s nothing quite like the power of the sun on clothes on the line. Not only does hanging clothes save a lot of energy, it also makes them smell better than any laundry softener and it has the added power of being a natural bleach.
If it’s difficult to hang outside for air drying, I do recommend having a drying rack handy so you can line dry in the house. Air drying is often useful on laundry day for clothes you might have to hand wash or check for stains before drying.
Do you have any laundry hacks you’d like to share? If not, please send the laundry genie to my house so our laundry will actually be folded and put away. 🙂