Washing laundry sustainably: Guide for the washing process

June 22, 2022
min reading time

Why doing laundry the wrong way increases your carbon footprint

Climate protection starts with small activities, like doing the laundry. There are many tips and tricks that can be so simple. This guide will help you reduce your carbon footprint. You can calculate it here

Check washing machine

Energy efficiency is the keyword here. Newer A+++ appliances are more economical and can save up to 111 kg of CO2 per year. A 15-year-old washing machine consumes 1 to 1.5 kilowatt hours of electricity per wash cycle. Since this tip requires a certain budget, it cannot be implemented in a hurry, but it can be kept in mind. 

Use sustainable detergent

Washing powder is better than liquid detergent, but should be used sparingly and adapted to the load. Advantages are that it contains less microplastic and is mostly packed in cardboard instead of plastic. There are also many organic detergents on the market. Soap nuts have a sustainable effect, but create scarcity in their countries of origin, where they are more urgently needed. 

Avoid pre-wash, treat stains yourself 

Some garments do not need to be washed at all, just aired out and stains specifically treated.

To do this, treat the stain with a prewash spray. Prewashing is only necessary in rare cases, such as heavily soiled laundry, curtains, wool blankets or sportswear. 

Use low temperature and fully loaded

Higher temperatures result in more energy consumption.

Washing at 30 °C instead of 60 °C can save two-thirds of electricity consumption.

The 90 °C does not have to be used, 60 °C is quite sufficient. Another important rule is to always fully load the washing machine. 

Washing Bag against microplastic 

Clothing made of polyester can dissolve fibers when washed, which end up in wastewater. The microplastic can be dangerous for aquatic life and birds. One solution is to use a washbag. The laundry can be put in ahead of time. Alternatively, you can avoid buying elastic materials like those found in sportswear or switch to a fair fashion brand.

Avoid tumble dryer

The clothes dryer is a climate killer. Just one drying process produces about three kilograms of CO2. Using clothes racks and clotheslines are good alternatives, even if the process takes a little longer. The laundry dries faster if it is shaken out well and hung up with plenty of space and clothespins. 

If these tips have helped you, then you will also enjoy our Klimathon. If you are interested, offer one yourself or find out where one takes place.

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