I've written about this quite a bit, but the environmental impact of washing and drying our clothes often is worse than the environmental impact of the production of the clothes. There are plenty of ways that you can lessen the environmental impact of caring for your clothing. The really good news is that you'll save money, too.
- Wash your clothes and linens in cold water. The energy that it takes to heat up the water for doing your laundry is one of the biggest environmental offenders when it comes to laundry. By simply washing in cold water, you'll save energy and you'll save money on your energy bill.
- Hang dry your clothing. Each time you run your dryer, it averages about 5 pounds of greenhouses gasses emitted into the atmosphere. Multiply that by the number of loads you do in a week, and hanging that line outside doesn't sound so bad. Not running your dryer will save you money, too.
- Don't wash your clothes every single time you wear them. Sometimes, clothes need to be washed after just one wearing, but most times they do not. Wear those jeans a second (or third time) before throwing them in. And if you hang your bath towels up to dry when you're done, you can use them for several days. You'll end up doing less loads of laundry this way which will save you money, and your items will last longer if they are laundered less. You'll have to replace them less often, saving you even more money.
- When you do run your dryer, make sure the lint trap and the exhaust line are cleaned out regularly. Dirty lint traps and exhaust lines cause your dryer to run less efficiently. It will take longer for your clothes to dry, you'll use more energy, and you'll run up your energy bill. Regular cleaning can help to avoid this.
These are just a few suggestions. For more details about being more green with your laundry, check out these past posts.