With countless reasons to incorporate green cleaning habits into your household routine, why not start with your laundry? The laundry hamper, washer, and dryer are where clothing articles can accumulate bacteria and germs on their journey to the laundry room. Fortunately, various measures can be implemented to ensure laundry day is as effective and eco-friendly as possible.
Germs that Can be Present on Clothing
There’s more to the hamper-bound, stinky clothing than meets the eye (and nose). While viruses and fungi may die off within a few days, other germs like E. coli and salmonella might not just survive but thrive, on your clothing articles for a longer period.
Germs from recently washed clothes can remain in the washer and spread to the next load of laundry. Because washing machines are damp after cycles, washers can provide a favorable environment for bacteria growth if not dried out properly; especially front-loading washing machines which can harbor moisture.
Eco-Friendly Tips for Cleaning Germy Areas
- Clean clothing hampers as often as possible. Consider using a bag hamper or liner that can be washed in hot water to kill microorganisms.
- Separate rags and towels from other clothing and wash them after two or three uses. This will prevent germs from spreading onto other clothing items and prevent a “bacteria soup” from occurring.
- To clean the washing machine and remove lingering odors, create a mixture using 1/4 cup of baking soda, 1/4 cup of water, and 2 cups of white distilled vinegar. Pour this mixture into the detergent receptacle of your machine and run through a complete regular cycle. Avoid using bleach or toxic chemicals.
Now that you have a safe and clean place to execute your next pile of laundry, remember to implement eco-friendly cleaning tips for your family’s health and the safety of the planet.
- Before you begin the wash, distinguish which laundry is the dirtiest and requires more frequent cleaning. While jeans might be suitable for two to three wears between washes, underwear, socks, and T-shirts should be washed after every use.
- Set the wash temperature to cold, especially in newer, high-efficiency washers and when cleaning dark-colored items.
- When buying a detergent, opt for plant-based brands instead of standard petroleum-based products. You can mix concentrated detergent with water to prolong its use.
- After the wash is complete, allow the clothes to line dry instead of putting them in the dryer to save on your electric bill. If that’s not possible, use wool dryer balls or a reduced setting to conserve energy.
For even more tips and do-it-yourself detergent and spot cleaning recipes, the folks at Tommy John created this visual below of eco-friendly tips to green your laundry routine. From using white distilled vinegar to brighten clothing to using Castile soap for a natural detergent that’s gentle on skin – they’ve compiled all the best earth-friendly hacks to clean your laundry.