How to make your laundry plastic free

Tackling one area of your home at a time is one of the best ways to change your habits to be more eco-friendly. Here are some simple but effective ways to switch to a plastic-free laundry.

1 - Ditch plastic detergent bottles
Traditional laundry detergents usually come in plastic bottles that contribute to our growing plastic waste problem. Consider switching to plastic-free alternatives such as detergent strips or powders packaged in compostable materials. They work just as well and help reduce plastic pollution. Soap nuts or soapberries are another great alternative.

2 - Try natural stain removers
Swap out plastic-packaged stain removers for natural alternatives. Lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide and baking soda are effective natural stain removers that can tackle most common stains. Simply mix them with water to create a paste or apply directly to the stain before washing. Laundry soap is also great for spot-cleaning.

3 - Try natural fabric softeners
Traditional fabric softeners usually come in plastic containers and can contain chemicals that are harsh on the environment. Simple products from your pantry can be used as alternatives. Vinegar and baking soda can be added to the rinse cycle to soften fabrics, for example.

Home Made Natural Cleaning ProductsAygul Vulte via Shutterstock

4 - Add wool dryer balls to your clothes dryer
Laundry dryer sheets are just another form of single-use plastic. If you want to keep your laundry dry, soft and static free, try wool dryer balls instead. These small, light balls are multi-functional, helping to dry your laundry faster by sucking the moisture out, reducing static and leaving you with soft, fluffy fabric. They also reduce dryer time, which helps to lower your energy bill.

5 - Try making your own laundry products
For maximum green points, try making your own laundry products. They are plenty of simple recipes available online for homemade laundry detergents, fabric softeners and stain removers. By creating your own products, you have more control over the ingredients used in your laundry.

Home Made Laundry Detergent FotoHelin via Shutterstock

6 - Swap out your plastic laundry baskets
When it comes time to upgrade your old plastic laundry basket, opt for a sustainable alternative such as bamboo, wicker or cloth hampers. They last longer and look so much better too.

7 - Wash your laundry in cold water
Switching to the cold setting while washing your laundry can reduce your personal carbon footprint by up to 10 per cent, is just as effective when it comes to cleaning plus saves you money.

8 - Go for a front loader
If you need to replace your washing machine, a front loader is a better choice for the environment. Always wash full loads of washing – as well as being more economical, a full load will create less friction and therefore less of the shedding that releases micro-plastics into the environment. It’s also a simple way to reduce water usage.

Front Load Washing Machine Filled With ClothesZanna Lecko via Shutterstock

9 - Invest in stainless steel pegs
Plastic clothes pegs are notoriously flimsy and often end up on the ground and in waterways. Choose stainless steel or wooden pegs instead, which are more durable, last longer and are better for the environment.

10 - Air-dry your laundry
Hanging clothes and bedlinen out to dry in the fresh air is much more cost and energy-effective than using a dryer. Machine drying clothes accounts for a whopping 75 per cent of laundry's total carbon footprint. Line-dried clothes smell so much better too. Leave them out in the sun, or dry indoors when it’s cold and the heating is on so your heater is doing double duty.