Clearly, there are great options on the market for every need. But if you’re looking to save a little money and further reduce packaging waste, making your own laundry detergent is also an option: This four-ingredient DIY recipe uses Castile soap as a base, and its odor-neutralizing power can be enhanced with a little bit of white vinegar, a surprising laundry day hero that can be used a number of ways on clothes.
Whatever detergent you’re using, washing your clothes in cold water (either by hand or in a machine) is the better environmental move, as anywhere from 75 to 90% of the energy required to clean a load of laundry goes toward heating the water.
Only washing your clothes when needed will also lighten your laundry’s environmental impact—especially when it comes to synthetic fabrics.
Petroleum-derived synthetics shed plastic microfiber particles into waterways with each wash, which could harm aquatic life. Shop for more eco-friendly natural fibers like cotton, hemp, and linen instead, and when you do wash your polyesters and rayons, pop a microplastics trapper into your machine.
Air dry when possible to avoid dryer emissions, and skip chemical-heavy dryer sheets for simple wool dryer balls.