washing on the line

A woman’s work is never done, or at least it feels like it when it comes to the laundry in our home.

I probably wash between 5-7 loads a week, which together with hanging out, folding and putting away feels like a never ending chore. But I do get inspiration in finding environment savers and ways of cutting corners.

My 3 EASY STEPS are:

> Use cold water – reduces washing machine greenhouse gas emissions by 80% and reduces your energy bills (but not recommended for woollens!).

> Wash with full loads – uses less water and energy

> Line dry – clothes dryers are a killer for chewing up energy and generating greenhouse gas emissions, plus most baby clothes can’t  be tumble dried, so don’t rush out and buy one because you have a new baby in the family (see 5 reasons to line dry your laundry).

My best shortcut is:

> Wash business shirts and other creasables on a creasables cycle – uses more water but saves on the ironing if they are hung up immediately on a coat hanger (plus saves on hanging later!)

3 INTERMEDIATE STEPS (may require a new purchase)

> Use phosphate free detergent – stops horrible algal blooms from developing in our waterways.

> Use a greywater hose – divert water direct from your washing machine to your garden (but make sure the detergent you are using is suitable to do this).*

> Use a concentrated washing liquid or powder and buy in bulk – as requires less packaging and is cheaper per wash.

My favourite is:

Earth Choice which is grey water and septic safe, Australian made and owned and contains no phosphorus (at $16.11 for 4 L comes out at 20c per wash).

Earth Choice Laundry Liquid

Earth Choice Laundry Liquid

3 ADVANCED STEPS (requires more expensive purchases)

> No detergent – not as insane as it sounds. I have an Enviroball which they say should last for 1,000 washes (at an upfront cost of $50 that comes out at 5c per wash).

> Install a greywater system – a bit pricey but with water prices going up it should save you in the long-term plus there are government incentives to help you out (see www.environment.gov.au/rebates or Living Greener for more information).

> Buy a front loading washing machine – generally more expensive than top loaders but should save you money in the long term and are better for the environment, as they use less water, less energy and less detergent. Plus they wash more gently so your clothes should last longer.

*Apart from any wider environmental benefits I find one of the main benefits of reusing my laundry water is my lovely fern garden which is watered almost exclusively by the greywater hose!