Shocking Laundry Statistics And How To Reduce Your Impact On Your Clothes, Your Bills, And The Environment
by Rachel Bray
How Many Loads Of Laundry Do We Do A Year?
We do a lot of laundry. You might even feel like it’s a constant battle, especially if you have a family. In the UK, we do an average of 260 five kg loads per year. And in the US, it’s even more: they’re estimated to do an average of 300 loads of laundry per year.
Essentially, that’s one load every weekday of the year. Everyone wants clean clothes, and there’s nothing better than freshly-washed sheets, right? So why does it matter how often we use our washing machines? And how can we avoid some of the pitfalls?
How does doing laundry impact us?
Electricity and water consumption
Technology has improved to create more energy-efficient models - domestic washing machines are about 30% more efficient than 30 years ago – and they use less water. It’s important to run your machine on the right programmes to take advantage of this. The higher the temperature, the more electricity you use. High temperatures are really only needed for your monthly cleaning washes and in exceptional circumstances.
And did you know that running a half load will use more water? So, running two half loads will use at least twice as much electricity and a lot more than twice as much water than one full load. And probably twice as much detergent.
Don’t overload your machine either, though – you’ll end up having to wash things again and you could damage your machine too.
Hazardous chemicals and gunk
Traditional laundry detergents often contain harmful chemicals and even microplastics which then enter the water cycle. The products used in pods and other detergents don’t always fully dissolve. They build up in the pores of your laundry and leave gunky residue on your clothes and in your machine. Your clothes will need yet another wash and your washing machine will be a breeding ground for bacteria and smells. And will be more likely to break down.
We also often add more detergent than we need, whether it’s administered as a predetermined dose or not, which costs more and harms the environment. Do you use a different amount of detergent depending on the size of the load? Probably not.
Emissions and plastic
Bulky and heavy, traditional detergents are packaged in huge amounts of plastic. They are expensive to transport and responsible for emissions. As 79% of all the virgin plastic ever produced is believed to still exist, creating ever-more plastic bottles and boxes is not responsible. The more traditional detergents we use, the worse we make the problem.
How can we reduce the amount of washing we do and the impact on our finances and the environment?
- Wash on lower temperatures: washing machines and newer detergents like Melt are designed to clean at lower temperatures, saving energy resources and costs.
- Only do a wash when you have a full load – it saves your time and energy too.
- Use the right type of detergent – use Melt laundry detergent strips. No plastic packaging, no hazardous chemicals, no residue, and minimal transportation costs and emissions.
- Use the right amount of detergent – Melt laundry strips are infinitely dosable and you’re less likely to accidentally use too much. One strip works for standard loads but for larger machines, dirtier laundry, and hard water areas you may need two or three.
- Dry naturally – if you can dry your clothes outside, wash on better weather days. Or if you have the space to dry your clothes naturally indoors, why wouldn’t you?
Switch to Melt – check out Melt Infinity and get your clothes-, wallet- and environment-friendly laundry detergent delivered to your door on a schedule that suits you.