How much washing people do has been a bit of a topical point on social media just recently hasn’t it? And it all started with the stories of people using their towels just once and then washing them. I was left speechless. Was this really a thing? Do people truly believe that wiping down a clean body with a clean towel then makes it dirty? I mean, surely it is just such proof that society has gone germ mad? We wash clothes far too often, Dettol sell a product that claims to remove 99% bacteria from your clothes in the machine, you can buy chemically based products to rid your machine of these germs and it is encouraging the public to really believe that everything is covered in germs that must be banished!! But what are the effects of these actions?
For one, it is encouraging obsessive behaviour which spills over into the entire household. Everywhere you look there are these ‘dangerous germs’ that must be killed. It has people buying products they simply do not need, it has more chemicals being washed into the water systems as well as more micro-plastics which are found in most of our clothing. Not to mention the amount of water being used, the electricity to power the machines (and tumble dryers) as well as time. Your time, being wasted, over and over again because companies have made you think that washing all of the time is the norm and that it is needed. It isn’t. Not. At. All. If we continue to live in this way we will never be able to reverse the effects we are having on our environment and this really worries me.
So much so that I decided to share my tips on how to drastically reduce your wash loads each week…
Is It Actually Dirty?
Seems obvious right? Is it mucky, dirty, marked etc? No? Then don’t wash it! For example, those towels you have used once are only dirty IF you have wiped down the dog, you have used it on the floor to mop up some mess, you have cleaned up sick with it, you have wiped down the grubby bathroom… If you have used it once or twice or even three times (oh yes I use mine far more!) it is still clean enough. I promise you will not drop down dead from using it. There are far more germs on everyday items you use… remote controls, mobile phone, cash machines, handrails etc.
Hang Towels Up
Sorry to focus so much on these towels but this was where it all began. Once a towel is used hang it up to dry. Don’t fold it because this will keep the damp inside (and this is where problems will occur) Hanging it over a door, on a hook, over a bannister, open across a radiator or towel rail will all help your towels to stay fresher for longer. You will really reduce your wash loads just by changing habits like these.
Give it a big sniff. Smell ok? No dirt? Then re-wear that item of clothing. One wear does not require a wash unless it is dirty and it stinks.
If an item needs a bit of freshening up, just give it an airing. Either hang it outside to let the smells waft away or hang it up for a few days inside the house or try the airing cupboard. I love giving an item a quick shake to get rid of any mustiness. Quite often these smells are just sitting on top of the fabric and all of these actions will send them on their way!
How many times does your kid come home from school in a jumper that was clean on that morning but now has splash marks from their lunch? Urgh, so many times and how many of you throw it into the washing machine? I mean, yes, if it is covered I get that but if you can sponge clean it off opt for this as your first option. You don’t want to be rushing to get the uniform washed and dried ready for the next day.
Tackle Stains in the Sink
Stained clothing can be a pain but if you act fast you can have those out with a quick hand wash rather than a full wash in the machine. I love my Vegan Dish Washing Block because it works on all types of stains and is also eco-friendly. A quick scrub then rinse works just as well and you will be saving yourself yet another load.
Have Home Chill-Out Clothes
When you get in from work/school/day out head straight to your bedroom and get changed. Hang up the clothing you’ve been wearing that day and change into your home chill-out clothes. Not only will this help you to relax, it will mean far less washing as your home clothes don’t need to be really clean and can have several wears throughout the week.
Don’t Put Clothes on The Floor!
I am so bad for this because it is such a bad habit when you’re tired, isn’t it? But if you hang your clothes up, put them away in drawers and encourage your children to do this too, your clothes will benefit from this. Not only will they stay cleaner, they won’t become quite so worn looking and won’t require extra washing.
Make sure you have aprons at the ready for the kids for cooking, crafting, painting and drawing activities. Use full-body rain suits for walks in the woods, playing in the garden etc. Have separate messing about clothes that can be kept for messier activities and can be reworn as they are. And don’t forget about you. Also think about aprons for cooking, covering clothing when cleaning and wearing dedicated outdoor clothing for days out with the kids.
Dedicate a No Washing Day
Pick one day a week where you tell yourself that your washing machine is not going on. Even though I am a cloth nappy user, my machine does not go on every day (if your stash isn’t big enough just yet ignore that comment). Not just for environmental reasons but also for my own sanity. There is so much to do as a parent, there is always something that needs picking up or cleaning or tidying and there need to be times when we give ourselves a break. You simply cannot be washing day in day out, 7 days a week. Take one day (two or three if possible!) and leave that basket. After all, with all of these tips it shouldn’t be quite so full anyway.
I think the most important thing to remember in order to reduce your wash loads is to just be aware of what you are doing. I’m sure that a lot of clothing is taken off and placed into the wash basket without a second thought but if you just take the time to stop yourself, check the item, give it a sniff and rethink your actions, you will find that your whole routine will get a shakeup and you will reduce your wash loads so much that you will find life far more manageable.
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