In Germany, we buy around 220,000 tons of household cleaning products and 260,000 tons of dishwashing detergent every year. But have you ever taken a closer look at what is actually in the detergents and cleaning products you have at home? Especially many of those 'strong' cleaning agents contain substances that can be harmful to our health and can pollute our wastewater with chemicals. Would you like to make your home a little more environmentally friendly and healthier for the environment and for yourself? That's not even so hard.
Think green - act green
There are many environmentally friendly options and alternatives for washing and cleaning. Many don't even cost a lot of money nor a lot of time, and you can make cleaning products youself with ingredients you already have at home - you just have to know how to do it ... In a virtual DIY workshop from April 14 to 22, 2020, volunteers Fruzsina and Marie met 15 international participants from Croatia, Greece, France and Vietnam online to discuss about ecological sustainability and to collect tips for more ecological cleaning and washing.
One session of the online workshop deal with washing our clothes. How can we make washing our clothes more environmentally friendly? The international group collected the following 5 tips:
How to wash your clothes more environmentally friendly:
1. Leave out the fabric softener.
Remember, like all waste water, the water from your washing machine eventually ends up in the ocean. Just don't use fabric softener or take a homemade one instead - fabric softener is not required to get the laundry clean, but it is very toxic to marine life.
2. Buy natural detergent or do it yourself.
When it comes to detergents, just do it yourself or buy one that is natural and doesn't harm the environment.
3. Less is more.
90 percent of the energy that a normal washing machine uses is used to heat the water. Only 10 percent are needed for the engine. In the United States, for example, 34 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions could be saved annually if every household only used cold water to wash clothes. You don't have to go that far. But think about how hot your washing machine's water really needs to be to get your clothes clean. And just wash your clothes at a lower temperature.
4. Use the washing machine sensibly.
Wash your things less often, if possible. And only switch on the washing machine when it is full. It's really not worth using water, electricity and detergent for just one T-shirt. And it is washed faster by hand anyway.
5. Let your clothes air dry.
Just skip the dryer and hang your clothes to dry - this saves energy and is even better for your clothes. Incidentally, ironing is not a step that is urgently required for all items of clothing. Without ironing you save energy - and also lots of time.
Ready to learn more about eco-friendly cleaning and washing? You can find more tips and DIY videos on how to easily make cleaning products yourself in this blog by Fruzsina and Marie.
Would you like to be active yourself?
Would you like to take part in a virtual workshop yourself or participate online in an international volunteering project? While it is important for us all to keep physical distance at the moment, international exchange is very easy in virtual projects. Virtual projects offer you the opportunity to exchange ideas, experiences, language and much more with volunteers around the world, and to get to know new friends - just like in a 'real' workcamp.
Here you can find more information about virtual work camps and workshops, the currently open projects and registration.