Eco-Friendly Laundry: The Complete Guide to Go Green and Save Money

Eco-Friendly Laundry Tips

This post contains affiliate links to products. I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. This helps keep Green as a Thistle ad-free and pop-up free.

Green Laundry

Regular laundry routines feature tide laundry detergent which is around $0.20 per load, a dryer sheet which is $0.04 per load. So, $0.24 a load and that’s not counting bleach or fabric softener.

My laundry routine down below costs an average of $0.10 per load. That’s a $0.14 per load savings. We do 2 loads a week in my household so this saves us $15 per year! Way more if you factor in fabric softener and bleach.

Also as you’ll see in the detergent section, if you make your own, you can save even more. I choose to not make my own and I still come out on top.

And best of all, my laundry routine is chemical, toxic and fragrance-free. It’s eco-friendly and it can be vegan as well.

See how I do it in this post.

In this post we cover:

change your habits

In order to change your lifestyle, save money or achieve goals, you need to change some habits. Greening up your laundry is no different.

wear clothes twice

After a long day, a lot of people would just take off their clothes and throw them into the laundry basket. But some of these clothes are not closed to being soiled and could do with being worn again.

If you’re not sweating or getting dirty all day, wearing clothing twice before throwing them in a laundry basket cuts down on the amount of laundry you need to do each week. It will take more time to fill up a load and then you will do fewer loads over time.

use towels multiple times

Same goes with towels. Reusing towels throughout the week cuts down on laundry significantly and saves water. When you get out of the shower or tub you are clean and you just dry yourself off with a clean towel. Therefore, the towel should not be dirty… unless you didn’t bathe right. So re-wear your towel throughout the week to cut down on laundry!

reduce your clothes to keep laundry down

The more clothes you have the more laundry you need to do because you will reach for the next clean shirt instead of putting a load through the laundry. Then eventually you have this MASSIVE mountain to do.

Try reducing the number of clothes you own.

washing eco-friendly laundry

Now it’s time to green up the way we wash our clothes.

natural laundry detergent

Detergents are a big business and most of the detergents they sell us these days are full of chemicals. Not to mention that they’re expensive. Even some products labeled as eco-friendly and natural have a high price tag.

DIY natural laundry detergent

So the best way to have clean clothes in a natural, eco-friendly way without breaking the bank is to search for alternatives or make our own.

There are many people online making their own natural laundry detergents and it’s quite easy. Here is an awesome tutorial to make your own natural laundry detergent on the dime.

Making your own is freaking incredible because not only are they chemical-free and natural as possible, but they are very very cheap. You can make a big batch of it and it will last you forever! That way you don’t have to go to the store and spend another $10.  

If you don’t want to go out of your way to make your own detergent or if you just don’t have the time to be making your own detergent then you can think about Eco Nuts.

soap nuts

The image is of soap nuts. They are hard, dried brown berries that look wrinkled.

Eco Nuts sell soap nuts. Soap nuts are a berry that grow on trees and contain natural soap properties. What you do is pop 5-6 soap nuts in a little nut sack (yes, I know that this sounds really wrong) and then you pop it in your washer.

It cleans your clothes for you and it can also act as a fabric softener so you can also pop in the dryer as well.

When a big box of soap nuts can last 360 loads, that makes each load of laundry around 8 pennies. Me personally, I do about 2 loads of laundry a week. The big box of soap nuts is projected to last me 3.5 years. That’s around $8.57 a year for laundry detergent. I don’t know about you but I can’t find that kind of savings in the freaking supermarket.

Plus you don’t have to get anything icky or sticky on your hands. It’s just dried berries in a sack that you don’t have to change out until every 10 loads or so (when they start to deteriorate). There’s nothing messy about it. I think that is pretty cool.

cold water

So what about the settings that you should be washing your clothes on? To save energy and save money on electricity, wash your laundry on the cold setting.

Of course, if you have different fabrics, you should look at tag just to be sure, but for common cotton, polyesters and denim wash them on the cold and regular wash setting is just fine. The cold water setting usually is cheaper at laundromats too!

If things are super dirty or if the babies just had an accident, then you may want to use the hot water. But, for normally soiled clothing cold water is just fine.


Rainbow wash = fewer loads.

You don’t have to sort your clothes. You can just throw everything into one load. As long as you use the cold setting everything will be fine.

There are even commercial laundry detergents that allow you to wash all your clothes in the same load at one time. But eco-friendly laundry detergents or soap nuts work just as well.

Doing one load full of everything saves on water, electricity and time. Fewer loads of laundry is less water filling up the washer, less electricity running the washer and less time separating one load of laundry into five.

Honestly, this is like the most beautiful, lazy way to doing laundry but it’s also great because it’s a way to lower your footprint.

drying eco-friendly laundry

There are two ways to drying to make your laundry eco-friendly. One is using the dryer less and without consuming dryer sheets. Two is to just hang them up and let nature do its thing.

dryer balls

The image is of a wool dryer ball.

I hate hate hate things that are designed to be thrown away. For example napkins, paper towels, k cups, dryer sheets and trash bags. But, trash bags and toilet paper are kinda needed. But dryer sheets are not. And I hate them and you do not need them.

You may have seen dryer balls around or people literally throwing tennis balls into their laundry. This is great! Dryer balls toss your clothes around more so they get dried faster. They are also the best alternative to dryer sheets because they can be reused for a long time.

You can have a shorter heat cycle, save electricity and there’s no need to constantly buy any extra product. Dryer balls can last up to 1,000 loads. With them being around $23, that makes it about 2 pennies a load!

As a vegan, when my wool dryer balls eventually wear out, I will be checking out alternatives to wool dryer balls. There are cute plastic dryer balls or amazing, homemade bamboo dryer balls.


Using dryer balls doesn’t mean you can never have scented clothes. An eco-friendly solution to this is to use essential oils. You can use this homemade air freshener to spray dryer balls before starting up the dryer.

All you need is a spray bottle and 15 drops of an essential oil per 1/2 cup of water. Mix it all up and spray some on each dryer ball before every load.

You can even spray your clothes with this air freshener after they are out of the laundry.

air drying

The image is of a clothesline in a small laundry room. Clothes are hanging on the line.

And how about we just skip the dryer all together? You can hang dry your clothes all year if you can put a clothesline in the house. Or only use the dryer in the winter. Either way, you are saving money and energy.

Air drying or sun drying your clothes isn’t a new concept. If you can get a clothesline outside and if it’s in the middle of the summer (or basically all year for you southerners), then you can hang on your clothes outside and let the sun take care of you.

You can even make your own DIY clothesline out of rubber bands. Check this out for instructions.

Or you can dry your clothes inside. This might take a little longer to dry, but if we can create a little section in your house to hang a clothesline, then you can air dry clothes even if it’s raining outside.

You can find retractable clotheslines that don’t take up much space at hardware stores.

stains, kids and pets

Now stains are not my forte. We don’t usually have to deal with stains over here. But, I know many people do. So let me refer you to an awesome resource on how to conquer stains in a cheap and eco-friendly way.

Another thing you may run into is lint. Instead of buying lint rollers, use a reusable lint remover. It takes a liiiiiitle more time get all the lint off, but it saves you money in the long run and you’re not throwing tape away.

a toxic-free, chemical-free, fragrance-free, eco-friendly laundry experience

If you’re interested in going green while you do laundry or if you’re just interested in saving money while doing laundry, consider these tips that I have put out for you.

The best place to start is to change up some of your habits. If you don’t do anything else changing your habits will save you money in the long run because you are doing less laundry over time if you decide to reuse clean clothing and towels a second time before you decide to wash them.

But consider making your own natural laundry detergent or buying an alternative like soap nuts because natural solutions are almost always less costly than the chemical detergents on the shelves at the superstore.

Then drying your clothes is a breeze when all you have to do is hang your clothes up and literally, your drying your clothes for free. Convenience and time play the factor, but if you want to use your dryer then throwing a couple of dryer balls in there will save money on fabric softener and dryer sheets.

I hope you enjoyed the ideas on eco-friendly laundry in this post!

Natural laundry detergent, dryer balls, and clotheslines? Green up and make your laundry eco-friendly. #gogreen #simpleliving #naturalproducts

Did you like this article? Share it with your friends so they can have an eco-friendly laundry routine too!


1 thought on “Eco-Friendly Laundry: The Complete Guide to Go Green and Save Money”

Leave a Comment