In challenge, sustainability

Laundry Day Rules to Live By

In this article, I share quick tips to wash laundry less and clean sustainably.  On my journey to living a more sustainable life, I have had to change many habits.  Laundry is one habit that we can all benefit from altering.  I had been in the practice of throwing things in the wash and always doing laundry after a single-use.  I’ve lost many garments to stains that should have been pretreated and lost many dollars in doing large loads of wash when it was unnecessary.  Read on for a few habit adjustments you can start with today.

illustration of pile of second hand clothes

Missed Part I?  Find it here!

Part II, How to extend the time between washings


1. Don’t rub it in!
Every part of your being will want to grab a napkin and dab or rub the stain.  What you are actually doing is pushing the stain deeper into the fibers and making it more difficult to get out.  If you are out and cannot treat immediately, the best thing to do is to push the stain out.

+ Scrape off any excess with a spoon.
+ Grab one wet tissue and one dry.
+ Place the dry tissue on the outside of the stain and the wet tissue on the inside and lightly press out.

The dry tissue will absorb the water from the wet one along with some of the stain.  Then treat as soon as you can.

blot stain tip paper towel tip wet and dry napkin stain transfer stain to napkin

Depending on the type of stain, pretreating may be all you have to do, helping to wash laundry less.


2. Always pre-treat stains.  Always.

If you are in the habit of throwing stained items in the wash, stop it right now!  Some stains need the solution to sit on them for a while to work effectively.  Pretreating will help you save water, energy, and detergent since you will be sure the stain is gone before laundering…if you have to launder at all!  If you skip this, you may end up getting stuck with the stains if you accidentally dry it too.  Which leads me to the next tip.

The coffee stain from above has already been sucked out, I barely let it sit for 10 minutes.

wash laundry less pretreat solution working


3. Always air-dry a stained item.  Always always.

The heat from the dryer will set the stain, it will never come off.  The heat from the sun will also set the stain, so air-dry the items inside to make sure the stain is gone.  Air-drying will allow you to see if the stain is gone completely.  If it’s not, you’ll have to treat again so you can wash laundry less and clean sustainably by using less water and energy.

clean sustainably drying rack


Save that money honey.


To save $$

+ Use the right amount of detergent.

Using more detergent than recommended will not get your clothes any cleaner, in fact, it has the opposite effect.  Using more than the recommended amount will not rinse off properly and will remain on your clothes.  This will act as a magnet for dirt.  Do a little experiment, wash your hands but do not rinse the soap off.  Let your hands dry and you’ll see they dry up very sticky!


To save energy…and more $$

+ Wash in cold water.

To effectively wash in hot water, the water temperature needs to be between 140 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.1 For safety, most home hot water heaters are set at about 120 degrees Fahrenheit, so your water is most likely not hot enough.  If you need hot water for disinfecting, do it on the stovetop.  You will heat only the water you need and make sure the items stay saturated in the hot water for the right amount of time.


To save water…and, even more, $$

+ Pretreat and rinse.

Typically, pretreatments need to stay on items for at least an hour.  Instead of throwing pretreated items with your next load, rinse and see if the stain has come off.  If not, treat again and let sit longer.  Some stains need finesse to come out, most stains eventually will come out if you are patient with them.

wash laundry less illustration

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#consistencychallenge: July 2020

1. “Background G. Laundy and Bedding.” November 5 2015. Center for Disease Control and Prevention Accessed on May 11 2020.



eddys brand celebrates family and the spirit of connection and togetherness by creating essential garments for babies and toddlers, future big brothers and sisters, that can be passed down and are made to last through multiple rounds of grass stains, first teeth, and lots and lots of smiles.


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