The Environmental Impact of Washing Machines

It has been over a century since the first electric washing machine was invented. Since then, we’ve moved up to fully automatic machines that can perform complete wash and even drying cycles without any human interaction in-between. These machines are convenient and the technology is often fascinating, however, they have a huge environmental impact, which continues to be a problem no matter how efficient the machines have become.

One of the first washing machine advertisements.

A Significant Carbon Footprint from a Necessary Household Task

Washing clothes uses fresh water, and energy. Depending on how the energy is generated, the environmental impact could be significant or moderate. In an area where electricity is generated by gas fired power plants, the impact of using a washing machine would be relatively high. In a home that generates its own electricity from solar power, the impact would be significantly lower.

Environmental impact of electric laundry methods.

Water usage in itself is also a major problem, and washing machines typically use more water than traditional hand washing. Multiple wash and rinse cycles are used ensures that clothes are thoroughly cleaned. If hot water is used, even more electrical or gas energy is required.

Any way that you look at it, washing machines have a significant environmental impact, and are among the biggest contributors to pollution and environmental damage in the average household. Washing and drying a standard load of washing (around 5kg), three times per week, can contribute up to 440kg of CO2 emissions in a single year. A larger family that is washing more clothes will have an even larger footprint.

Reducing The Damage

Simply washing clothes in cold water can significantly reduce the environmental impact of washing clothes. Studies have shown that washing with 30 degree water is just as effective as washing with 60 degree water. Modern detergents do most of the leg work.

You can also opt to use detergents that are environmentally friendly, including those that don’t use micro plastics. Perfumes, enzymes, and other chemicals can create ground and water pollution. Look for a detergent that is without chemical fragrance (natural scent is OK), and that uses other natural ingredients. Typically, most products marketed as natural laundry soap will have reduced environmental impact when compared to those that are marketed as detergents.

In addition to making changes with water temperature and the product you use to actually clean your clothes, you could also consider eliminating washing machines altogether.

Alternative Washing Methods

Eco friendly and environmentally sustainable washing can be achieved with the Breathing Mobile Washer. Hand operated and manufactured using natural wood or aluminum and polypropylene, the Breathing Mobile Washer is great  any time. Small steps and positive changes by individuals helps build a better future for everyone. The Mobile Washer can be used on delicate and standard clothing, as well as heavy duty items.

Washing machines can make life more convenient, but they come with the downside of huge environmental impact. Hand washing with the Mobile Washer is not physically intensive and is a great way to reduce overall carbon footprint while still ensuring that clothing and other laundry is thoroughly and safely cleaned.

Another great article on additional negative environmental impacts of electric washing machines can be found here –

The Environmental Impact of the Washing Machine