Wash with the environment in mind
Every year Danes put 60,000 tons of detergents into their washing machines. These leave their mark on the environment, even though many of the harmful ingredients are subsequently removed in sewage works. Nevertheless, you can do your bit for the environment by following a few simple rules when washing clothes.
Dispense soap precisely
Clothes will not get any cleaner if you just tip more soap powder into the machine. Washing powder harms the environment – and clothes should only be washed using the right amount of washing powder or liquid detergent specified in the user instructions.
Often, you can actually use much less detergent per wash than you think. Read the instructions on the packaging and compare them with the instructions for the washing machine – and use a measuring cup. The amount of detergent varies depending on the hardness of the water in your area. It’s worth checking this before you decide on exactly the right amount of powder to use. See map (only in Danish) on the website of the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS).
The rule of thumb is that you will have used just the right amount of detergent when you are able to see a few bubbles on the inside of the glass. Your clothes don’t need a bubble bath to be clean.
Drop fabric conditioner
Fabric conditioners are one of the worst things you can put into the environment. This goes for the eco-friendly ones too; lime is there anyway.
Using fabric conditioners should only be necessary if you have problems with static electricity when washing synthetic textiles. This was what fabric conditioners were originally designed to deal with. However, vinegar is a good substitute. Use it in the same way as fabric conditioner. And don't worry, your clothes will not smell of vinegar.
Tensides (active wash chemicals) account for up to 30% of the materials used in fabric conditioners. These are completely unnecessary because the tensides in washing powder have already washed the clothes clean. Fabric conditioners frequently contain perfume and colours which have no effect on the wash quality, but which, conversely, can cause allergic reactions.
Buy the Ecolabel and concentrate
Buy detergents labelled with the Nordic Swan or the EU Flower Ecolabels. Concentrated laundry products are more environmentally friendly than ordinary liquid detergents, but remember to follow the dosage instructions.