There are lots of things to consider when putting a load of clothes in the washing machine (the best temperature, length of cycle, etc.). But what some people may not consider is whether the type of detergent they use is eco-friendly. Read on to discover climate-friendly ways to keep your clothes clean.
Let’s lighten the load on the environment with Laundry Detergent Sheets.
A Zero-Waste Way to Clean Your Clothes
The first thing you may notice about your laundry detergent is that it’s probably packaged in a lot of plastic. So far so bad! Plastic is an environmental baddie and many detergents come in large plastic bottles.
So, what are some sustainable zero-waste solutions?
Laundry detergent sheets are a greener alternative to washing your clothes and a great way to reduce plastic waste. The sheets contain a concentrated detergent that is activated when it comes into contact with water.
Unlike standard liquid detergents which can contain up to 80% water (depending on the brand), laundry detergent sheets contain no water. Making them easier and lighter to transport, means they have considerably lower transport-related carbon emissions. Some brands claim they have up to a 94% reduction in carbon emissions.
Best Laundry Detergent Sheets – Our Top Picks for the Planet
Below we’ve listed our top 3 picks of laundry detergent sheets based on our own use, reviews, and the mission of the brands (how environmental-friendly are they really?).
1. Ecoroots Laundry Detergent Sheets
Founded in the US this brand has made it its mission to reduce plastic waste since 2009. Ecoroots provide ethically and sustainably sourced plastic-free products. Ecoroots laundry detergent sheets check all the important eco-friendly boxes.
- comes in compostable packaging
- formulated with plant-based and biodegradable ingredients (no harsh chemicals)
- good for sensitive skin, contains no synthetic fragrances, optical brighteners or dyes
- small compact lightweight packaging = easy to transport and store
- dissolves in both hot and cold water and can be used in most types of washing machines
2. Simply Living Eco Laundry Sheets
A UK-based brand, manufacturing its products in the UK with great Trustpilot reviews. The company motto is to help people consume less, waste less, and pollute less. These laundry detergent sheets are making eco-conscious customers happy and are helping the planet at the same time.
- made with plant-based ingredients
- zero-waste and plastic-free packaging
- dissolvable detergent that is biodegradable
- can be used in low-temperature washes and handwashes
- manufactured in the UK
- suitable for most washing machines
3. Tru Earth
A Canadian-based company, Tru Earth is a manufacturer of eco-friendly household products. Tru Earth is a promoter of sustainable lifestyles and has founded the #TruEarthMovement to raise awareness about how we can reduce our environmental impacts.
- made with plant-based ingredients
- manufactured in Canada
- free from nasty chemicals and dyes
- free of 1,4-dioxane, as certified by independent laboratory tests.
- safe for sensitive and allergy-prone skin
- comes in biodegradable and recyclable cardboard packaging
- suitable for most washing machines
How to Use Laundry Detergent Sheets?
The laundry detergent sheets come ready to go! Simply place a sheet (depending on the brand this could be half a sheet or a full one) at the bottom of the machine, put your laundry on top and press start. It’s as easy as that!
Don’t forget to recycle or compost your packaging or score the highest sustainability points and reuse if you can.
Why Switch to Laundry Detergent Sheets?
Let’s start with the packaging. Laundry detergent sheets come in compact and plastic-free packaging (most come packaged in cardboard). Plastic is a huge environmental burden and a disaster for nature, especially aquatic life.
But what about recycling? Unfortunately, recycling is not always the best solution when it comes to plastic. The same piece of plastic can only be recycled 2-3 times, after that the quality degrades and it becomes unusable.
Compare this to cardboard which can be recycled up to 7 times. Packaging that uses no plastic is a great start to reducing global pollution.
Laundry sheets are a mess and fuss-free alternative. They come with pre-measured detergent, which takes the dilemma out of how much detergent to use and so less product is wasted. Also, perfect for avoiding any spillage particularly if you’re slightly clumsy!
Unlike standard liquid detergents that contain toxic ingredients and petrochemicals, eco-friendly laundry sheets use plant-based ingredients.
What’s the difference?
Traditional detergents use a lot of problematic ingredients such as surfactants like Linear Alkylbenzene Sulfonate (LAS). LAS is not biodegradable and can end up in our water systems and be toxic to aquatic plants.
Phosphates are another baddie when it comes to the environment and in most developed countries their use in detergent is restricted.
Besides the harmful chemicals actually listed as ingredients, more worrying is the chemicals lurking in detergents that are not on the ingredient list.
1,4 Dioxane is one such chemical that, while present, is not required to be listed. This is because it is a by-product of the manufacturing process and not technically an added ingredient. Considered a likely carcinogen, it is on the EU’s list of chemicals that require stringent regulation. Low-level exposure during a person’s lifetime can increase the risk of cancer. So definitely best to avoid this nasty one!
Another hidden nasty bunch are phthalates, which are usually disguised under ‘fragrance’. They are used to prolong the laundry-fresh scent that makes people feel as if their clothes are extra clean. The dirty secret with phthalates is that they have an array of harmful health impacts and are disruptive to hormone and reproductive systems. Unfortunately, phthalates are a large group of chemicals that are present not only in detergents but also in plastic packaging.
Other worrying substances to note are optical brighteners used to make whites appear brighter by coating fabric with UV-reflective particles. But brighter isn’t always better as many brighteners use a chemical called benzene, a known carcinogen. Chemicals used in optical brighteners generally aren’t very green as they don’t really biodegrade and can accumulate in the environment.
Silver nanoparticles are added to destroy odor-causing bacteria. Unfortunately, this isn’t the only thing they destroy like other chemical nasties, they can leak into waterways and ecosystems damaging marine and aquatic life.
The list of chemical bad guys goes on… That’s why it’s safer to go green and buy brands with better ingredients that are plant-based and biodegradable.
Final Things to Consider…
While it’s hard to choose between these great brands and their climate-friendly solutions, a good starting point would be to choose the company that is located and manufactures its sheets closer to home. By choosing the closest supplier you can cut down on the carbon emissions associated with transport.
Should I Swap to Using Sheets?
Definitely! If you care about preventing further harm to our planet by using less plastic and toxic chemicals in our everyday lives, laundry sheets are a great place to start. Let’s all live a little more sustainably!