Make the Switch to Powder Detergent

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          We all know the dreaded laundry day, when you drag your weeks (or longer) worth of dirty clothes to the nearest Laundromat. A lot of you probably don't put much thought into what kind of laundry detergent you use and its affect on the environment. I certainly didn't before reading more into the topic. Washing machines use a lot of water, which can eat up almost 22 percent of a household's water use. What the average laundry-doer doesn't realize is the amount of extra water that is potentially being wasted due to over-diluted liquids or extra rinse cycles.             

            Liquid detergent seems like the norm for most. It is easily dissolved in water, so there is no worry about having residues left on your clothes. However, it takes water to make these liquid detergents. Standard, non-concentrated detergents can contain upwards to 80 percent of water! It's a complete waste of water, fuel, and energy to produce and ship diluted detergents all around the country when a washing machine can do the same job by turning powder detergent into liquid with the water that is already going to come out of the machine. Liquid laundry detergent is also much easier to overuse, wasting your own money and causing build-up in the machines, making them less effective and efficient. Liquid detergents also have much more surfactant, which is the stuff that makes everything sudsy. When surfactants make their way into our oceans, they can interfere with the aquatic ecosystems, in particular interfering with the normal function of fish gills, leading to fish populations decreasing.

            Powder detergent, on the other hand, is a more cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative to liquid detergents. The ingredients found in powder detergent, which includes bleaching agents and surfactants, are more stable in powders, and therefore have a longer shelf life than their liquid counterparts. Due to the longer shelf life, powder detergent can be bought in bulk, reducing excess packaging, and stored for longer periods of time without the fear of it becoming ineffective.

            Taking the time to educate yourself on how to effectively use powder detergent can save you both money and recycling, as well as reduce the environmental impacts that come with producing liquid detergent, like disposing of the plastic bottles they come in and the water used to produce the product. Although it may take some getting used to when transitioning from the convenient liquid to powder, ultimately your wallet and environment will thank you in the long run!

 

References:

 

http://www.mnn.com/health/healthy-spaces/stories/the-greener-detergent-liquid-or-powder

 

http://www.simplesteps.org/es/node/51

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4 Comments

I really enjoyed this blog post as it concerns laundry, a duty mandatory to all college students, and its affects on the environment. The post proves that there are small changes we can make to our everyday life that ultimately give us the power to help save the environment. Additionally, what really stuck out to me about this post is how realistic and logical the proposed solution is. Among other points made in the post, powder detergent is more eco-friendly and helps to reduce unnecessary water use as it takes less to dissolve than its liquid counterparts. Adding to the many benefits of powder detergent is the fact that its components are, compared to that of liquid detergent, very stable, meaning they have a longer shelf life. Although at first I didn’t understand why this fact was included, monetarily speaking it makes a lot of sense. One is able to purchase powder detergent in bulk, making the already cheap product cheaper.
After reading this blog, I see no reason not to use the powder detergent. It is an extremely simple and attainable solution to an often-overlooked problem. I can honestly say I plan on spreading this knowledge to friends and floor mates who are willing to make an extremely small sacrifice to better the environment.

This is a really great post. Learning that something as far in the back of my mind as the type of detergent I use when I do my laundry has such broad reaching consequences is valuable information. I'll admit I didn't do my laundry until college so I am by no means familiar with the efficient way to do laundry but this post helps a lot with showing me a way to do my laundry that is more beneficial for me and the planet as a whole. Spreading the knowledge of small changes like this is important because it's the small things that add up to make a big difference. Concerning the issue of overuse of water, I think that it should be more common knowledge that we humans do not have an unlimited supply of water at our disposal. The average person does not know that water conservation is extremely important because although there are oceans full of water, it is not the kind of water that we need and use daily. I tell my friends often that we could in our lifetime see wars over clean water. I also plan to tell them of quick facts like this post in order for them to do their part in helping the environment.

I found this blog post so interesting because in fact, I don't use liquid detergents. My mom, just thinking it'd be easier on me being a college student and having to lug my laundry to different floors, thougth it'd be easier for me to actually buy these little sheets. They're kind of like dryer sheets but a little thicker and include all the same components essentially as the liquid detergent. It makes my purchase that much better knowing that I'm helping save some water!
When doing further research, I found that actually, in the UK they waste even more water with laundry by prewashing their clothes. While this is not very common in the US its an interesting find. By prewashing their clothes they're wasting six billion liters of water each year! It just goes to show that there are some things so simple that many may not even think about that are contributing to the water crises we are now undoubtably facing and will continue to face in the years to come if something doesn't change.

References about UK:
Dont-bother-pre-wash-youre-just-wasting-6billion-litres-water-year

It is crazy to me that we still use liquid detergent after reading this article. I never knew that liquid detergent was so bad for our environment. I also did not know the money we could be saving by using powder detergent. I also think that it is much easier to measure a dry detergent to use the correct amount compared to a liquid detergent which seems to be very easy to over measure and overuse. Also as you stated, liquid detergents can ruin a washer all together. They can build up inside the washer and never be cleaned out. Another way we can help the environment when it comes to doing laundry is to buy energy efficient washers. They conserve electricity and water. And we can also start to hang our clothes to dry outside. That saves a lot of money and electricity. It also leaves the clothes smelling natural. We also need to wait to do laundry until we have a complete load of dirty clothes. If we run the washer for small loads we are wasting water and electricity. Most of us do laundry often or will have to do laundry at some time in our life. I encourage everyone to educate yourselves when it comes to doing laundry.

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