Eco-Friendly Laundry Tips to Save Your Pocket and the Planet

One thing is certain, sheets need washing. And although slipping into freshly washed bed linen at the end of the day gives us the perfect ‘ahh’ moment, doing your laundry isn’t always the tick in the ‘doing all we can’ box we’d like it to be.  From optical brighteners to synthetic microfibers, doing your laundry can be a dirty business, pouring toxins into our water streams and drinking up valuable resources in the process. But hold on to your laundry basket, there's hope!

We believe it's our job to do all we can to help the environment by sharing with you small but impactful tips. Just a few tweaks to your habits and you too can help reduce your carbon footprint, lower your energy bills and save the environment, while still keeping your bed linen stain-free, colour-strong and smelling sweet.

Tackle Tricky Stains with Homemade Help


Saving energy during your laundry routine starts before you turn the washing machine on. Pre-treating any stains will help make sure you don’t waste energy by washing heavily soiled items twice or at a higher temperature than needed.  The key to stain removal is speed. The quicker you treat the stain, the more likely it is to come out in one wash. 

Unfortunately, conventional detergents, stain removers and dryer sheets are some of the most toxic cleaning products on the market, full of artificial fragrances (what on earth does a 'Blue Sky' smell like anyway?!) and unpronounceable ingredients. Luckily, there's no shortage of environmentally friendly, skin-kind alternatives hidden in your kitchen cupboard, perfect for making mucky marks vanish like magic. 

For one, good old white vinegar is a real miracle worker for eliminating stains and odours, as well as being inexpensive, gentle on natural fibres and safer to use than chlorine-based bleach. Try soaking your blemished bedding for half an hour in a diluted mix before putting them through a cold wash cycle and line-drying. However, if you're looking to brighten your dulled and yellowed whites, give lemon juice a go, while applying baking soda to the offending spot adds extra welly to send it on its way.  Another little miracle worker you're likely to have handy is salt; it's great as a quick fix for any oil based stains if you're out and about.  

If you feel those stubborn stains need a little more attention, then the Wilton London Oxy Laundry Bleach is safe and effective on many types of stain without containing any nasties that will damage your bed linen or the environment. 

For more detail on how to remove specific stains take a quick look at this page [link to STAINS]. 

Green Cleaning

As bills rise into the winter, there are a few quick tips to remember when it’s laundry day. There are more ways to save energy than using your machine's eco-setting. 

  • First, you can cut down the number of washes you do, by ensuring the machine is full before running. We know it’s tempting when you want to wear that one top to dinner, but it’s best to hold off and wait until your laundry basket is full.  If there is one piece of clothing you want to refresh, you can do this by hanging it up outside, or putting it in the freezer for 20 minutes to kill any smells. Spot cleaning is the way to go for pieces like denim and knitwear that don’t need a regular wash. Washing less will also increase the longevity of your items, so it saves money on energy bills and on replacements. 

  • Make sure your laundry basket is full before laundry day. Washing full loads will mean putting on fewer washes and saving energy.  But be careful not to overfill the machine, as this might mean your items won’t get a proper clean and might have to go in for a second cycle. Just ensure you can fit your full hand on top of the load before the machine goes on, giving room for the items to be properly cleaned. This way you won’t have to wash twice or go onto a hotter setting. 

  • Washing on cold is arguably the best way to make your laundry routine more sustainable. Going down to 20 instead of 30 degrees uses much less energy, and it will still clean your washing effectively (especially when using Wilton). If stains are pre-treated, they won’t need a wash above 30. According to research conducted by Ariel and the Energy Savings Trust, if every house in Greater London switched from 40°C to 30°C throughout the year, they could save enough energy to rotate the London Eye 2.3 million times. Makes you dizzy, doesn't it?  And while the thought of germs might be making you toss and turn, hot water doesn't actually kill more bacteria than cold, in fact, it can damage your bed linen's good looks in the long term, shrinking the fabric, fading colours and making stains stick.

  • Choose your quick washes wisely. For heavier soiled items, a quick wash won’t do the trick. But quick and cold washes are great for less dirty items. Quick washes also reduce the release of microfibres from clothing, which can be harmful to your machine and the planet. 

Ditch the Dryer and Catch a Breeze

Tumble driers are one of the most energy-consuming utilities in the home, but drying laundry can feel never-ending without using it. So, here’s how to speed up your drying in an energy efficient way. 

  •  Call us old-fashioned, but a washing line of laundry gives us quite a lot of pleasure.  The sun's naturally-antibacterial rays do a fabulous job of freshening up your bed linen.

  • Use the spin cycle. Popping your items on for a quick spin cycle after the wash helps remove that little bit more moisture, making them dry much quicker on the rack or line and saving energy on tumble drying. 

  • If the weather really isn't playing ball, hang your items on a drying rack, positioned next to the radiator. Putting items on the radiator will speed up drying, but it will also reduce the heat that gets to your home, so you might have to boost the heating higher than needed. 

  • Drying outside in the colder months might seem a little odd, but the cool air and wind will dry your items, even on an overcast day. Just keep shoes next to the door, and a keen eye out for any rain clouds. 

  • If you don’t have outside space, a good hack is to open the window a crack (if the heating isn’t on!) and hang your items up on a hanger on the curtain rail. The open window will also help aerate the room and make sure you don’t get any damp. 

  • If you are tumble drying, make sure to clean your lint trap first as it will allow air to flow better, drying the load quicker.  You can also add dryer balls (or tennis balls!) to the drum to speed up drying. This allows more air to circulate, and the items will dry quicker, and they also make towels and bedding super soft.  You can even pop a few drops of essential oil on them before they go in the machine and ta-dah, wonderfully scented laundry, naturally.  You can buy dryer balls easily nowadays but here’s a little recipe to make your very own dryer balls if you’re feeling crafty.

  • If you have lots of laundry, dry each load directly one after the other. The residual heat after each load will speed up drying and reduce energy costs a little. 

Pull the Plug on Plastic Pollution

Plastic pollution comes in many different forms, but probably the most prolific and hardest to prevent are microfibers. Every time you launder a synthetic garment, made from the likes of polyester, acrylic or nylon, thousands of microscopic pieces of plastic (thinner than a human hair!) are washed away with the rinse water, flushed into our oceans and ingested by marine life. Scarily, researchers have found these fibres strewn across the globe, from the deepest depths of the Mariana Trench to the uninhabitable Arctic tundra back to the food on our plates; these particles are everywhere.

The soundest switch you can make is swapping polyester sheets for those woven from natural materials, such as 100% cotton or linen, as their fibres break down easily over time. Other ways to stop the shed include separating your laundry into heavy and light items to reduce the amount of agitation in your washer or washing synthetics with a gentler detergent, like Wilton London's Eco Laundry Liquid, on a 'Delicate' setting. You can also buy filter devices like the Guppyfriend Washing Bag that collects fibres before they can escape, which while not an end-all solution, reduces the amount of plastic going down your drain and raises awareness about the issue.

Considering the packaging of our laundry detergent should also be a priority as there are so many alternatives to plastic.  Rather than buying small plastic containers of laundry liquid, why not buy in bulk and simply top up your existing containers?  Or perhaps experiment with laundry sheets or tablets that come in recycled cardboard packaging.  There are countless environmentally-friendly options out there and, if you haven't already, consider stepping away from your plastic-heavy purchases and try something new.

Wilton London has some gorgeous Eco Laundry Capsules that contain the same delicious ingredients as their laundry liquid but are biodegradable and come in plastic free packaging. 

A happier, healthier planet starts in our homes.

We would love to hear from you if you have any environmental laundry tips to share with us, so please do get in touch.  There is always more we can do. It’s the small changes that will make a difference.