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plastic-free laundry room interior

How To: Zero Waste Laundry

Confused by all the plastic-free laundry options on the market today? We’ve got you covered. Read on to learn more about how to achieve a zero-waste laundry routine.


The Truth About “Plastic-Free” Detergent

If you’ve already started your zero-waste laundry journey, chances are you’ve used a “plastic-free” detergent, like pods, strips, or sheets. But don’t be fooled: these products aren’t actually plastic-free! Products like these are made possible by a type of plastic called polyvinyl alcohol, or PVA. 

While PVA can be fully biodegradable, specific conditions are needed for that to happen, and those conditions don’t exist in typical wastewater treatment centers. In fact, PVA is so undetectable by these systems that up to 75% of the plastic in detergent pods ends up entering the environment. Not only are these microplastics entering human and animal bodies, but PVA has been shown to sequester heavy metals and disrupt crop yields.

TLDR: laundry pods, strips, and sheets are NOT plastic-free, and they are not good for the environment or for your health.


Sustainable Laundry Products

The best way to achieve a plastic-free laundry room is to go with a dry detergent that doesn’t require plastic packaging. Here are some options we love:

pile of 4 wool dryer balls next to a linen-lined wicker laundry basket

Dryer sheets are also a zero-waste no-no, especially since they are made of plastic. If you’re looking for a plastic-free dryer sheet replacement, try these out:

  • Wool dryer balls
  • DIY aluminum foil balls to combat static cling
  • Dampen a washcloth with vinegar and throw into the dryer
  • Reusable dryer sheets


Cheers to a clean, plastic-free laundry routine!



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