Washing your clothes with something that looks like a dryer sheet may seem strange at first. But these highly concentrated strips dissolve in water and contain enough detergent to do a full load of laundry. That means there are no messy or inaccurate pours to worry about and no need to lug a heavy bottle of detergent home from the store.
Many brands are also made of environmentally friendly ingredients and come in lightweight packaging that makes them perfect for traveling. But perhaps the biggest pro of all is that laundry strips are plastic free. Because, if you’re like me, throwing out that giant plastic jug every month or two leaves me with a dirty conscience, albeit clean clothes.
Before we go over the particulars of how they work, let’s talk about the benefits of laundry detergent strips in more detail.
Our Favorite Laundry Strips:
Many Laundry Detergent Strips Are Made with Natural Ingredients
While traditional detergents are a great way to get your clothes clean, many are made with toxic ingredients that don’t biodegrade. That means when they’re flushed out of your washer, they end up in our ecosystem, where they can harm aquatic life.
Many laundry strips, on the other hand, are made of plant-based, biodegradable ingredients that are easier on the planet and also more gentle on sensitive skin.
Laundry Strips Come in Plastic-Free Packaging
Because laundry strips contain no liquid, they’re usually packaged in cardboard or paper, which is much easier to recycle. And while you can throw that plastic bottle of conventional detergent in the recycling bin, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be recycled into a new product.
Why? According to a report by the Last Beach Cleanup and Beyond Plastic, plastic waste per person in the USA has increased by 263% since1980, and American facilities simply don’t have the capacity to recycle it.
The report further elaborates that 85% of plastics end up in landfills, and 10% are incinerated. This means only about 5% are recycled into new products. And even when they are recycled, about one-third of the material from PET bottles is discarded.
eco-friendly laundry detergent strips
In other words, anything you can do to cut down on plastics and move towards a zero waste lifestyle is a step toward a healthier planet.
Laundry Strips Have a Smaller Carbon Footprint
Cutting down on plastics also helps to reduce carbon emissions because of the petrochemicals that are used in the manufacturing process. And because laundry detergent sheets are so much lighter than laundry detergent, they’re also easier to transport, which cuts down on fuel consumption and emissions.
How to Use Laundry Strips
Using laundry strips is super simple. They can be used in top-loading, front-loading and even high-efficiency washing machines.
For a regular load, toss the strip into the washer at the beginning of the cycle. When water hits the drum, it will be dissolved. Although laundry strips don’t create any suds, relax, they’re still cleaning.
If you’re doing a smaller load, you can use half a strip. But if your clothes are heavily soiled, you may want to use two strips.
Laundry strips can also be used for handwashing by tearing them in half, dissolving them in a glass of water and then adding the liquid to your laundry.
Great, But Do They Work?
If all of that sounds great, but you’re still wondering if a strip of laundry soap can clean your clothes, the answer is yes. Independent reviewers and hundreds of online customers attest to the fact that these handy little sheets actually do have just as much cleaning power as liquid detergent.
Although results between brands and individual users vary somewhat, the general consensus is that laundry strips are a legitimate alternative to clean your clothes and cut back on plastic waste.
Still feeling suspect? It may interest you to know that conventional, non-concentrated laundry detergents are 60 to 90% water! And concentrated formulas are anywhere from 15 to 50% water. In other words, those big bottles are a lot of show and may not necessarily mean more cleaning power.
Is There a Downside?
The main downside to laundry strips seems to be their cost. To give you an idea, a 32-count of popular brand Tru Earth laundry strips (which translates to 32 regular loads) costs about $17 on Amazon.
Meanwhile, you can purchase a 32-load bottle of Tide for around $7.50. That makes the laundry strips double the cost in this comparison. Although some laundry strips can be bought on a subscription basis which will bring their price down slightly, you can expect to pay more to keep your clothes and your conscience clean.
The other thing to be aware of is that while some consumers say their strips dissolve well, others complain that some strips don’t dissolve completely., especially in cold water. If you decide to try laundry strips and find that’s the case, it’s recommended to tear the strips into smaller pieces or even dissolve them in a glass of water before adding them to your laundry.
Laundry Strips to Try
Ready to give laundry strips a go? Here are a couple of brands you may want to check out.
Tru Earth is one of the most well-established brands in the laundry strips market. Their fragrance free strips are hypoallergenic and gentle enough for sensitive skin (in fact, they’re certified by independent dermatologists).
These strips dissolve in both cold and hot water and are also paraben-free, phosphate free and contain no 1,4-dioxane. These strips are also vegan-friendly as they have no animal-based ingredients and are not tested on animals.
Unlike some strips, they’re also manufactured in Canada and not China. While Chinese manufactured strips may still be good quality, the fact that they have to be transported so far makes them less eco friendly.
These eco-friendly laundry strips are free of parabens, phthalates, perfume and dye and are also vegan. But we especially like these strips because they’re carbon negative. Lazy Coconuts actually partnered with reputable organizations to audit their supply chain and offset 960 gCO2e per pack.
In other words, this company goes the extra mile to keep your clothes and the planet clean.
It All Comes Out in The Wash
If you want to take solid action toward a better planet but still want that fresh linen smell, laundry strips will clean your clothes with fewer and healthier ingredients than most conventional detergents. That means fewer phosphates and other non-biodegradable ingredients that end up in our waterways.
They’re also lightweight and take up less space in your laundry room. But one of the biggest pros to laundry strips is that they’re a smart way to cut back on single-use plastics in your life. And that will make you feel cleaner inside and out.
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