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Tips for Sustainable Living

What is clean? How often should I wash my clothes?

“… the Báb consistently emphasizes the idea of purification. All levels of reality, from the material body to the human heart, must be purified. Natural resources must be preserved in the utmost purity.”

Nader Saiedi, The Gate of the Heart, p. 315

One of the Bahá’i teachings is physical cleanliness. It is good to be aware that our personal cleanliness comes at some cost to the environment. Washing clothes requires water and energy. In many areas of the world, water is scarce, and energy production from fossil fuels is polluting our air and water, which contributes to climate change. Detergents and fabric softeners contribute to environmental pollution.

Nader Saiedi wrote in The Gate of the Heart: “The Báb turns the idea of the purity of water into the protection of the environment. In the Persian Bayan He writes: ‘Nothing is more beloved before God than to keep water in a state of the utmost purity, to such extent that if a believer should become aware that the glass of water he holdeth in his hand hath passed through any impure parts of the earth, he would be grieved.’ In other words, it is implicitly necessary that all streams, lakes, and seas through which the water passes be clean.”

We can conclude that we need moderation in washing our clothes. Some clothes we can wear several days, and some, such as jeans or sweaters that haven’t been soiled, for several weeks. The time you save with washing you can invest in hang drying your laundry which will contribute even more to keep nature in the pure state so desired by the Báb.

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