When it comes to eco-friendly living, one of the areas many people is overlook is laundry. While updating to a high-efficiency washer and dryer or even replacing a motorized washer with a manual hand-operated model will provide outstanding results, there are easier, more affordable ways to integrate eco-friendly practices into your laundry routine. Best of all, these ways to go green will not leave your wallet or arms sore at the end of the day.
Eco-Friendly Laundry Tip #1: Wash in Cold Water
The majority of energy use associated with running a washing machine is directly related to heating water. By switching to cold water, you can drastically reduce the cost and carbon footprint of keeping your clothes sparkling clean. Using a detergent specifically designed for cold water use can help to provide results that are comparable to washing your clothes in hot water. Better yet, washing in cold water helps to keep colors vibrant and prevent wearing or shrinkage as well.
Eco-Friendly Laundry Tip #2: Wash Larger Loads
You might be surprised at the true capacity of your washer or dryer. Check the manual or operating instructions and attempt to run loads that are near capacity. This will reduce the number of loads that you wash per week and provide savings for water, detergent and energy. Sorting your laundry by material or weight can also improve drying times and overall efficiency. If you must wash a smaller load, be sure to set the load size on your washing machine accordingly.
Eco-Friendly Laundry Tip #3: Check Your Dryer Exhaust
Clothes dryers are one of the biggest energy hogs in the modern home. This is particularly true of older models that lack moisture sensors and other high-tech features. To optimize the efficiency of your drier, always check and clean the lint trap between loads. Periodic inspection of any ducting and vent covers will also improve performance. When ducts become clogged or vents become damaged, this not only creates a potential safety hazard, but causes the drier to work harder as well. All of this results in increased energy costs and greater impact on the environment.
Eco-Friendly Laundry Tip #4: Line Dry When Possible
Whether you are stringing clothes up over the bathtub or hanging them out in the yard, line drying your clothes provides substantial energy savings over virtually all electric or gas clothes dryers. If you must choose to line dry only specific clothing types, choosing heavier materials, such as denim or terrycloth, will yield greater savings. By hanging clothes immediately after washing has completed, you can reduce wrinkles as well. If space or time restrictions do not allow line drying, stopping the dryer once clothes slightly damp can still shave a surprising amount off your overall footprint and energy usage.
Eco-Friendly Laundry Tip #5: Buy Natural, Concentrated Detergents
Laundry detergents were not always made of fancy chemicals that are impossible to pronounce. Common household ingredients, such as baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice and peroxide, make great laundry boosters and detergents. Many companies now offer store-bought detergents that utilize these ingredients as well. By utilizing natural ingredients, you reduce the chemicals in wastewater and prevent the introduction of certain chemicals, such as chlorine, into the environment. By buying concentrated detergents and using them properly, you are reducing the amount of packaging that collects in landfills as well.
Any one of these five simple tips can reduce your energy bills and the impact your household laundry habits have on the environment. When combined, the results will surprise you. By changing just a few habits, you can help to save the environment while also saving money.
About The Author: Karen Miller has been a green cleaning expert, writing for various blogs and news sites online for over 10 years. When not writing, you can find Sarah at home with her family or at the gym working out. Find out more.