8 Tips for Cleaner, Greener Laundry
Whether your goal is to cut down on power bills or keep toxins out of your house, small changes in your laundering regular can add up to large savings — both to the environment and your budget. Obviously, you could purchase a new energy-efficient washer (see No. 4 below), but thankfully that’s only one way to conserve energy (and money) from the laundry room. From adjusting the washing temperature to repairing products, each of these eight tips is totally doable, so you can start greening your laundry routine now.
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1. Wait until you have a full load. Some fresh energy-efficient washers have configurations that use less water to get a smaller load. But if yours doesn’t, be certain to run only heaps that are full. Cutting out one load of laundry per week can add up to significant energy savings over the year.
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2. Swap your regular detergent to get a natural brand. Choosing a non-toxic, biodegradable detergent is a easy measure to decrease the toxins from your house and help safeguard our planet. Mrs. Meyers (shown here) and Seventh Generation are manufacturers that actually operate and have high ecological standards.
3. Wash (nearly) everything in cold water. According to Energy Star, heating the water accounts for 90 percent of the energy used in washing machines. Cold water cleans as effectively as a warm wash, conserves energy, and slows wear and tear on your clothing. Use hot water just when you really need to sanitize something (when there’s been an illness in the home, for instance).
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4. Choose an Energy Star rated washer. If it is time to trade in your washer, be sure to search for a brand new model with the Energy Star label — they use half the water and around 30 percent less energy than standard washers.
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5. Cut down on cleaning. The dry cleaning process uses dangerous chemicals that linger in your clothes after you bring them home, so cutting back on trips to the dry cleaner is a good way to reduce toxins from your house. Try hand-washing some things (or use the hand-wash cycle in your washer) and dry apartment. And try to choose clothing which don’t require dry cleaning. You can even search for a green dry cleaner in your region; they ought to avoid the most damaging dry cleaning compounds, but ask to be sure what approaches they use.
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6. Let delicate garments air dry on a drying rack. Whilst washing machines are becoming quite efficient, dryers still have quite a ways to go — in actuality, they are not rated by Energy Star since there is very little difference among them. Cut down on your dryer usage by air drying lightweight things onto a stand rack. Most delicate things dry quickly and will survive longer if not subjected to the hot atmosphere of the drier.
7. Fight dirt and stains with natural products. Before you reach for that stain-removing stick or bottle of chlorine bleach, try something gentler. Cornstarch and baking soda both work well to soak up oily stains; hydrogen peroxide can take the place of bleach (it is the main ingredient in most non-chlorine bleach merchandise); and white vinegar is fantastic for removing stains and ground-in dirt.
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8. Set up your laundry room for success. Keeping a bathtub for soaking stained things in addition to the washer will let you treat stains promptly. Offer your natural cleaning supplies a house on a container, select a dedicated spot for keeping your drying rack between uses, and also hang a useful stain-removal chart where you can easily refer to it.