10 ways to green your laundry… (without a random sock!)

landry bsktLaundry… oh, laundry.  Just the thought makes me sigh.  It is probably one of my least favorite of all the home “duties”, but it’s also unavoidable.  Unless I want to send my husband and kids (and myself!) off with stinky, wrinkled clothes, it’s gotta happen!

There are plenty of habits that can make laundry time very eco-UNfriendly, so here are 10 simple ways to make laundry day a little greener:

  1. Make sure the laundry actually NEEDS to be done.  Stop the habit of putting on something for a few hours and then tossing it in the laundry basket.  If it can be reworn before a washing, hang it up or put it away immediately… and teach everyone else in the house the same good habit. (By the way, a great “wrinkle remover” is a simple spray bottle of water.  Mist the wrinkles, smooth by hand and hang to dry… it works!)
  2. Load to capacity.  Forget those mini-loads… wash only when you can fill the machine to capacity.  Also be sure to dry similar fabrics together so they dry in similar amounts of time.  (Towels and tees don’t dry at the same rate, so this will needlessly run the dryer extra long!)
  3. Choose eco-friendly detergents.  Skip the harsh ingredients in the most popular brands of detergents and, instead, choose those with biodegradable content made of plant or vegetable based ingredients (I’m a Method girl, by the way!).wshr & dryer
  4. Wash on warm/cold cycles.  Forget that the hot setting even exists (since 90% of the washer’s energy consumption comes from heating the water!).  In fact, if all U.S. households switched from hot/hot cycles to warm/cold, we could save energy comparable to 100,000 barrels of oil a day!
  5. Choose appropriate settings.  No need to put every load on an extended, hour-long wash.  If what’s inside isn’t heavily soiled, choose a shorter wash cycle.
  6. Skip the dryer sheets or use only those with natural ingredients and biodegradable fibers.  Better yet, use dryer balls… I recommend Wool Dryer Balls, to soften the fabric and speed the drying time.  Even white vinegar added during the washer’s rinse cycle can soften fabric.
  7. Use your auto-dry button! If your dryer has this setting, use it!  It will shut off when the contents are dry and you won’t continue to tumble already dry clothes for an extra 15 minutes!
  8. When weather or circumstance permits, consider hanging your laundry to dry.  It may sound very 1950s, but it’s actually very environment to skip all of that energy usage.  But when you are using the dryer, make sure the lint traps and vents are clean so the air properly circulates and you are drying most efficiently.
  9. When it comes time to replace a washer, choose a front-loading version.  They use 50-60% less water, 50% less energy to heat the water and have a greater capacity than top-loading versions.  Plus, because they spin faster, they extract more water from the laundry and this, in turn, reduces your dryer time.
  10. Batch your laundry.  Take advantage of the heat that’s already been generated and do a couple loads in a row.

You may or may not dread laundry as much as I do, but if you follow these simple tips, it’s will not only keep your laundry green and clean, it will keep your conscious free and clear!

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"Going green" has always been a part of my daily life. It began, as a little girl, when I helped my mom gather the recyclables and deliver them to a recycling center. It continues today, as a mom myself, when I teach my own children those same responsible virtues.

There are so many more facets of going green in the modern day, and the definition of the term reaches far beyond simple recycling. But going green isn't just about installing solar panels on your rooftop... it's about all the little choices that make the biggest difference. From food choices, to cleaning your home, to saving money on your monthly utility bills and consumption; the choices are vast.

However, there is a popular misconception that "going green" will "cost you green." We're inundated with green products, eco-friendly formulas, organics and mountains of options, making it seem that going green is an investment rather than an opportunity.

Well, I'm here to help dispel that myth and actually show you all of the ways you can live green, keep your family healthy, and benefit the environment without sacrificing anything, including your money.

When you make wise choices to gain the most benefit, relieve the burden on the environment, and save money to use elsewhere, everyone wins. You've already taken the first step. You've come here for help to make it happen.

Put these tips into action, and you will soon find that you can "save green" while you "go green"!

6 thoughts on “10 ways to green your laundry… (without a random sock!)

  1. You have a wonderful blog, and I really enjoy reading it! As a fellow mom who is doing her part to go green and create a healthy living environment for my daughter, I understand the struggles that you face. I understand the obstacles as well as the learning experiences involved in this process, and that’s why I wanted to share some insight I’ve found with you. I have read the book Healthy Baby Happy Home found at http://www.healthybabyhappyhome.com/ and think that you might be interested in it as well.
    This book comes from caring parents who took the time to research and understand what is good for our baby’s environment, and what can be harmful. This not only takes the guesswork out of the equation, but also opens your eyes to all of the potential harm that lurks within our homes.
    You have a great following and some excellent things to say, and I thought that you and your followers could greatly benefit from this book. I know that it’s allowed me to breathe a sigh of relief as a mom striving to create the healthiest possible home for my little one. I hope you find it to be as helpful as I have, and that it will be a great find for you!

  2. You may not need that dryer at all…

    Big energy savings can be had with the right combination of laundry equipment. The new front-load washers not only use less water, but they do not need hot water AND the spin the clothes out so fast that they come out almost dry.

    Then just take those ‘almost dry’ clothes and hang them up on a clothes drying rack like this one. If you get in the habit of doing one load each evening then there is plenty of time to let them hang dry overnight under the ceiling fan without having to work around the rack.

    Clean dry laundry with very little water usage, less equipment cost, and great energy savings!

  3. Pingback: » Peroxide vs. bleach: the greener alternative - Mom Goes Green

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