Green Laundry Tips: Save Money and Help the Planet! by Georgie Lowery

It’s better to have loved and lost than to have to do forty pounds of laundry a week.”
– Laurence J. Peter, Canadian Educator and founder of the “Peter Principle”

“Going green” no longer has tree-hugging hippie connotations. Green living is becoming less of an exception and more the norm. Not only are people recycling on a scale never seen before, but ordinary folks are looking for ways to protect their environment on a large scale as well. Buying recycled items is becoming popular as is composting and more thoughtful shopping. As we buy the things our household needs, we’re more concerned with harmful ingredients and bio-degradable packaging to the extent that many larger companies are changing the way they produce and package their goods.

You know you should recycle your pop bottles and beer cans, but do you do it? In 2004, an estimated 55 billion recyclable aluminum cans were sent to landfills. An average 2,200 square foot home uses over two miles worth of lumber, if those boards were laid end to end. We also generate 2.1 million pounds of wasted food every year. Every year. The impact of these and other practices are too heavy to be completely comprehended.

There are things that you can do, right now, to help save your planet. Recycle. Compost. Reuse. Upcycle. Repurpose. These terms are popping up everywhere. Who knew that saving the planet could be so trendy?

One thing that many people do not think about, however, is green laundry. Though using environmentally friendly detergent is definitely a step in the right direction, there is much, much more that you can do – and many of these steps can save you a bundle of money in the long run!

Tips For Green Laundry Efficiency

These aren’t all of the things you can do to get make your laundry greener, but they are the most important.

  • Quit using your dryer. After your fridge, your dryer sucks up more electricity than any other appliance. Also, the heat can be bad for your clothes. Line dry as much as you can. If you don’t have access to an outside clothesline, get a drying rack and dry your clothes indoors.
  • Use an extra spin cycle. If you have to use your dryer, this will save on the amount of time it takes to get your clothes dry. Note: Do not do this with delicates, as this may stretch them out.
  • Use eco-friendly detergent.There are a lot of brands out there that are great for the environment. Also, when it comes time to buy more, buy the refiller packs instead of another big, plastic jug. You can buy concentrated soap that also reduces the amount of waste in our landfills, and it’s usually cheaper!
  • Wash in cold water only. Hot water should be reserved only for whites or the grungiest of the grungy.
  • Don’t overload the washer. If you put too much in the washer, your clothes won’t get as clean as they should. Then you’ll have to wash them again!
  • Don’t use small loads. Washing just one or two items uses just as much energy and water as running a full load. Wait until you have enough dirty clothes to fill the bin.
  • Wear your clothes more often between washings. Some of you might think “gross.” Seriously, though, there isn’t a point in washing anything if you’ve only worn it once and really haven’t gotten it dirty. Obviously, socks and underwear don’t get reused. Gross. Bonus: You’ll also save wear and tear on your clothes. The agitator in your washer and the heating element in your dryer often do your clothing a disservice.
  • Don’t dry clean. You can get a kit to spruce up your dry clean only clothes right at home in your dryer. Yes, you are using electricity, but you don’t want to know what kinds of chemicals your friendly neighborhood dry cleaner is using on your clothes. You can avoid this all together by not buying clothes that have to be dry cleaned in the first place!
  • Replace your old laundry machines. Your old top-loading washer can use up to 20 gallons more water than one of the newer, front-loading units. If you have an ancient dryer, buying one with a moisture censor is absolutely the way to go. This will save on drying time and increase the life of your clothing.
  • Don’t iron. Some of you may be thanking me for this one, and some of you are likely considering throwing something at me. These little appliances use a surprising amount of energy, and they can also damage the fibers of your clothing. Your best bet is to hang up or fold your laundry right after it is dried to keep the wrinkles away. You can solve this by buying clothing that doesn’t wrinkle. Try what’s being called “travel” clothing these days.

Remember that not everything advertised as eco-friendly really is. Do your research before buying or using anything in your laundry to make sure that it does not have any adverse affects to the environment or your family. It only takes a few minutes to search products and services online to see if other users have had issues with them.

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