Washing machines and dryers are high energy usage appliances. And when you have a family that requires doing multiple loads of laundry in any given week, this can eat into your monthly electricity, gas, and water bill. And when you factor in your attempts to be eco-friendly, keep your clothes and linens looking fresh while curtailing your energy usage can be a challenge.
Because we want to encourage your green living habits, we’ve gathered up eight top eco-friendly laundry tips to help you keep up with your laundry loads while making smarter choices for both your pocket book, and the environment.
1) Wash in Cold Water
Believe it or not, most of the energy used to wash clothing comes from heating the water! Whether your water heated by electricity or gas, consider only using it when you really, really need to – for extra-soiled laundry. A cold water wash works fine, and you’ll also avoid shrinking fabrics that don’t react well to hot water.
2) Leave Out the Jeans
Denim is made to be durable, so avoid washing your jeans after one wear! Extend their lifespan and reduce your laundry loads by sending your jeans through the wash only after three to four wears, especially if you don’t work outdoors in them.
3) Hang Dry
It should go without saying to your average green living practitioner that hanging your clothes to dry on a line is much more energy-efficient than using an electric dryer. All you really need is a simple rope, bag of clothespins, some sunshine, and a breeze! Other tips for hang-drying include:
- It’s better for your clothing than tumbling in a dryer, as the fibers will last longer and remain stronger than being heated and tumbled over time;
- If your towels are white, the sun will act as a natural bleaching agent, keeping your items bright and white; and
- If you live in an apartment where you’re unable to hang up a long rope, then purchase a clothes horse where you can hang dry a few items of clothing at once, in a compact space.
4) Hand Wash on Vacation
If you’re on vacation and need some clean items of clothing, avoid heading to the laundromat, and wash your items in the sink of your hotel room. A simple basin of water and regular soap will do the trick and uses far less water than a full load of washing.
5) Skip the Dry Cleaning
When possible, avoid the dry cleaners. Yes, some clothing does prefer to be “dry cleaned,” but the multiple extra costs involved aren’t good for the environment. This includes: paying someone else to do your laundry, the gas required to drive to the dry cleaners, the plastic covers, and the disposable hangers . Be selective about what you “need” to send to the dry cleaners and then hand wash and hang dry those delicate items you normally pay to dry clean.
6) Buy Energy Star Appliances
If it’s time to purchase new laundry appliances, then buying Energy Star products is a must. They save energy, save money, and help reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants at the source by using between 10 and 50 percent less energy than regular appliances.
7) Reduce Your Loads
Cutting back on just one load of washing each week can save both energy and money. Reduce how much you wash, and combine your load items where possible.
8) Ditch the Dryer Sheets
Dryer sheets are loaded with synthetic fragrances, and they’re not recyclable. What you’re left with is more waste for the landfill. Do you really need your clothes to take on a false chemical smell? There are alternatives available including natural dryer sheets from eco-friendly manufacturers and dryer balls.
Do you have any recommended eco-friendly laundry tips? Share with us in the comments!