Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Little Environmentally Friendly Laundry Changes: Part 1

You know, I see commercials for these huge energy efficient washers and dryers, and I start to covet them. They're so shiny and big. Big enough to do all of the jeans my family of four wears in a week at once. My husband and I both work from home - there's a lot of jeans wearing in my house.

New laundry appliances are no where in my immediate future, and I'm stuck with an old washer and slightly less older dryer. But that doesn't mean I can't take some deliberate measures to make doing the laundry a little more environmentally friendly. Here are some things that I do, and anyone can do, regardless of the size and age of the washer and dryer.

1. Use a more eco-friendly laundry detergent. There are many eco-friendly laundry detergents on the market, and if you can afford them, that's great. But if you can't afford the higher priced detergents, there are still regular products that are better than others. The detergents that are labeled "free and clear" are better choices environmentally than those with dyes and perfumes. The chemicals used for the fragrances and colors in the detergents are harmful to the environment. By simply buying the free and clear detergents, you're helping out just a little bit.

2. Buy a highly concentrated laundry detergent. They come in smaller packages and wash the same amount of laundry as a larger bottle. Less plastic is used in the packaging so there is less waste.

3. Always recycle your detergent bottles.

4. Wait for a full load before you run the washer, if possible. You'll use less water and less energy.

5. If you have to run a load without the washer being full, adjust the water level appropriately. Sometimes I need to run a load because one of the boys needs a karate or soccer uniform washed or I may HAVE to wear a certain pair of jeans. When that happens, I fill the washer as much as possible, but I make sure to adjust the water level and the amount of detergent I'm putting in the washer. 

6. Use cold water as often as possible. It takes a lot of energy to heat the hot water for a load of laundry. If you can use cold, do so. The only time I use hot water anymore is when I'm doing a particularly smelly load of towels or washing bedding after a sickness.

7. Stay away from harsh cleaners such as bleach. If you must have your whites sparkling white, try soaking them in a solution of one part hydrogen peroxide to eight parts cold water overnight. 

So if, like me, you can't go out and exchange your energy inefficient appliances immediately, don't fret. Do what you can do, and know that today, you're being a little greener, and every little bit helps.

Tomorrow, in Part 2, I'll talk about being a little more environmentally friendly when drying clothes. In the meantime, if you've got any suggestions to add, leave them in the comments.
Stumble Upon Toolbar

No comments: