Laundry day is more than just a chore, it also takes quite a toll on the environment. Green living expert Terri Bennett shares easy and effective ways to conserve water and energy, even while you brighten whites and soften fabrics.
Laundry day is more than just a chore, it also takes quite a toll on the environment. But, there are easy and effective ways to Do Your Part to conserve water and energy and create less pollution even while you do the laundry. Let’s start with what you put into the washing machine. it’s important to choose a laundry detergent that’s phosphate free. When excess phosphates enter the water supply it acts as a super-charged fertilizer for algae. When algae blooms, it depletes the available oxygen, choking the life out of the surrounding aquatic habitat. It’s also a good idea to seek out plant-based detergents like Seventh Generation, Method, and even Martha Stewart. Many of the conventional laundry detergents are petroleum-based which means they are made in part from crude oil. Don’t use more detergent than you need. Wash only full loads of laundry and with cold water. Making the switch to the cold cycle will save about $60 a year on your power bill because you’ll be giving the hot water heater a break. If you’re looking for a alternative to chlorine bleach, try a product that uses oxygen to naturally enhance the cleaning power of your green detergent. You can also use a cup of hydrogen peroxide to your full load of laundry to brighten your laundry. I’ve got a dirt cheap solution for those who want an eco-friendly fabric softener. Simply add 1/4 cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle or the fabric softener dispenser. It’s absolutely non-toxic and your clothes will come out of the dryer softer because vinegar’s acidic properties help dissolve any soap residue left on your clothing. Don’t worry about smelling like a salad, the smell of vinegar disappears when it dries. As for drying your clothes —there is no such thing as an Energy Star clothes dryer. That’s because they all use an enormous amount of energy. If you want an easy way to slash your utility bill but don’t want or have room for a clothesline, consider an indoor drying rack. This one is made by WindowDry and takes seconds to put up and take down. It also holds a full load of laundry. Do Your Part to clean up your laundry routine and you’ll feel better about the whole dirty business!