How to Green Your Laundry Routine
These days, it's especially important to choose eco-friendly and sustainable practices as often as possible. Cleaning around the home, especially related to laundry, is a perfect place to create a more "green" routine. Follow these simple tips and you’ll be a bona-fide green, cleaning expert:
Ditch the Chemicals
Opt for homemade solutions or more natural products. The internet is a mecca for homemade detergent recipes. Just google “homemade detergent” and you’ll get hundreds of websites and blogs with different recipes and reviews. Experiment with one until you find a keeper. An added bonus is that the main ingredients are so cheap that the average cost per load is around $.05, that’s 1/5 the cost of commercial brands.
For fabric softener, add ½ cup of white vinegar to your loads. I could write an entire article just on the benefits of using white vinegar in the wash. I’ll save you from the boring details and just sum it up; it brightens, whitens, softens, disinfects, reduces static and fights stains. When you use white vinegar in the wash you do NOT need to use any other softener. Just like homemade detergent it is way cheaper than commercial products
Stains can be removed with various home remedies. What you use will depend on the stain. I like to use a mixture of 1 part baking soda, 1 part white vinegar, and 1 part hot water. This will form a paste that can be applied to most stains.
Air or Hang Dry More Items
It’s estimated that dryers account for 5.8% of your household’s energy usage. That’s more than any other appliance in your home. You can easily lower your energy consumption by using a drying rack during the cold seasons and line dry in the spring/summer.
Aside from the environmental benefits it is also better for your clothes. Agitation from the dryer is harsh on fabrics and the heat can cause static cling. Air-drying your clothes allows the moisture to naturally dissipate and clothes keep their shape longer when they are not spin-dried. I’ve also heard from many people who line dry that the sun acts as bleach to their whites. One more laundry product you can drop!
Want to keep your laundry baskets permanently empty?
Wear it More Than Once
While certain items such as underwear, gym clothes, socks need to be washed after each wear... other items can wait to be tossed into the hamper. Jeans are great example of this. Denim is meant to be extremely durable and actually fit BETTER with several wears between washing. Frequent washing causes the denim to lose its form-fitting quality and will fade out the color over time. Wash your jeans only after they’ve been worn a 8-12 of times (or when they are soiled with dirt or mud). Between washes, hang in the closet to air out and spot clean small stains when needed and hang Other items that should be re-worn multiple times include sweaters, jackets, sweatshirts, and pajamas. Of course use your judgement...if it’s stinky or has stains, it’s hamper time.
Wash on Cold
Most of your energy usage in the laundry process comes from heating up the water (90%!). Contrary to popular belief, it’s not always necessary to wash everything on hot. And sometimes the heat can even be a detriment. Heat can wreak havoc on many types of clothing. It can cause dyes to bleed out and break down the integrity of fabrics. Only wash 1 out of every 5 loads in hot water. Whenever possible, wash the majority of your laundry with cool or tap temp water.
Only Wash Full Loads
Washing only a half load is a waste of water and electricity. Make sure you are loading your washer up to 3/4 full. For more specific load capacity recommendations, be sure to consult your washer’s user manual.