Did you know that whether you do a couple of loads of laundry a week or a dozen, eventually nearly all your laundry products make their way into the world's waterways?
No matter how much you'd like to avoid doing laundry, that just isn't going to happen. So, this week's Re: tips will help you reduce your impact on the waterways whenever you take on that favorite chore. They can even save you a little time and some money.
All images via The Graphics Fairy
- About 80% to 90% of the energy used for washing clothes goes to heating the water. Turn the dial to cold for clothing, which makes up the majority of laundry in most households. Hot is best for bed linens and towels, though.
- Choose the shortest wash cycle possible. Unless you're washing heavily soiled items such as muddy sports uniforms, you don't need to use a long cycle. Saves time and money.
- Don't run the washer until you have a full load. One large load is more energy efficient that two smaller loads. Even the most energy-efficient machines use about 40 gallons of water per load. If you reduce the number of loads you wash by washing larger loads, you save time, water and money.
- Select natural laundry products. A good place to start is to avoid detergents with labels that carry the words "warning," "danger" or "poison." Avoid chlorine bleach and boost your cleaning power by adding a little baking soda or hydrogen peroxide to a natural detergent. Skip the fabric softener and add a 1/2 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle. Or, make your own laundry detergent. There are many recipes available on-line. Mother Nature Network has some recipes you can try.
- Add only the amount of detergent recommended on the packaging. Your machine runs less efficiently when it contains more bubbles.
- If you live in a humid area of the country, use the highest spin speed to remove as much moisture as possible before transferring laundry to the dryer. This reduces drying time and saves energy.
- Hang your laundry to dry, when possible. You will save energy (therefore, money) and extend the life of your clothing by saving wear-and-tear on the fabric.
- If you must machine dry your laundry, don't over dry. Did you know fabric fibers can become brittle, which results in faster deterioration?
- Clean the dryer filter after each use. Also be sure your outside dryer vent is clean and free from obstructions. These steps will help your dryer work more efficiently and help prevent fire.
- Whenever possible, do back-to-back loads of laundry on one day instead of spreading the loads out over multiple days. This will allow you to take advantage of retained heat from previous loads, reducing your total energy use. You got it--saves you money.
Sorry, I can't help you avoid doing your laundry, but perhaps these tips will encourage you to think a bit differently about how you approach this weekly chore. You must might save a little time, money, energy and water.