Washing and drying all of that laundry can take its toll not only on you, but on the environment and your pocketbook as well. Here are some tips for saving money, while getting your laundry clean and being eco-friendly:
- Wear it more than once: With the exception of certain unmentionables (like underwear and socks), wear items more than once to avoid doing more laundry than you have to! Refresh clothing by hanging it outside in the sun and dabbing it with a natural oil like lavender or tea tree.
- Wash and rinse in cold: Heating up the water to wash laundry accounts for 90 percent of the energy used. The remaining 10 percent merely powers the motor. Imagine the toll that takes on your electric bill!
- Wash only when you have a full load: Washing several smaller loads expends much more energy than running a single larger load. When you wash in cold water, you can also mix colors, as hot water is what causes color bleeding. Take care, however, not to overload the washing machine. Clothes that can’t move freely won’t get clean.
- Line-dry your clothes: Dryers not only use up a lot of energy, but they can cause shrinkage and unnecessary wear and tear on your clothing. Hang your clothes outside on a line, weather permitting, or indoors on a drying rack. The sun also acts as an efficient germ-killer and natural “bleach” for a superior clean. Line drying your cloths can save about 700 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions each year. Not to mention, the savings on your electric bill!
- If you must use the dryer: Only dry full loads and dry for the minimum time possible. Remove clothes early and hang up to finish drying.
- Use green laundry detergent: Conventional detergents often contain harmful ingredients that can be absorbed into your skin and can also be detremental to the environment. Shop for more eco-friendly detergents with labels that include terms like “phosphate-free” and “biodegradable.” Look for laundry detergents that are made from plant and vegetable-based ingredients, rather than those that are petroleum-based.
- Use natural disinfectants: One-half cup of white vinegar, one teaspoon of grapefruit seed extract or a few drops of lavender essential oil can be added during the rinse cycle to help disinfect clothing.
- Upgrade your washer and dryer: Newer machines bearing the Energy Star Label are much more efficient as compared to older machines. Plus, they might qualify for a tax credit!
Energy Star appliances, clothing lines, drying racks and green laundry products can be found in Middlesex County at the following locations:
- , East Hampton
- Most major grocery stores, like Stop and Shop, will carry a green laundry detergent option.
For more information on green laundry practices, visit the EPA's website.