Let's start with your laundry routine...
First off-stop doing so much of it! Clothing can and should be re-worn. Of course soiled, dirty, or sweaty clothing needs to be washed, but what about the jeans you simply ran errands in? Or the blouse you wore to work where you sat at your desk, in your air conditioned office, all day? It doesn't need to be washed every time you simply put it on. Lessen your work load and you'll not only enjoy the benefits of spending your time elsewhere, but your checkbook will thank you on next month's bill.
Alas, there is laundry to be done so start by making sure you are always using cold water. Wash full loads, but don't OVERLOAD. If you're not sure how much your washing machine can take, check the labels or manual that should list its capacity. If you're looking to replace your washer or dryer, look at the energy star products out on the market. These appliances can significantly reduce the amount of energy used in your home. For more information about how these products earn their energy star badge-check out the Energy Star website here.
What you put in the washer with your clothes is very important as well. Make the switch to an eco friendly detergent or make your own! Seventh Generation, Method, Mrs. Meyer, and Ecos are great options or you can check out Rodale.com and Seven Sisters for DIY recipes. Replacing chemically laden fabric softeners with white vinegar also helps green your wash load.
Once your clothes are nice and clean, try these drying options...
Line drying is, of course, the most eco friendly measure you can take, but even hanging up a few items and using the dryer for the rest of your wash can reduce drying time and ultimately reduce the energy used. According to treehugger.com, the dryer is the 2nd largest energy hog in your house. Dryer balls, like Nellie's All Natural PVC Free Dryer Balls, can help reduce drying time. Another tip is to make sure you're not adding wet clothes to a load that has been partially dried already-this will only cause your dryer to work harder.
Other ways to help green your dryer is by removing lint from the lint trap after every load (this can be added to your compost bin). Check to make sure your vent is clear from debris to help maximize your dryer's performance. This tip can go for any appliance in your house!
Speaking of green, do you know what part of your laundry is probably the least green aspect? DRY CLEANING! The dry cleaning process is very non eco friendly, however there have been movements to change this. Check in your area for cleaners that use a greener approach, or even better, ditch the threads that have to be dry cleaned.
As for the laundry room itself, try buying in bulk to save on packaging. Also check out these nifty ways to line dry inside!
Last, but not least-go through your closet. I'll bet you can find 4 or 5 of nearly the same item in there. Do an inventory so that the next time you go shopping, you're not bringing in a nearly identical black shirt or a 3rd cream cardigan.
These simple steps can really help your environment and save you a few pennies as well! Now who doesn't feel good about that?
Feel free to comment about other ways you go green in the laundry room here or on our facebook wall!