Laundry is one of those chores you need to do, whether you like it or not. But laundry is often the first step toward a cleaner, more organized home — and one you can feel good about with many green, environmentally friendly options.
Hang It Up
Did you know that machine drying accounts for about seventy-five percent of your laundry’s electric needs? So one of the most accessible switches to make is to hang your clothes out to dry rather than running them through the dryer cycle. Many times, air drying protects your clothing from shrinking or wearing out too quickly, which means you’ll save on electrical and new clothes!
Upgrade Your Appliances
You may be surprised to learn that the average American home performs 400 loads of laundry every year, consuming around 13,500 gallons of water. To make matters worse, many outdated washing machines and dryers are inefficient in energy use. High-efficiency washers use less water, and because they use less water, they use less energy to heat that water. They’re also softer on your clothing, which means those clothes (and the machine) last longer. Of course, these water and energy savings equate to monetary savings. Replacing your older washer with a high efficiency option will almost certainly pay for itself throughout the machine’s life.
Choose When to Wash
Ask yourself this question before washing any clothes – does it need washing? Washing lightly worn garments generates more laundry—and work!—than necessary, so you might want to be more mindful of how frequently you clean specific items. Jeans and pajamas, for example, can often be worn three or four times before being washed (and some clothing experts suggest never washing jeans, but that could be a personal preference). Check to see if the item has any apparent stains if in doubt. In both circumstances, a short steam or spot-stain removal may be all that is required to keep objects fresh between wearing and (finally) washing.
Use Cold Water
Because water heating accounts for up to 90% of the energy used in a cycle, choosing cold water is one of the easiest ways to be more eco-conscious in the laundry room. You will save a lot of energy, but you’ll also save money on your electricity bill. Of course, using cold water isn’t always possible: certain materials, such as spandex and nylon, are designed to be washed in warm water, so make sure you know what your clothes need before starting a wash cycle.
Shop Cleaner, Shop Smarter
Although a decent clothes soap or detergent is essential for fresh, clean clothes, many commercial detergents include harsh chemicals. Dyes, chlorine, phosphates, and harsh enzymes are all typical chemicals in laundry detergent, and they can irritate delicate skin and ruin your garments. So, the next time you need detergent, think about switching to a more environmentally friendly one. Look for detergents labeled as SLS/SLES-free neutral pH, manufactured without animal components, or plant-based while purchasing. Or make-at-home eco- and skin-friendly fabric softener by combining 1-2 tablespoons white vinegar with a few drops of your favorite essential oil for a more pleasant scent.
Full Loads Only
As a general rule, only run the washing machine when it is full rather than doing smaller loads whenever you have a couple of items to wash. Yes, we’re practically advising you to do fewer loads of laundry! There are dozens of tools that make hand-washing clothes immensely easier, from clothes washing wands to portable wash bags, for those occasions when you simply need to wash one or two items.
Making these modifications to your laundry room is not only good for the environment, but it’s also good for your health and your electric bills. Remember this article the next time you wash laundry or go to the store to buy laundry products—small changes can make a big difference!
Have you been thinking of switching to cleaner and more sustainable laundry usage but are unsure where to start? We hope that this article has helped and will help lead you in the direction of more sustainable practices for your laundry room. But don’t stop there; why not try to see about adding natural stone or wood fixtures to your house and replacing plastic or other environmentally unfriendly pieces? Contact Garden State Soapstone to learn how natural materials throughout your home can be a sustainable option for your next project.