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How-To: Eco-Proofing Your Laundry Routine

If you're concerned about your or your family's laundry habits, take a look at this list of tips for eco-proofing your laundry routine. Whether you're curious about laundry detergents, water temperatures, or green choices for washing machines, I've got you covered.

  • Wash your laundry in cold water. Pretreat stains to ensure that your clothes will get clean in one cycle.
  • Hydrogen peroxide is effective on blood stains, while rubbing alcohol is good for ink, and Vaseline will aid in removing lipstick stains.
  • Washing clothing in cold water has many benefits, including helping to reduce wear and tear on the fabric.
  • Most of the energy used to wash clothes is taken up in heating the water — yet another reason to run your load on cold.
  • If you can afford it, invest in an energy-efficient washer. If it says Energy Star on the label, it's guaranteed to save water, power, and money.

To get your full laundry load of tips,


  • Get rid of the chlorine bleach. Instead, use a bleach alternative to get your whites white.
  • You can make your own laundry detergent that's guaranteed to go easy on the water supply and the planet.
  • If that's too much work, here's a good natural detergent. I'd also recommend detergents such as the ones from Method or this one from Seventh Generation.
  • Only wash clothes when you have a full load. It takes the same amount of energy to run smaller loads as it does a large load, and running large loads reduces your water use as well.
  • Switching from your dryer to line drying can save about $100 a year.
  • However, if you do use your dryer, always make sure that the lint trap is clean. This will help to save energy and will get your clothes dry faster.
  • If you use dryer sheets, you can actually reuse them.
  • Better yet, make your own dryer sheets!

How do you eco-proof your laundry routine?

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