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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,

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  • 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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ahles ahles 7 years
Ecos is a far better soap than 7th generation for stains and truly dirty clothes, and it's built in fabric softener beats any eco friendly alternative we've yet tried. Also, if you only ever use cold water, line dry, and never use bleach, you're never going to kill the e-coli bacteria that washing machines are riddled with from dirty underwear.
katedavis katedavis 7 years
I've been wondering for a while now whether the increase in the incidence of season allergies can be correlated to the increase in popularity of dryers. They say kids that grow up on farms, for example, don't usually have allergies to pollen and other outdoor allergens because they grow up in it. Maybe we would have less allergies if what we wear and sleep on was dried outside. Wouldn't that be nice.
foxie foxie 7 years
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/50095091 I have this drying rack and it's awesome. It would be great for people in apartments with limited space. I like it because I don't have to dedicate an entire section of my yard to drying laundry... I just fold it up and bring it inside when I'm done!
cmd0610 cmd0610 7 years
I always line-dry my clothes (on a rack inside- they sell great big ones at Ikea) and I always wash in cold water (I did that bc I'm cheap haha), I didn't think initially to consider the environmental effects of line-drying- it started bc I had too many shrunken ruined clothes in college that ppl put in the dryer so I'm petrified of dryers now- except for sheets and towels- I want to get the environmental detergent though- and the self made dryer sheets are a great idea!
sugarbean sugarbean 7 years
I also kind of love the Shout Color Catchers -- instead of having to do little loads of different colors, I can throw them all in one load and not worry about colors running and ruining them (but I'm still careful with new reds)
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