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Americans do a lot of laundry – some families more than a load every day! Getting all those jeans, towels, socks and sheets clean not only takes up much of your time but also uses a lot of electricity and financial resources too. Save some money and lower your carbon footprint of your dirty socks with these easy, green laundry hacks!
Dry with Balls
I haven’t bought dryer sheets in five years! I discovered dryer balls and haven’t used sheets since. These bumpy globes roll around with your laundry in the dryer, working to soften and de-static fabric. I have a wool dryer ball in there as well to soak up water, decreasing drying time. But that’s not all! I also have two tennis balls in my dryer that have never seen a tennis court. Between all these balls, the clothes get a gentle beating that pushes out water and static at the same time. Without dryer sheets or liquid softener, I save money and natural resources.
Conserving electricity is a big cash saver in the laundry room too. Stuff your washer full for every load to maximize energy savings. Dryers use the second most electricity of all household appliances – after the fridge – so be mindful of how often you use it. Let the air and sun dry your clothes as often as you can. Utilize a drying rack when it’s raining or cold outside. When you do run the dryer, don’t forget to empty the lint trap before each load so it operates most efficiently.
One of the easiest ways to keep your spin cycle eco-friendly is the cut out the hot water. Unless you have super grimy clothes, hot water isn’t necessary – let your soap do the work. Heating water for the washer uses a lot of energy! Opt for cold or warm H20.
Upgrade and Recycle Appliances
If you are in the market for a new washer or dryer, consider Energy Star rated varieties. Front end loading washers use half the energy and only a third of the water compared to old fashioned models. They are key to having a green laundry room! You will save money over their lifetime although they are more expensive up front. And don’t forget to recycle your old washer and dryer. Find recycling locations in your area at either Earth 911 or 1-800-Reycling.
Make Your Own Detergent
It’s very economical and easy to make your own detergent – most of these recipes are also quite green with simple, natural ingredients. The internet is filled with recipes for homemade soap but here’s a common powered recipe (septic and HE safe):
1 shredded or shaved chopped bar of laundry soap such as Fels-Naptha or Zote
1 cup borax
1 cup washing soda
Mix all together and add 1-2 tablespoons per load.
What else do you do to make your laundry room green? Find more laundry hacks on Piccolo Universe here.