Cleaning Products ::
- Make your own laundry soap. The first step to green your laundry is to eliminate chemical products. Laundry soap can be created with household ingredients including baking soda, washing soda, and borax. Clothing gets just as clean, it's great for sensitive skin, and saves you money as you'll use so much less.
- Use vinegar instead of fabric softener. Add half a cup to your fabric softener dispenser or in the final rinse cycle. It whitens and neutralizes smells. It's super cheap and the vinegar smell disappears after washing.
- Use soap nuts instead of detergent. Soap nuts are naturally grown fruit of the Chinese Soapberry Tree and have the same effect as detergents without the chemical effects. They can be used in cold water, are hypoallergenic, and can be composted after multiple uses. (source)
- Use tennis balls or dyer balls instead of dryer sheets. Tennis balls fluff clothing and speeds up drying times. Dryer balls do the same and can be infused with fragrant herbs. Both are reusable.
|Dirty Girl Laundry Soap and Dryer Balls by Lucky Hanks|
Pre-treating Clothes ::
- Soak stains instead of using bleach. Eliminate the need for chemical cleaning, by soaking soiled items as soon as possible. For heavily soiled items, run on "Heavy" to increase agitation which can loosen stains.
|Lavender Soap Sachets by Sophiecls|
Washing Clothes ::
- Turn clothes inside out to prevent unnecessary wear and to preserve coloring.
- Use cold water. Approximately 90% of energy used in laundering is to heat the water. Clothes get just as clean and pre-soaking soiled clothing nearly eliminates the need for hot water. (source)
- Learn washer settings and how they aid in your "green" laundry process. Permanent Press does not agitate or spin clothing as much as Heavy settings. It allows clothing to hang dry without wrinkles and provides less wear to clothing. Gentle is obviously the most mild setting.
- Use an extra spin cycle to eliminate excess water and your clothing will dry in half the time.
- Wash like clothing together to save on drying. When using cold water and eco-friendly soaps to launder, the need for sorting clothing by color diminishes. Hot water and chemicals cause laundry to bleed. Sort according to what needs to be dried and what needs hung. I wash "to hang" items first so that I can hang them while my "to dry" load begins. You'll decrease the amount of drying loads and save time.
- Run balanced loads so they wash and dry evenly. The unmistakable sounds of an unbalanced washer hurts our ears as well as our machines causing premature wear and tear. Not all the clothes in such a load get washed. Washing machines are sometimes unable to spin out all the excess water and clothing will need multiple trips through the dryer to dry.
- Run full loads of laundry instead of small loads to maximize efficiency. Loads of any size require the same amount of energy to run, but time and water will be saved. Drying fewer loads will decrease energy use as well.
|Vintage Wire Laundry Basket on Wheels by MrsRekamepip|
Drying Clothes ::
- Install a clothes line in your yard to eliminate the need for a dryer (except for undergarments. It's weird that our neighbors let their unmentionables flap in the breeze directly outside my front door). Not only do you utilize solar energy (!) instead of fossil fuels, the sun naturally whitens your crisp clothing!
- Use a drying rack indoors when the weather is less than stellar. Many of us have clothing we don't dry as it is so why not hang the rest? Those of us with standard Chicago radiators will benefit from the extra moisture in the air as well.
- Use heat sensor instead of timed dry to save energy and shorten drying times. A timed dry will run for its duration despite the clothing having dried long before. Our dryer has a heat sensor which will cause the dryer to stop when the clothes dry.
|Clothes Pines on the Line Art Photo 8x10 by honeytree|
Preserving Clothing ::
- Wearing clothes multiple times actually preserves the life of your clothing. Clothing takes more wear from our washers and dryers than our bodies. Rarely does a shirt or pair of pants get so soiled in one wear that it needs laundered. I change into lounge clothes right when I get home from work. I hang my work clothing to free itself from wrinkles. Jeans and shirts typically get washed after every third wear depending on the specific article. Pajamas can be worn for nearly a week before they see the hamper. Jimmyredhed's clothing gets washed a little more frequently as he's a bit more sweaty than I!
- Using towels for multiple days. Growing up, our family of five probably had 50+ towels. We would use a towel once and throw it in the laundry. Heaven forbid you ever use the towel someone else used. In my home now, we have 8-10 towels. After a towel is used to dry off, it is hung on the back of the bathroom door and dries before the next day. We have two towels hanging at a time and change out our towels approximately once a week or earlier if needed.
- Mending clothing. For years, I'd feel grave disappointment when my favorite pair of jeans would rip at the crotch or a sweater zipper broke. I resigned myself to the loss of that item and would throw it away. Over the last year, I have been taking my clothing to a local tailor (most dry cleaners have one) who repair my jeans for $2.50-$5/pair and zippers for $10-$20. I have a pile of shoes waiting to be resoled by a Cobbler at Irving and Menard. While it's all to easy to find a cheap replacement, I've come to value investing in fewer pieces of durable, ethical clothing as a strong practice in social consciousness.
|Loads of Fun 8x10 Print by alderi|
Maintaining Appliance ::
- Buy HE appliances that are Energy Star Certified when it is time to replace your machines. High Efficiency washers use less water to clean and produce less water waste. Additionally, they use less energy to heat water which will pay for the higher cost of the machine over time.
- Keep lint traps clean to help your washing and dryer run most efficiently. The motor works harder to push water through a clogged trap and lint can also back up the water lines. The same is true for dryers. Clogged dryers use more energy to produce heat to dry your clothing due to poor air circulation. Regularly maintaining your appliances will ensure they are running most efficiently and will lengthen their life span.
- Reroute washing machines for grey water use. The water waste from washing machines can still be used long after it has washed your clothes. By using an eco-friendly detergent, the waste water is not poisonous to people or vegetation. While most experts agree that grey water should not be used directly on gardens, it can be rerouted out of your home to a back yard reservoir, rain barrel or the like and used to water your yard. The Urban Homestead is a great resource for learning to install a DIY grey water system.
|Simple Vegan Laundry Soap by greenie bean recycle|