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Celebrating Earth Day... in the Laundry Room

Wash, Fold, and Remain Environmentally Conscious

Going Beyond Green TipsFrom cars to schools, today's world is all about going green. Even the products and appliances we use in the laundry room have become more environmentally friendly. Though you may have bought an energy-efficient washing machine, are using a concentrated laundry detergent, and are recycling your empty laundry-product packages, there still might be more you can do while cleaning your clothes to lessen your environmental impact. (Lessening the actual loads of laundry each week is still a mystery we'd like to solve!)

How can you make laundry day (every laundry day) Earth Day? It's easy. And even the slightest change in routine can have a positive impact on the environment, not to mention your family's finances.

  • Wash with the Coldest Water Possible. You'll save energy by not heating up the water. Fortunately, many detergents are now formulated to perform well in cold water. Read and follow product package and garment label directions for the most effective water temperature to use. Switching your temperature setting from hot to warm can cut energy use in half, and using the cold cycle reduces energy use even more. (www.EnergyStar.gov) Besides, wouldn't you rather save the hot water for your shower?
  • Select the Right Amount of Water for Each Load. Avoid overfilling your washing machine, and save water and energy.
  • Spin Your Clothes at the Highest Recommended Speed. Ever seen dogs come out of a pool or lake? They don't just stand there and drip dry; they shake all over the place. This helps them get rid of the excess water on their fur and dry faster. Same goes for your washing machine. The spin cycle "shakes" (removes) the water from your clothes. The faster it spins, the more water gets removed. The less time your clothes have to spend in the dryer, the more energy (read: money) you save.
  • Use the Right Amount of Detergent for the Washer and the Load. Read the instructions for your washer and on the detergent package.
  • Speaking of Detergent ... If you haven't already switched to a concentrated detergent, you might want to consider doing so. Why? A concentrated product comes in a much smaller package. You'll get the same number of laundry loads out of a smaller bottle, but use much less plastic. And these smaller bottles take up less space on a delivery truck, which reduces the energy costs to transport them from the manufacturer to the store. (And not for nothing, it's easier to carry a small jug from the store into the house. Unless of course you prefer the upper-body workout.)
  • Twofers, Anyone? Instead of buying a separate bottle of bleach or fabric softener, consider looking for a two-in-one product – such as a detergent with a built-in stain remover. Again, less packaging (which takes energy to produce) and lower shipping costs.
  • The Best Time for Laundry. As we head into warmer weather, deciding when to do your laundry can determine the amount of energy you use. Running appliances creates heat, so use the washing machine and dryer at night when it's cooler outside. This way, you won't have to use more energy to cool your house during the day.
  • Don't Forget to Recycle! Nothing like squeezing out the last drop of detergent to make it go farther (store nearly empty jugs upside down and you may find enough for a whole other load!). But when you've really gotten to the end of a bottle, please dispose of it properly. Rinse and re-cap the empty container to protect pets and young children, and put it in the recycling bin.

Do you have any tips for how to be more environmentally friendly? (Aside from wearing your clothes so often between cleanings that they walk themselves to the washing machine, of course.) Visit our Facebook page and share your ways of turning laundry day into Earth Day.