Greening Every Room in Your Home: Laundry Room
Get a wash load of saving in your laundry room! The most important thing in the laundry room is to get longevity on your clothes. You can do that in a number of ways.
Retire the iron.
Yup, I said that! Ladies did you know that your iron uses a lot of energy? Irons use about 1800k w of electricity. If you line dry your clothes or take them out of the dryer when they are hot, you’ll have less wrinkles. The best way to solve the problem is to shop for fabrics that do not have to be ironed.
Dryer Scene equals common sense!
Dryer sheets are filled with toxic chemicals that are carcinogens. You want to reduce your exposure to toxic chemicals in your home as much as you can. This is a great place to start. I love the Eco Nuts Wool Balls. They reduce drying time by 40% per load, are made with 100% wool and they reduce static cling. It doesn’t get any better. The other option is to make your own.
If static is a big issue for you, remove the clothing just before it’s completely dry and hang it on a clothes line. If you put on a skirt and it sticks to your tush, spray some water and walk through it, it should solve the problem.
You can also throw in a dry towel. Quick Dri towels (or microfiber cloths) for example will absorb the excess moisture. You can also try drying your clothes made with synthetic fabrics separately. Lightweight synthetics dry much more quickly than bath towels and natural fibers.
Your dryer costs you about $85 a year to run! Dryers have also not come very far over the last few years. Using a clothes line is the greenest option. You can also have a look a the washer-dryer combo units, such as Innovative Washing’s EdgeStar units or LG’s All-in-Ones. Keep in mind though that high efficiency washers get most of the water out of your clothes when on spin cycle. Using a newer washer means less water and therefore less drying time is needed. Choose a dryer with a moisture sensor which will shut off your machine when clothes are dry. An air-dry feature, which dries clothes with cold air, reduces energy use and wrinkles.
Lint be gone!
Proper maintenance on your washing machine and dryer will save you money in the long run. Keeping your lint trap clean will save you about $35 a year in energy costs. A clogged filter will restrict flow and reduce dryer performance.
Reduce, reuse, re-wear!
A few years ago the United Nations Environment Program (www.unep.fr) conducted a series of research and found that we can consume up to five times less energy by wearing our jeans more than once. Three times to be exact. This does not apply to socks and panties though. Washing your jeans in cold water and skipping the dryer saves energy and money too.
Just say no to bleach. When it gets into our waterways it can lead to high levels of dioxins. Dioxins are environmental pollutants. They belong to group of dangerous chemicals known as persistent organic pollutants. Bleach is also toxic to humans and animals if ingested. If the words “poison” or “hazardous” appear on a product, it’s time to rethink that buy. Also avoid phosphates, ammonia, glycol ethers, parabens, acids and chlorine. Always read the label, but keep in mind that even eco cleaners can contain some of these harsh ingredients. Do your homework, talk to the manufacturers, ask questions.
To be really green you make your own, this Homemade Bleach Alternative is the bomb.
Drop a load.
It’s really key to choose a washing machine that meets the need of your family. Again, do your homework, this website: http://www.consumersearch.com/washing-machine-reviews, offers reviews on almost all of the machines on the market. Washers range in capacity too, so if your loads are small, go with a smaller model that uses less water and energy. Shop for energy star rated machines. Always set your machine for one rinse cycle, it’ll save you some cash because you are not using as much energy.
Good to the last drop.
90% of the energy used when washing your clothes is waiting for the water to heat up. Cut down on that by washing in warm or cold water.
A wash load of savings!
For detergent, again eco options are best. Conventional soaps contain a list of toxic ingredients that should be avoided. Pay close attention to the amount of soap that is recommended on the washing machine, there is no need to go over that. This will save you money, about $60 over a year. Using too much soap also forces the machine to work harder and in some cases you may get residue on your clothes. It’s happened to me! That soapy mess can cause skin irritations and allergies.
Dry cleaning, a stain on the planet?
There are a number of dry cleaners that claim to be green, natural and organic. Problem is, there are no regulations in place that guarantees that a cleaner is in fact using non-toxic alternatives. If you must dry clean your clothes, I recommend “wet cleaning”, silicone based cleaning and carbon dioxide cleaning. If your clearer is using PERC, stay away. PERC or Perchloroethylene is harmful to our health and the health of the planet. There’s a lot of controversy with the subject of dry cleaning and everyone surely has an opinion. For me, less is more.
Tips to avoid frequent tips to the dry cleaners:
- throw your clothes in the dryer for about 10 minutes with a small damp towel, this acts as a steamer.
- Invest in a good steamer. For men this is a great way to get an extra wear out of your shirt. Ladies, this is great for expensive dresses etc.
- In the winter wear an undergarment, this will help with sweat stains and odor.
- Tackle a stain as soon as it happens.
These easy tips will help you save time and money.
Candice is an award winning eco-journalist and one of Canada’s leading eco advocates. Her career spans national and international media outlets. She’s currently the eco expert for CTV and the editor in chief of The Eco Hub, a digital media company that connects conscious consumers to brands and companies that care about people and the planet. Their ultimate goal is provide their readers with the resources they need to find chic, stylish, sustainable, affordable, made in Canada alternatives to everyday items.