cleaning tips and tools

12 Tips for a Greener, Cleaner Laundry Room

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The forgotten laundry room; land of missing socks, mysterious stains and general disarray. Although many of us with families (read: dirty small children) spend hours of our time in this area of the home, it is more often then not forgotten in our quest to be more eco-friendly. With just a few small changes in your laundry room you can offer a huge environmental difference.

    1. Wash your clothes in cold water whenever possible. Also, make sure your machine is set to always rinse in cold. Approximately 90% of the energy associated with laundry is simply heating the water. If it’s not necessary, don’t do it.


    1. Set your washer to the appropriate water level for the size of your load.


    1. Always wash full loads. The most energy efficient washers still use 40 gallons of waters. Imagine what the standard models use? By reducing the number of loads you wash you will save money, energy and water.


    1. After every load, clean the lint filter in your dryer


    1. Always use the automatic setting rather than the timed setting on your dryer. Often, the timed settings are far too long and unnecessary.


    1. Consider investing in a clothesline! Even if your climate only encourages you to use it for part of the year you will be saving your family’s pocketbook and that energy you didn’t consume is noteworthy. Better yet, in the cold winter months utilize an indoor rack to dry your clothes. This option is even better has it will naturally double as a humidifier in the cold, dry months. By utilizing line drying your family alone could save 700 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions each year.


    1. When shopping for your next washing machine, consider a front loading washer that cuts hot water use by 60%-70%. If you don’t care for the front loading machine, be sure that whatever model does catch your eye offers an Energy Star rating certifying that it uses significantly less energy than the standard models.


    1. When it comes to detergents, less is more. If your detergent is loaded with chemicals you can’t pronounce, its time to find a new one. Detergents filled with optical brighteners, chlorine bleach, synthetic fragrances and petroleum products are not only dangerous to our families but also to our groundwater and land. Look for all natural, biodegradable, plant-based detergents.


    1. If you are a real DIY-er like myself, you may want to get adventurous and make your own detergent like our grandmothers. Many of the ingredients are those already found in your home such as vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. These products are safer for your family and eco-friendly to our earth. Our family makes our own and I can testify it works just as good, is much cheaper than any discount store can offer and is eco-friendly.


    1. Can’t give up your bleach? Chlorine bleach irritates skin and eyes, not to mention are nasty for our earth. Opt instead for non-chlorine bleach. Non-chlorine bleach is generally just hydrogen peroxide and can be found in nearly any apothecary or the branded ones in major discount stores nationwide. If every household in America switched from chlorine bleach to non-chlorine bleach, we could prevent over 11.6 million pounds of chlorine from ever entering our eco-system.


    1. Rethink dryer sheets. Nearly every major company offering dryer sheets also offers them weighted down with foul chemicals. Consider saving yourself the bother and skipping the dryer sheets all-together. If you can’t bear the thought, then instead opt for an environmentally safe option. All local organic stores and co-ops have a variety to choose from.


  1. Lastly, and perhaps most obviously, don’t wash what isn’t dirty. Anyone with teenagers can testify that a great amount of laundry is done without it ever truly being dirty. Don’t throw items into the wash unless they are truly dirty and have been worn. Consider re-wearing clothing that has only been used a couple hours here or there. Many items can easily be worn several times before requiring a wash.

Getting green in the laundry room isn’t difficult, nor is it time consuming. With a little thought, your eco-family can start saving precious dollars while some real good for our earth.

Judith is a freelance writer, aromatherapist and soap maker. You can visit her at”>Natural from Home.

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