15 Ways to Green Your Laundry



As part of Going Green With the Grizls Summer Blog Challenge, today’s topic is “How do you do your laundry?? Give your laundry tricks“.

Let me start by saying that I never liked doing laundry.  I am on the short side and carrying a large basket of overflowing laundry down and back up the stairs is not fun!  

A few years ago, however, we added on to our second floor and were able to move the laundry room up there!  HEAVEN!  Now I really didn’t have much to complain about before since our laundry was on the main floor of the house, but this is sooo much better.  All the clothes STAY on one floor!  I am not saying this to brag, but as a heads up.  If you are in this position, think about it!  No lugging clothing, no hampers in each person’s room, set up a few baskets in the laundry room for different colors and your sorting is done – well, if your family gets the system.  Still working on mine.

Now for my tips.  Once again looking through my “green” lens.

  1. Wash Your Clothes in Cold Water   90% of the energy used to wash clothing goes toward heating the water. Your clothes will be just as clean washed in cold water.  I had a hard time with this one at first. I slowly switched to warm and always used a cold rinse cycle. Eventually I went “cold” turkey and all is fine.  I don’t use a special detergent either.   Take a look at this website to figure out how much you could save.  My Average Annual Savings: $70
  2. Wash Full Loads Only You use the same amount of electricity to wash a small load as a large one. You will also save water. The larger load will use more water, but it most likely won’t be as much as two smaller loads.
  3. Use Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergent Conventional detergents are derived from petroleum.  They wreak havoc on the eco-system, unlike those derived from vegetable oils.  Look for plant-based detergents, free of bleach and artificial scents.  For ratings on detergents, try GoodGuide.com or try making your own.
  4. Use Less Detergent Read the directions and make sure you are only using enough.  More doesn’t get your clothes cleaner, but it will leave a residue.
  5. Skip the Dryer Sheets Dryer sheets contain synthetic fragrances which can cause harm.  Sometimes the residue from your detergent makes your clothes rough.  Try putting vinegar in the rinse cycle to remove the residue.  You can also try mixing liquid fabric softener with water in a spray bottle and using that in your dryer.  Again, choose a safe one.
  6. Use Dryer Balls If you have a problem with static, dryer balls might be the answer.  I made some out of wool yarn.  Before I started to use them, I had such a problem with static.  Not so much now.
  7. Use Eco-Friendly Stain Removers There are loads of DIY stain removers out there.  The best tip though is to get to the stain BEFORE it goes through the wash and as quickly as possible.  Of course, that is easier said than done.  If you have a really tough stain that you don’t think will ever come out, try this!  Vinegar and water (50/50 mix) works great for BBQ sauce, pet stains, grass, ketchup, orange juice, jelly and wine.
  8. Use a Second Spin Cycle  
    If you are doing a large load of towels, you might be better off using a second spin cycle in your washer before drying. The spin cycle can remove more of the water in a shorter time than it takes for your dryer to do the work.
  9. Make the Switch to a Newer Front-Loading Washer  
    If you are in the market for a new washer, consider a front loading model. They use less water and energy. Look for an Energy Star rated washer, but still compare the usages. All energy star rated appliances need to meet certain energy efficient standards. However, some far exceed those standards while other squeak by. Do your research.
  10. Clean the Dryer Lint Filter  
    Cleaning the lint filter after each use will make sure air is flowing efficiently.  If you use dryer sheets, occasionally scrub your lint filter with a toothbrush and soap.  Chemicals can build up on the screen clogging it.
  11. Line Dry  
    It’s free! Use the power of the sun, especially during these hot summer days. The dryer is one of the biggest energy using appliances in your home – second to the refrigerator. Check out the cost of drying a load of laundry at this site.  Using my latest bills, electricity costs $0.134 per KWh and gas is $1.42 per Therms, including all account charges.
  12. Clean the Dryer Exhaust Vent  
    Make sure the dryer exhaust vent is clear of lint as well.
  13. Use the Moisture Sensor on Your Dryer    
    Using the moisture sensor will ensure that your dryer stops when your clothes are dry. Make sure it works first! I discovered that mine was not working, so I use the timer and only need to run my dryer 30 – 40 mins. depending on what is in there.
  14. Don’t Iron   
    Irons use a lot of energy. I jumped for joy when I heard this one.  I do not like to iron! Hang up shirts when they are still damp to avoid wrinkles. Folding clothes while they are still warm from the dryer is another way to avoid wrinkles.
  15. Wash Some Items Less Often Not everything needs to be washed after one use.  You make that call, but towels certainly fall into this category.

What are your laundry tips?

[Top picture used under Creative Commons license by Ed Yourdon/Flickr]

This post is shared at Your Green Resource Frugally SustainableTeach Me Tuesday and Frugal Fridays.


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4 Responses to 15 Ways to Green Your Laundry

  1. Pat @ Green Living Thrifty Frog July 2, 2012 at 3:44 pm #

    I’m hopping over from Monday Meet & Greet! Good suggestions here. I use balled up aluminum foil in the dryer to eliminate static electricity – works great!
    Huge green hugs,

    • Kristina (The Greening Of Westford) July 2, 2012 at 6:22 pm #

      Thanks Pat! I have heard that but never tried the aluminum foil. Good to know since we have a static problem here from time to time since I stopped using dryer sheets. Although it is not as bad as before when I used them on a regular basis but would forget once in a while. Hmmmm….. Maybe it’s the vinegar in the rinse cycle or the eco-friendly laundry detergent, or the dryer balls…. Whatever it is, it works and i’m sticking to it!
      Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Amy @ A Blossoming Life July 9, 2012 at 3:58 am #

    This was a great post with great ideas! We do a lot of these in our home. We make our own detergent and fabric softener sheets! One of my dreams is to have a house with a line to dry our clothes! Thanks again for sharing!

  3. Kristina (The Greening Of Westford) July 10, 2012 at 1:07 pm #

    Drying on a clothes line is one thing I don’t do 🙁 . Maybe if I could run a line out of the window of the laundry room……???? hmmm….
    Thanks for stopping by Amy!

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