Tip: Purchase the Right Appliances
Scientists at the EPA state that the average washing machine uses 41 gallons of water per load. Energy-efficient machines use 35 to 50 percent less water and 50 percent less energy per load. When purchasing a new machine, read the label and look for an Energy Star rating. You want the one that conserves the most energy. In addition, washing machines have a “water factor” number on the label. A lower water factor means greater machine efficiency. Wise shoppers purchase machines that have load size and cycle adjustments to help conserve energy and water when doing smaller loads.
Whenever possible, use cold water for washing and rinsing. It saves on energy when you don’t have to heat the water. The EPA estimates that 90 percent of energy consumption in the laundry is due to heating the water. Purchase laundry products with less packaging, and buy concentrated products that allow you to use less at a time. Put up a clothes line or rack and reduce the use of dryers. Using sunlight is a natural way to bleach whites.
Tip: Maximize Operational Efficiency
Keep your laundry appliances in good repair to maximize operational efficiency. Fixing any leaks or drips right away discourages mold growth and conserves water. Keep the humidity in your laundry room under control, especially if the room is in the basement. Underground basements need some amount of ventilation and heat to prevent condensation.
Tip: Clean the Lint Screen
Clean the dryer lint screen prior to laundering. According to information on the Harvard University website, dryers with a clean lint trap have 30 percent improved efficiency and the clothes dry faster. Harvard educators also state that two tablespoons of laundry detergent is sufficient to wash a full load of laundry. Using too much soap leaves clothes looking dingy. Lightly worn clothes don’t need much detergent at all. Be sure to purchase products that are plant-based, biodegradable and phosphate-free.
Tip: Make your Own Products
You can make your own laundry supplies out of common household products and skip purchasing them altogether. The Binghamton University website publishes a list of green recipes for use in the laundry room. An effective detergent recipe calls for one cup of white vinegar added to a cup each of baking soda and washing soda, and mixed with ¼ cup of liquid castile soap. It only takes ½ cup for each load. A natural fabric softener can be made from a 1/4thcup of vinegar and a small amount of essential oil. Just add it to the rinse cycle.