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4 quick tips to green your laundry routine

Our occasional tips for an easy, green lifestyle

It is summer in the Southland, which means it’s harder to stretch out the days between loads of laundry. Think about it – with desert-style temperatures hitting you upon leaving the house, how many times do you want to wear that sweaty t-shirt before giving it a dip in the wash? There are some easy ways to make your laundry routine a little more energy efficient, in turn lightening your wallet while greening the planet.

Use eco-friendly laundry detergent. Reliable green cleaners are free of synthetic fragrances and are often biodegradable. Best of all? They are easy to find. I’ve used Seventh Generation cleaners for over a decade, which are available at Whole Foods and other area health stores. A more recent addition to my green cleaning routine is the Ecover line. Made with some plant-based ingredients, these products are also biodegradable. You can find Ecover at area Whole Foods and even at some area Ralphs Supermarkets.

Consider washing in cold. Water heating is the third largest energy expense in your home. Typically, you use 32 gallons of water at a time when you wash your clothes – and 90 percent of the energy invested goes to heating the water. Carbon footprints aside, think about how much money you could shave off your energy bill if you washed in cold temperatures. I’ve washed my clothes in cold for over a decade and can attest that my clothes feel and smell just as clean as when they have been steamed.

Make friends with your clothes line. We live in one of the sunniest areas in the country, so this fantastic option for Southern Californians. Treehugger shares that there are as many as 88 million dryers in the country, all using energy that perhaps could be better spent (literally) elsewhere. There are several great products available to help you set up a drying system for your home. Pristine Planet offers this great selection of free-standing racks.

And if you really want to go the green mile, invest in a front-loading Energy Star washer and dryer. An Energy Star-rated washer will save you as much as $70 a year on your utility bill. Further, they used less water, a savings to both you and the planet. Energy Star dryers often have a moisture detector which shuts off the machines when the clothes are dry. 

So do your clothing a favor and consider these green options. Your wallet will thank you, as will Mother Earth.

Image: Flickr/ sk8geek