Do Your Part: Laundry
Updated: 01/22/2012 01:03 PM
By: Terri Bennett
Laundry day is more than just a chore, it also takes quite a toll on the environment. However, there are easy and effective ways to Do Your Part to conserve water and energy and create less pollution even while doing the laundry.
It is important to consider what is put into the washing machine. It is vital to choose a laundry detergent that is phosphate-free. When excess phosphates enter the water supply it acts as a super-charged fertilizer for algae. When algae blooms, it depletes the available oxygen, choking the life out of the surrounding aquatic habitat.
It is also a good idea to seek out plant-based detergents like Seventh Generation, Method, and even Martha Stewart. Many of the conventional laundry detergents are petroleum-based which means they are made in part from crude oil.
Do not use more detergent than needed. Wash only full loads of laundry and with cold water. Making the switch to the cold cycle will save about $60 a year on your power bill because you will be giving the hot water heater a break.
If you are looking for a alternative to chlorine bleach, try a product that uses oxygen to naturally enhance the cleaning power of your green detergent. You can also use a cup of hydrogen peroxide to your full load of laundry to brighten your laundry.
There is also an eco-friendly alternative to fabric softener. Add 1/4 cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle or the fabric softener dispenser. It is non-toxic and clothes will come out of the dryer softer because vinegar’s acidic properties help dissolve any soap residue left on your clothing.
As for drying your clothes, there is no such thing as an Energy Star clothes dryer—they use a considerable amount of energy. Anyone who wants a lower utility bill but do not have room for a clothesline, consider an indoor drying rack
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