8 Steps to an Eco-Friendly Laundry Room

Share this on:

laundryDoing the laundry is one of those inevitable household chores, but at least there are ways to reduce your environmental impact during the process. Let’s take a look at greening and cleaning the wash and the laundry room.

  1. Laundry detergent: Conventional laundry detergents contain petroleum-based solvents, surfactants, and additives that are not eco-friendly. On the other hand, natural laundry detergents are non-toxic, hypoallergenic, chlorine-free, biodegradable, and are usually free of dyes and perfumes making them suitable for chemically-sensitive people and babies. Many natural products are cruelty-free and not tested on animals as well. These products are also best for septic systems and grey-water reclamation systems. My favorite is Sun & Earth, but other great cleaners include: Seventh Generation, ECOver, Bi-O-Kleen, and Method.
  2. Spot Remover: There are some natural spot removers on the market, but if you have a hard time finding one, you can easily make your own that will remove even the toughest stains.
  3. Fabric Softener: Some conventional fabric softeners contain animal by-products, but natural plant-based softeners don’t. You can find it in liquid form or in dryer sheets (some manufacturers, like Sun & Earth, offer ones that biodegrade in just 21 days). You can even forgo the commercial softeners and add about 1/4 – 1/2 cup of white vinegar to keep things soft and static free with ‘no smell’.
  4. Water: Wash your clothes in cold water and you’ll save on energy bills.
  5. Washing Machines: Older, top-loading washing machines can use up to 40 gallons of water per load! Reduce your water usage and the electricity needed to power your machine, by washing only full loads. If you need to purchase a new washer, consider a high efficiency front-loading model (look for the Energy Star label which use at least 40% less energy and up to 65% less water than a standard washer). Most appliance stores pick up and arrange for recycling of old washers when they deliver your new one.
  6. Drying clothes: Line-dry by hanging clothes outside, or even inside (like on a dryer rack or from the bathtub/shower curtain rod) to dry. This will save energy and reduce your electricity bills by not running the dryer. If you’re only option is to use a dryer, choose one with a moisture sensor which will shut off your machine when clothes are dry. An air-dry feature, which dries clothes with cold air, reduces energy use and wrinkles. By removing clothes from the dryer upon completion of the cycle, you’ll minimize wrinkles and reduce the need for ironing.
  7. Lint: If you do use the dryer, be sure to empty the lint trap every time. Built-up lint is a fire hazard and this will reduce the amount of time it takes for your clothes to dry (another energy saver). For some creative uses for lint, click here.
  8. Clear the Air: Since the laundry room is typically a smaller room, the air quality of the space should be considered. When freshening up a room with a new cheerful color, choose zero- or low-VOC paints. These paints contain minimal amounts of Volatile Organic Compounds that are harmful to your health.

photo by Paul Keleher

Tag(s): Energy, Green Cleaning, Greenhouse Gas Emissions / Global Warming, Greening the Home, Money Saving


Comment on this post