Laundry Done Right

The laundry room leaves us with a huge opportunity to save some serious dollars and gain some energy sense. By tweaking just a few things about how we wash our clothes, we can significantly change our environmental impact over the course of our lifetime. 

Here are a few tips to help you save money on that energy bill, keep your clothes lasting longer, and protect our water supply from harsh chemicals and toxins.

Wear it twice. Or even thrice. Most items (especially the beloved blue jean) stay fresh enough to wear a handful of times rather than washing after every single use. You can also keep your clothes looking newer, longer by washing less -- the majority of wear and tear actually happens from being agitated in the washer and dryer, not from regular wear. 


Use cold or warm water. Unless you're dealing with a serious stain, cold or warm water is perfectly acceptable to give your garments a fresh new face. Just by switching your water temp from hot to warm, you can cut your energy usage by about half. Most of the energy a washing machine uses is to heat up the water -- not the actual wash cycle itself. 

Slide over, Tide. Use Charlie's Soap. Charlie's Soap has got the scoop on keeping clean and being green. It's good for your clothes, good for you, and made locally in Mayodan, North Carolina. Plus, it's actually certified to have a low environmental impact.

Because Charlie's is made of all natural ingredients there are no residual chemicals or dyes left in the threads of your garments. Detergents that do contain perfumes, chemicals, and dyes pollute our drinking water supply, can cause skin irritation, and are toxic to humans. 

Charlie's Soap biodegradation information can be found here.

Use the power of the glorious sun. Hang your clothes to dry and not only will you see savings in your energy bill, but you'll also extend the life of your garments. Some items (like my dog's bedding and towels) may require a dryer. By washing those items back to back the dryer can use the residual heat for the next cycle. 

Natural, wool dryer balls also help immensely in the dryer. They cut drying time, help with static electricity, and act as a natural fabric softener. Skip the tennis balls and dryer balls with PVC -- you're releasing harsh toxins into your clothes which will get left on your sensitive skin. 

Spot treat stains with hydrogen peroxide and forget the bleach. I once got a red wine stain out of a cream colored silk shirt. It required immediate action and an overnight soak, but the result was a success. 

Update your appliances. If you have a front loading washing machine, congratulations! You're using about 10-25 less gallons of water per load and using less energy than a standard washer. This technology uses a gentle-enough-for-silk, agitator free system -- so now you can wash your delicate "dry clean only" items at home!

Every small step we take makes an impact! Be an advocate! Share your ideas, keep your friends in the loop, and maybe buy them or your mom a dryer ball :)

With Savings and Sense,