Green Laundry Tips
- Friday, 12 March 2010
Making small changes to your laundry routine can help you move toward a greener and more natural way of living. Good laundry practice also has good economical value—treating clothes better means prolonging the life of clothing, which is nice for the pocketbook!
As well, using higher efficiency, eco-friendly laundry detergents will save you a few dollars and is great for your skin. When choosing a laundry detergent, make sure to read the labels, and check for concentrated, phosphate-free and scent-free detergents. Make sure there is as little chemical content and as little added scent as possible, as perfumes are often the culprit of skin irritations.
There has been an increasing trend towards 'cold water washing' and quite a few reasons why it is the better way to go. It saves energy consumption costs, meaning you won't be paying as much for hot water. It is actually better to clean in cold water - think about it, hot water can set a stain whereas cold water allows for it to be removed easier. Cold water also reduces shrinkage, wear and fading of your garments. Finally, you can get a specially formulated detergent for cold water, and reduce the amount you use by as much as half. This is starting to sound really good, right?
Another laundry conundrum is 'smelly' appliances. If your washing machine smells, here are some good tips as to how you can stop that from happening. First, try adding a couple drops of essential lavender oil to your wash. Since lavender has natural anti-bacterial properties, it can prevent the growth of mold and stop anything bad-smelling from cropping up (but don't leave your laundry sitting for a week!). In fact, you can find detergents made with lavender so even if clothing is left for a couple of days it won't stink (it happens to the best of us).
If your washing machine smells musty when not in use for a few days, this is because water is sitting still in a warm, enclosed environment – the perfect conditions for mold. Try leaving the door open to let air circulate. To further assist in deodorizing, try cleaning your washing machine out every 3 months. Add 10 drops of lavender oil to water and spray the inside of the appliance. Let it sit for a few minutes and wipe down with a dry cloth. This should lightly disinfect and leave a fresh scent. You can try the same thing in the dryer and don't forget to clean the lint trap.
Finally, another laundry issue we all face is static. Static is caused mostly by over-drying clothes. One solution is hanging items to dry. Not only is it better for the energy bill, but the dryer can stress the fibers and make the clothing look more worn. Hanging to dry also prevents shrinking, because it preserves their shape and true size better.
Try picking up a drying rack and hanging your laundry up to dry. If you have time, you can pull the load right out of the wash, give each item a shake to eliminate wrinkles and then hang to dry. To speed the process, dry the clothes for about 10 minutes in the dryer and then pull out the 'hang-able' items and hang them on a rack to finish drying. For me, socks, pajamas, linens and towels should remain in the dryer (I don't find it manageable to hang these).
To reduce static for these items, try picking up dryer balls—they really do the trick. They look like little porcupines and bang around in your dryer when in use. Essentially, they beat out static and help fluff items so your laundry comes out fresh and fluffy. With dryer balls, there is no need to use a dryer sheet, and no more unneeded chemicals and waste.
Help keep your clothes, bills, and skin happy by employing these laundry tips!