About 90 percent of the energy associated with doing laundry involves just heating up the water. The solution: Turn that dial to cold.
2 of 8William Abranowicz
Wash Full Loads
Even the most energy-efficient loads use 40 gallons of water. Reducing the number of loads you do each week will save water and money. If you find yourself doing eight or more loads of laundry each week, skipping just one will save over 10 percent on your laundry costs.
3 of 8Whirlpool
Upgrade To Energy Efficient Washer and Dryer
This is not permission to go out and replace your current machine that’s running just fine. (But nice try!) If you’re in the market for a new washer or dryer, buying an energy efficient model can save both water and energy, and lower your bills.
4 of 8 John Lawton
Switch to Natural Detergents and Stain Removers
Natural products tend to be free of chlorine bleach, synthetic fragrance, dyes, and optical brighteners. What's in them? They’re usually plant (not petroleum) based, contain biodegradable surfactants, and are often specifically formulated to perform well in cold water. Be sure to read the fine print when shopping.
5 of 8Mark Lund
Choose Non-Chlorine Bleach
Use in the home isn’t quite as detrimental for the environment as industrial use (like bleaching paper), but chlorine bleach can irritate skin and eyes. Most non-chlorine bleach is hydrogen peroxide. You can buy branded versions, or just stick to the 3 percent version sold in drug stores. And doing so will really add up. In fact, if every U.S. household replaced just one 64–ounce bottle of chlorine bleach with non-chlorine bleach, we could prevent 11.6 million pounds of chlorine from entering our environment.
6 of 8RealSimple
Rethink Dryer Sheets
The chemicals–including synthetic fragrances—found in conventional dryer sheets and fabric softeners are similar to what is found in conventional detergents. They’re largely questionable for human health and the environment. Plus, don’t even think about recycling those dryer sheets. Either skip them entirely or choose eco-friendly ones like Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day lavender dryer sheets.
7 of 8Peter Lamastro
Hang Clothes to Dry
Keeping your clothes out of a dryer extends their life, reduces energy use, and cuts costs. Whether indoors or outside, line drying can be done year round. Just don’t put dark colors in bright sunlight or they’ll fade. Bonus: Indoor rack drying during the winter doubles as a humidifier.
8 of 8James Wojick
Make Your Own Laundry Products
The only real way to know what’s going into your laundry is to whip up your own solutions. Use safe-for-the-environment ingredients that are already in your pantry like vinegar, lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda. Many of these DIY formulas have been used for generations and get the job done.