If protecting the planet seems like it requires a Herculean effort, it’s oftentimes the smallest and simplest efforts that have profound, long-lasting impacts.
Though doing laundry is a necessary task, it also can be wasteful. You may be unknowingly wasting energy and water but fortunately, correcting such mistakes and making laundry day more eco-friendly is a simple and effective way to do your part.
• Only wash full loads. Washing clothes only when there’s a full load is more efficient than washing half- or almost-full loads. Washing machines consume potentially substantial amounts of energy, so washing only full loads will cut back the amount of energy wasted when machines are used to clean smaller loads. If you must wash small loads, be sure to use the appropriate water-level setting.
• Clean lint traps after each load. Lint traps catch lint from clothing so newly cleaned clothes look as good as possible. To ensure clothes dryers are running at peak capacity and not wasting energy, clean the lint traps after each load.
• Air dry clothes when possible. The U.S. Department of Energy notes that clothing manufacturers often recommend that certain fabrics be air-dried instead of dried in clothes dryers. But you can still air-dry clothes made from fabrics that are dryer-friendly, and doing so greatly reduces the energy consumed on laundry day.
• Use the right detergent. Washing clothes in front-loading washing machines or high-efficiency top-loading machines is more eco-friendly, as such machines use less water than more traditional washers. Detergents designed specifically for high-efficiency machines can ensure clothes are well-cleaned.
• Separate certain items when drying clothes. Blue jeans and bath towels can take a long time to dry. When included among cotton T-shirts and other lightweight fabrics, jeans and towels can make it harder for these items to dry which means your dryer must run for longer periods of time, thereby consuming more energy. Separate items when drying so lightweight clothing can dry as quickly as possible. If necessary, air-dry stubborn towels and jeans after drying them for a little while in the dryer.
Doing laundry might not be the most enjoyable chore, but it can still be eco-friendly.