How to move into green laundry solutions

Here we go again! The laundry swirl. You try a new detergent and notice a rash on your youngest child or you start to itch after you've put the fresh clean clothes on. So, now what?  We all have laundry to do, but how do we clean and dry our clothes in a way  that promotes health and well being to ourselves as well as our eco system? Let's start with how we dry our clothes. Using a Laundry Rack or clothesline can save energy that would have been used during machine drying time. The obvious answer is to hang them up. Oh wait, what about seasonal allergies, pollen and the time it takes to hang them and then take them down. Let's not forget the timeless standby, I hate how they feel when they are air dried, all crispy and stiff. There are fixes for these nuisances.

First invest in a solar clothesdryer. (Outdoor Clothesline)

I like to suggest starting with shirts because they are easy. Hang shirts on non rustable coathangers, so they can be shaken out, then put away. Now I know some prefer a softer feel but the stiffness of air dried clothing can quickly be removed, just throw in the clothes dryer for a 5 minute tumble on low or the air setting. You still are saving energy. Next, towels and sheets are easy to hang on the line. Do the same as above for a softer feel.  If you have allergies or live in a high pollen area, a 5 minute tumble should take care of the problem. Right here we have saved at least 2 full dryer loads of energy. FYI…As of September 2009 there became no need for  Energy Star labeling on clothes dryers because most dryers use similar amounts of energy. To reduce the amount of energy your clothes dryer is using, pay attention to the moisture sensor option on your dryer, which automatically shuts off the machine when the clothes are dry. Clean your lint collector before each dryer load, this allows for better air circulation. If you use dryer sheets take the time to scrub out your lint trap. Dryer sheets leave a residue that decreases air flow. If money and conservation isn't your motivator then think of your clothing. Clothing that is line dried last longer. Clothes are not overheated in the sun, like in a machine dryer and the fibers won't break down as fast. That means you get to keep your favorite clothes longer! Yeah…

Second invest in an energy efficient washing machine.

There are so many choices at this time. Wide ranges of prices, front loaders, top loaders and of course "the colors". Lets break down some of the choices you may be seeing. The average US family washes about 400 loads of laundry each year. (7.5 loads per week) It's now possible to cut related energy costs by about a third and the water costs by more than half  just by purchasing a clothes washer with the Energy Star label. Energy Star qualified clothes washers use about 30% less energy and use over 50% less water than regular washers. Over the life of your new Energy Star washer, with your water savings, you could fill three backyard swimming pools. (thats huge!) If your washer is over 10 years old you could save $135 each year on your utility bills just by purchasing a new Energy Star washer.  That's like getting your High Efficiency (HE) detergent free year round. Top loaders verses front loaders: What's behind the door?

Top-loading models look the same as regular machines on the outside, but these Energy Star washers use a different washing action to get clothes clean with less water and energy. Some have sensors to monitor incoming water temperature closely. Instead of rinsing clothes by soaking them in a full tub of water, they use repeated high-pressure spraying.  Front-loading models are similar to machines used in laundromats. They use a horizontal or tumble-axis basket to lift and drop clothing into the water instead of rubbing clothes around a central agitator. They also use faster spin speeds to extract more water from clothes, reducing dryer time and energy. Both model types save energy and money. Tos save more money doing laundry follow some of these Green Guide tips… Run a full laundry load when possible, Use cold water whenever possible, Try to avoid the sanitary cycle unless absolutely necessary, (dry in sun to kill germs), use 1/2 cup vinegar in wash water to help prevent static cling in clothes, add baking soda to the rinse cycle to help freshen and whiten up clothes.