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Go green in the laundry room

Julie Kraut is a freelance writer and the author of Slept Away and Hot Mess. Visit JulieKraut.com for more.




Get clean & be green

Take a closer look at your laundry room. It’s the Thunderdome of your house: Energy consumption vs. Planet Earth, in a daily cagematch. OK, perhaps it's not that dramatic, but your laundry room can be a huge energy suck. On the bright side, that means there's a lot of potential for you to cut your energy costs and help save the planet right in your laundry room. Let’s take a look at some small changes you can make while sudsing your duds.

Hanging clothes to dry

1get a Greener machine.

You may think your washer's only eating dirty socks, but if it's more than 10 years old, it could be eating away at your savings. Per Energy Star, swapping to an energy-efficient machine will save you nearly $135 a year -- a year's worth of detergent.

2Skip steps.

Sunshine is Mother Nature's dryer. On a sunny day, skip the dryer and let your clothes dry the old-fashioned way. If you'd miss that just-from-the-dryer feeling too much, how about skipping the ironing? That will save some energy, and jeans look way cooler without a crease down the front anyway.

3Suds discerningly.

Look for soaps that are specially formulated to be green -- meaning they biodegrade easily and aren't made of petroleum. If you're not willing to go totally green soap-wise, take a baby step and buy a concentrate of the brand you trust. The packaging leaves a smaller carbon footprint in its wake and in your wallet.

4keep your machine running clean.

Even standard-efficiency appliances use less energy when they're running at top condition, so take care of your washer and dryer. Clean the lint trap in your dryer after every load, and get your washer inspected occasionally and repaired when needed.

5go Cold turkey.

Reduce the power your machine uses by washing your clothes in cold water, instead of warm or hot. Bonus: Your clothes will look newer for longer and won't shrink.

6Size matters.

Always adjust your machine to the size of your load. This saves tons of water and energy when you're washing just a few items.

7use every bit of heat you can.

If you're going to use a dryer, put your loads in one right after the other to capitalize on the leftover heat from the previous cycle. You'll save energy by not reheating the dryer from cold every time, and it should shorten drying time.

8What laundry?

And last but not least... just don't do the laundry. That's right: You don't need to wash your towel every time you shower, and unless those jeans are walking themselves, you can wear them one, two or three more times. If you can't see or smell that it's dirty, neither can anyone else.

Take a good look at your laundry room and see what you can tweak to make for a clean and green space. Happy wash day… or if you're really being green, happy skip-laundry day!

More on eco-friendly living

Eco-friendly home decor
5 Green kitchen gadgets
Green interior designers

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