Even if you don’t have the most efficient washer and dryer, there are some simple things you can do to conserve money, water and energy—and reduce waste—in your laundry room. Start implementing these small changes now and get ready to check out their big impact on your schedule, utility bill and environment!
1. Reuse your towels
Despite what you may believe, you don’t need to wash your towels after every use. Case in point: the towel you dry off with following a bath or shower. You’re clean, so the towel should be, too. Hanging it up and reusing it will help curb your water usage and may even extend the life of the towel. And less laundry is never a bad thing!
2. Wait for a full load
Every time you use your washing machine it consumes water. So, instead of running several small loads, try to consolidate washes whenever possible. Cutting out just one load of laundry a week can add up to big energy savings over the course of a year. If, for some reason, you must run a small wash cycle, be sure to select the “small load” setting, which uses less water.
3. Choose cold water
“Water heating consumes about 90 percent of the energy it takes to operate a clothes washer,” according to Energy Star. So, use warm—or better still, cold—water and laundry detergent for most of your washes and save the energy-intensive hot water for those times when sanitation is a must (e.g., viral outbreak in your home). Not only will doing so save energy, it will delay the inevitable wear-and-tear on your favorite articles of clothing!
4. Pick your detergent wisely
Not all laundry detergent is created equal. To protect your clothing and the environment, choose a biodegradable variety, such as Biokleen Grapefruit Seed and Citrus Extract Laundry Powder. This all-temperature detergent with chlorine-free bleach is odor-free and “ultra-concentrated to reduce packaging, waste and energy.” Plus, it cleans 100 loads of laundry!
5. Avoid the “extra rinse” cycle
Many modern washers offer an extra rinse cycle, which, as you probably guessed, translates to extra water usage. If you use the correct amount of detergent, your clothes won’t require a second rinse. So, it’s best for your bills and the planet to skip this unnecessary step.
6. Let clothes air dry
Although washing machines have become more efficient in recent years, most dryers are still energy vampires. To reduce your energy use (and lengthen the life of your clothes), set up a folding rack in your laundry room and allow delicate, lightweight items to air dry when possible.
7. Choose a reusable fabric softener
If you must run the dryer, consider using one of the following in place of standard dryer sheets:
- Reusable dryer balls: We highly recommend Woolzies Dryer Balls Dream Dry Fabric Softener, which are made of 100-percent wool. The set of six extra-large, chemical-free, hypoallergenic dryer balls reduces static, eliminates wrinkles and lasts for over 1,000 loads!
- Reusable dryer sheets: Try a 32-pack of GrabGreen Fragrance Free Wet Dryer Sheets, which soften clothes, remove static cling and accommodate up to 64 loads of laundry. These non-toxic sheets are sustainably harvested and compostable, not to mention free of masking agents, dyes and animal fat and wax.
For even greater savings, consider upgrading your washer and/or hot water heater to newer, more energy-efficient models.
Looking for more areas of your home to reduce waste? Check out 8 Ways to Reduce Waste in the Kitchen, 4 Hacks to Reduce Food Waste and 5 Smart Ways to Make Your Bathroom Greener.