Sustainable & Cost-Saving Laundry Tips ft. Candice Batista
Leading sustainability and eco-living enthusiast Candice Batista put together some of her top tips for minimizing environmental impact when doing laundry. It seems like such a small area to focus on, but a few changes can make a huge difference on the environment and bills. Find Candice’s practical and easy to follow tips below and also make sure to check out her site, The Eco Hub, for more sustainable living how-to’s.
Get a wash load of savings in your laundry room! The key to making your laundry routine more eco-friendly is to cut the electricity and chemicals. Here are a few ways to get started:
- Retire the iron
Finally, the perfect excuse to ditch that unpleasant chore once and for all. Did you know that your iron can use up to 1,800 KW of electricity? Line drying your clothes or removing them from the dryer while they’re still hot will help prevent wrinkles. Also, try to stop the problem at the source: shop for fabrics that do not require ironing.
- Reduce dryer time
Skipping the dryer sheets is a good way to reduce the chemical products in your home. Wool dryer balls cut static cling and reduce drying time by 40 per cent per load.
If static is a big issue, remove clothing just before it is completely dry and hang it on a clothesline. If you put on a skirt and it sticks to your side, try spraying some water in the air and walk through it to solve your cling problem.
Divide and conquer. Try drying clothes made with synthetic fabrics separately. Lightweight synthetics dry much more quickly than bath towels and natural fibres.
Your dryer is also an electricity hog. Using a clothesline or rack is the greenest option. If it’s time to replace your unit, check out washer-dryer combos and high-efficiency models, which use less water and are able to squeeze out more moisture during the spin cycle. Also, look for a dryer with a moisture sensor, which shuts down the machine when clothes are dry. The air-dry cycle, which uses cold air, also reduces energy use and wrinkles.
- Lint be gone
Proper washer and dryer maintenance will save you money in the long run, and keeping your lint trap clean can save up to $35 a year in energy costs. A clogged filter will restrict air flow and reduce dryer performance.
- Reduce, reuse, rewear
Research by the United Nations Environment Program found that we can consume up to five times less energy by re-wearing our jeans three times. This cost-cutting plan should not extend to socks and underwear, though. Washing your jeans in cold water and skipping the dryer saves energy and money, too.
- Bright ideas
Just say no to bleach, which can pollute waterways and is toxic to both humans and animals, if ingested. If the words “poison” or “hazardous” appear on a product, it’s time to rethink that purchase. Other things to avoid: phosphates, ammonia, glycol ethers, parabens, acids and chlorine. Always read the label, but keep in mind that even cleaning products advertised as “eco” can contain harsh ingredients. Do your research and contact the manufacturers with any questions.
One green option is to use lemons as a bleaching agent: just add a cup of lemon juice to your wash cycle.
- Do fewer loads
Choose a washing machine that meets the needs of your family. Make sure to research models and their reviews in advance, for example on a site like Consumer Search. Always opt for energy star rated machines.
Washers range in capacity too, so if your regular loads are small, opt for a smaller model that will use less water and energy. Take big items such as duvets and comforters to a public laundromat.
Also opt for single rinse cycles to cut energy use even further.
- Cool it down
Up to 90 per cent of the energy used when washing your clothes is from heating up the water. Cut it down by washing in warm or cold water.
- A wash load of savings
Cut back on the chemicals and seek eco detergent options. Also pay close attention to the quantity of soap that is recommended on the washing machine — that’s the most efficient amount and there is no need to go over it. Using too much soap can force the machine to work harder and even leave residue on your clothes, which can cause skin irritation and allergies. Plus, you’ll save on your detergent bills.
- The dry cleaning dilemma
A number of dry cleaners claim to be green, natural and organic, but there are no regulations in place to guarantee that a cleaner is using non-toxic alternatives. Look into “wet cleaning,” as an alternative. Avoid cleaners using PERC, or perchloroethylene, which has been classified as a carcinogen.
To avoid frequent tips to the dry cleaners, try:
- Throwing your clothes in the dryer for about 10 minutes with a small, damp towel, which will act as a steam clean.
- Invest in a steamer, which will help clean and ease wrinkles.
- In the winter, wear undergarments that can help block sweat stains and odours from delicate fabrics.
- Tackle stains the moment they happen.
Candice Batista is an award winning environmental journalist and one of Canada’s leading eco advocates. Her career spans national and international media outlets, where she has used her background in environmental studies and media & communications to produce and report on various environmental and climate issues for primarily television and digital audiences including Huffington Post, The Globe & Mail, The Weather Network, CityTV, Rogers Television, The Pet Network, iChannel, and CTV, where she is currently the National Eco Expert for the stations number one daytime talk show, The Marilyn Denis Show.