--Front loading/energy saving washing machines:
I just purchased a Kenmore HE 2Plus front loading automatic washer from Sears, and it uses 15 gallons of water per load vs the 40 gallons of water per load that conventional top-loading washers use. It is marked as an Energy Star/High Efficiency washer, using approximately 161 kilowatts/year electrical energy, compared with the average of 680 kilowatts/year conventional washer. The washer was expensive--$700 on sale, including free delivery and hauling away of the old machine (to be recycled for scrap metal) but I get a total of $135 in rebates from my water company and gas company, making the cost comparable to a high-end conventional washer, and I will be saving money on water and energy costs over time. I figure that this is well worth the investment, especially if I use the washer for an expected 10 years or more. There are many other brands of front-loading washers available.
--Cold Water wash: Save energy by doing all of your wash in cold water rather than using warm/hot water, and waiting until you have a full load to do the wash rather than several small loads.
--Clothes line: Hang all or at least some of your laundry to dry outside, or if you have allergies (pollen clings to the laundry and you will bring it into the house with you when you take your dry laundry in) hang the clothes on a line inside your house. This saves on energy used by your dryer.
--Environmentally friendlier laundry products: There are many companies who sell laundry products that have a lower impact on the environment and people's health. My favorite is Seventh Generation, as their laundry detergent products are biodegradable and free of perfumes, dyes, chlorine bleach, phosphates, optical brighteners, and animal-ingredients, are vegetable based vs. petroleum based, and are safe for septic and greywater systems. They also make low-sudsing products for front-loading washers, and chlorine-free bleach. The liquid products comes in #2 recyclable plastic containers, and the detergent comes in recyclable cardboard containers with a #1 plastic recyclable scoop.
--Simply don't use fabric softeners and dryer sheets as they coat your clothes with toxic chemicals and perfumes. Dryer sheets can also lower the efficiency of your dryer by coating the lint traps, also creating a fire hazard. I use baking soda added in with my laundry soap as a laundry aide; you can use less soap and detergent, and your clothes come out cleaner, whiter, brighter, and scent-free without chemical contaminants.
1) Consumer Reports: Greener Choices, Products for a Better Planet/Washer-Dryers Buying Guide 2007
2) Eco-friendlier laundry products:
NEW! Organic Laundry Detergent! http://curezone.com/blogs/fm.asp?i=2039179
Eco-friendlier fabric softener: http://www.seventhgeneration.com/our_products/laundry/fabric_softener.html
Eco-Friendlier non-chlorine bleach: http://www.seventhgeneration.com/our_products/laundry/chlorine_free_bleach.html
3) Toxic Chemicals found in fabric softeners: http://www.immuneweb.org/articles/fabricsoftener.html
4) Toxic Chemicals found in dryer sheets: http://www.naturalnews.com/002693.html
5) For more product and eco-friendly cleaning information, see:
Homemade "Green" cleaning products: vinegar, soap, a "scrubber", and water. Oh, and don't forget the "elbow grease"! Read on for "green" cleaning in your home!
More Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products! Oven cleaner, window cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, unclogging drains, alternatives to moth balls, floor and furniture polish, and more!
Thanks for Going Green!