he-washer-and-detergentMany of us are making the effort to “go green” as much as we can in our daily lives. The marching orders that we are instructed to live under to become more environmentally conscious is to “think globally. Act locally”. This means that in even such mundane areas of life such as doing the laundry we can look for ways to live in a way that is more sensitive to the environment and that reduces the amount of pollution we impose on our land and water.

The fundamental act of washing your clothing is not itself bad on the environment. However, our use of washer and dryers does use electricity and uses water. Now, one big change that seems to be underway is a switch to front loading washing machines which use less water and detergent. This is a step in the right direction. But you can do some conservation even in using a top loading washer. Two ways come to mind.

First, you can switch to a type of laundry detergent that is referred to as “HE” or high efficiency. These new detergents have been invented primarily to be used with front loading machines because you have to have a detergent that is low sudsing to work with that type of cloths washing design. But you can switch to “HE” laundry soap even in your top loading washer. You will see fewer suds but what the detergent makers don’t tell us is that the water is what does most of the cleaning anyway. So the suds may be for your benefit which means it may not be necessary to clean clothing at all.

The second step that has a direct impact on how much laundry detergent you put into the water supply when your washer drains out is to reduce the amount of detergent you use by at least half. You many find that your clothes come out just as clean with less detergent and you save money, put less chemicals into the environment and probably will end up with clothing that is softer and more hypoallergenic because there is less residual detergent in your clothing when the wash is done. Experiment by reducing the amount of detergent with each load and see how little can use and still get a good result in clean clothing. The outcome might be surprising.

When you look at the entire cycle of washing and drying, you can cut out a lot of what you do and save money and cut your consumption of electricity as well. If you have a private back yard, you can easily set up a clothesline and hang up your laundry to dry in the afternoon breeze. You don’t have to go with a permanent clothesline installation. You can buy the line and stretch it between the posts on your patio or two trees. The more you hang up, the less you are running your dryer and the more “green” your laundry cycle can be.

Not only are these tips great ways to think globally and act locally, they will save you money and perhaps even enhance your quality of life as well. So give them a try. You may fall in love with being an “environmentalist” after all.

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