Eco-friendly laundry tips
Below are several eco-friendly laundry tips you can easily put into practice the very next time you visit the laundromat!
Use Less Energy and Water By Using Bigger Washing Machines
The more water you use when doing laundry, the more energy you use and the more water you waste! While most washers have small load options that use less water than a full load, you still use more water using these settings than if you combine more of your clothes into one big washer! This is where going to the laundromat wins out over doing laundry at home. In fact, some of our customers have washing machines at home but still come to our laundromats so they can throw all their clothes, sheets, towels, etc into one big machine. Not only is this a more convenient, you can lower your carbon footprint considerably by doing so!
We are proud that we offer our customers high capacity front loading washing machines that allow for this eco-friendly practice. Keep in mind too that front loading washing machines use far less water than top loading washing machines in general. In fact, they use only thirty to fifty percent of the water that top loading machines use, yet they can hold two to three times more clothes!
Wash Your Clothes In Cold Water To Save Energy
One of the easiest things you can do to reduce your environmental footprint is to start washing all your clothes in cold water! Yes, we know... your Mother/Grandmother taught you to wash your tidy whites in hot water and your colors in warm water, right? Further, you've probably been led to believe that washing your clothes in cold water won't get them clean, right?
Well, guess what... that just isn't true at all! In fact, scientific experiments have proven that your clothes will get just as clean washing them in cold water! Procter & Gamble, the makers of Tide detergent have tested this as well, and like scientists who have studied it, they have concluded that cold water cleans clothes just as well as warm or hot water. In fact, they have teamed up with The Alliance To Save Energy to educate the public on this scientific fact and set a goal of getting 70 percent of all washes in the USA done in cold water by year 2020. You can help reach this goal by switching to cold water washes the next time you visit one of our laundromats in Clearwater Florida!
According to the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), more than thirty-six percent of the average family's use of hot water goes into washing clothes. Wow... that's a lot! Just think how much energy you will save if you use only cold water... and it's such an easy change to make! The NRDC actually estimates that thirty million tons of carbon dioxide could be saved per year if people made the switch to wash in cold water. It's also a wonderful habit to pass along to your children as you explain to them why you are making the switch to washing in cold water only. Remind them that every time they use electricity, unless it happens to be produced by an alternative energy source like solar or wind, that the power they are using ultimately comes from fossil fuels, a finite resource which we all must learn to conserve.
If your kids or spouse begins to argue with the idea of using cold water instead of warm or hot water and asks questions like, "How will our clothes ever get clean in cold water?!" you can throw down the gauntlet and make them a challenge. Have them dirty up an old white pillow case, cut it in half, and wash one side in cold water and the other side in hot water. When the wash is all finished, have the whole family examine both sides of the white pillow case to decide which is cleaner! Is there actually a difference?
You may also want to explain to them after the challenge that hot water actually makes some types of stains, such as blood stains and grass stains, more permanent and harder to remove no matter what kind of stain remover you use. This is because the hot water causes the the stain to "set," i.e. chemically bond, into the fabric of your clothes.
Make Your Own Eco-Friendly Detergent
Even though phosphates were banned from commercial laundry detergents in the 1970s, they still contain many extremely harmful chemicals that get into the groundwater, harming wildlife and ourselves. For example, nonylphenol ethoxylate (NPE) and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) are often added to detergents to act as surfactants and emulsifiers. These chemicals mimic estrogen in humans and cause hormonal disruptions that have cascading effects on the human body, including interfering with human reproduction and causing cancer. Likewise, this chemical disrupts the reproductive cycle of fish and other aquatic wildlife. Dioxane, a chemical that the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) rates as highly toxic to the nervous system and kidneys and more toxic than many pesticides, is found as an industrial contaminant in many commercial detergents. Not only is this dangerous to the human body, it is getting into our groundwater! Many of the fragrances used in commercial laundry detergents are toxic as well.
While there are a variety of eco-friendly detergents on the market, it is quite easy to make your own and you'll save a lot of money to boot! They work just as well, if not better, than regular detergents.
Here is one recipe for homemade eco-friendly laundry detergent:
1 12-oz box of borax (sodium tetraborate), 1 12-oz box of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), 1 bar of pure castile soap (grated fine or powered in food processor) and 12-oz epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) - optional
Mix all ingredients. Multiply formula as needed.
Add 1/2 cup of white vinegar to brighten and deodorize clothes if desired. This works great for sweaty work clothes, children's clothes, gym clothes, and pet blankets.
Add 1/2 cup of 1 percent hydrogen peroxide to help remove tough stains. (Don't forget to read the care label with respect to bleach.)
Use Eco-friendly Stain Removers
Almost all stains can be removed with two eco-friendly ingredients: white vinegar and baking soda! As an added bonus, both are super cheap, especially if you buy them in bulk. Test the effect of the ingredients on an inconspicious part of your clothing just in case before using it on the stained area.
1. For dry stains, soak the stain in white vinegar for 15 minutes and then wash as normal.
2. For wet stains, apply baking soda to the area to absorb the excess stain. Then soak with white vinegar as described above.
3. For extra stubborn stains, make a paste composed of white vinegar and baking soda and rub this into the stubborn area using an old toothbrush.
Don't Over Dry Your Clothes
You can save some more energy by not over drying your clothes. If you hang your clothes after you take them out of the dryer, you don't have to dry them to absolutely bone dry!
Pass On These Eco-Friendly Laundry Habits
Keep all of these eco-friendly tips in mind the next time you go to the laundromat and teach them to your children as well. You may start a family tradition that will also be shared with friends far and wide, in person and on social media channels. One person really can make a big difference with a simple act like explaining to their little girl why the family is switching to cold water washes at the laundromat and putting their clothes in one big washing machine!