Welcome to Green Boot Camp

Welcome to Green Boot Camp blog, a 52-week program to help you become a greener you in 2008. This is the companion blog to The Lean Green Family (formerly Suddenly Frugal).

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Weeks Fourteen and Fifteen--Green Your Laundry Routine

For the past two weeks I offered suggestions on how you could green the products you choose to use when cleaning your clothes. Now for the next two weeks, we're going to discuss greening your laundry routine all together. I'll help you understand why you always want to wash your clothes on cold (even though your mom may have taught you otherwise), why line drying even if you don't have an outside line makes a lot of sense, and why reducing dryer time can increase your clothing's longevity and your energy bill.

For starters, here are two tips to consider about the washing process:

* Give laundry the cold shoulder
Washing your clothes in cold water is the best way to save energy, resources and money--even if it you have a water-guzzling, top-loading washing machine, so writes Eileen Smith in her recent Courier Post money column. (Smith also has a fun blog about shopping called Shop 'Til You Drop.) You'll notice that there are a number of laundry products on the market these days are allegedly formulated to work best in cold water, including Clorox Cold Water Bleach and Tide Coldwater. It's up to you if you'd like to give them a try. I haven't changed much about my laundry habits since I went all cold, though I have tried the Tide Coldwater to good results. (The PR person sent me a sample, and I have gone on to buy some for myself after the fact. I do love that smell.) Then again before I tried the Tide, my regular detergent seemed to work well, and my clothes were still coming out clean.

* Let Your Clothes Soak
Instead of running the washing cycle all the way through, let your clothes soak for an hour or two. Or, if you work outside the home, throw in a load before you leave for work, shut the washer off before your leave, and then restart when you arrive home. This way you can use the light cycle only, which takes less energy, for finishing the load. And, because your clothes have been soaking, they will come out as clean (if not cleaner) than if you ran the "extra heavy" load cycle start to finish. Note: soaking works for top loaders only. I used to own a front-loader, and soaking clothes meant that only half the pile stayed wet, because front loaders only fill half the bin with water (which is why they are so water efficient). Oh how I miss my front loader!


Anonymous said...

I love your blog! It is full of tips to help my family in our task to become as green as we can. I wondered how I could green up my laundry washing even more. Keep 'em coming!

Leah Ingram said...

Glad you liked my advice. I'll post more on Monday!

Sara said...

I've been doing cold water for a couple years now, and my husband keeps asking "are you sure this works?". Habit is hard to break. And you can line dry all year round if you get a folding drying rack. I've tried 4 different ones, and the best is from Gaiam. Thanks for your blog - I read it even if I don't comment very often.