Laundry List: Cool Tips to Save Money and Energy

Following eco-friendly laundry tips can save on energy, water usage and utility bills, making it good for both the planet and the bank account. The laundry results, too, may be better for some loads.

RealSimple.com advises that 90 percent of the energy consumed while running a wash load is used to heat the water, so the average household can eliminate as much as 350 pounds of carbon emissions and save about $40 annually by turning the knob to cold. It also notes that some protein-heavy stains, like perspiration and blood, can become more set into the fabric when washed in hot water, which can also shrink synthetic fibers.

For sweat stains, DIYNatural.com suggests combining two tablespoons of cream of tartar, a few drops of lemon essential oil and water to make a paste. Mix and spread it on the stain, and then rub it in and let dry. Another pre-laundry option is to pour or spray a 3 percent solution of hydrogen peroxide onto the stain and then soak for about 30 minutes.

Mildly soiled laundry doesn’t necessarily need hot water for adequate cleaning, reports the Mother Nature Network. It advises pre-soaking heavily soiled laundry in cold water for about an hour, adding four tablespoons of baking soda to loosen dirt and grime.

“Responding quickly to stains always helps,” says Steve Boorstein, a Boulder, Colorado, clothing-care expert on his ClothingDoctor.com website. “For washable clothing, flush the stained area with cool water to remove any solid matter. Never rub the stain in order to avoid driving it deeper into the fabric.”

Conserve more energy as well as water by always assembling a full load of laundry. Appliance performance can also make an eco-difference. Energy Star estimates that water savings of between 40 and 75 percent can be achieved with front-loading machines instead of top-loaders. Line drying wins over a clothes dryer in terms of freshness, energy use and kindness to the environment.

Start with biodegradable and phosphate-free detergents made from plant- and vegetable-based ingredients.

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