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The Laundry Room

We make decisions regarding our laundry which greatly impact our environment. I will quickly discuss why a particular change should be made, and then offer a simple solution. First, I’ll discuss changes which take almost no time and are completely free! Okay let’s get to it!

1. Hang your clothes to dry

Dryers use an absurd amount of energy. Have you ever thought about why the plug of a dryer is so much bigger than any other one? It draws more power than most anything else in your home. Try hanging your clothes on a line or placing them on a folding drying rack and placing them outside. Even during cold days this can help them dry as long as its sunny. Sometimes I dry them outside, then place them in the dryer for 10 minutes. This saves a lot of energy and gives you the same warm, wrinkle free clothes you’re used to!

2. Unplug your washer and dryer

I discussed in another article why leaving devices plugged into the wall (even when not in use) consumes a lot of power. Safely unplug your devices when not in use and save up to 20% on your electricity bill!

3. Wash clothes on a cold cycle

I understand certain clothes need to be washed in warm or hot water. However, most can and should be washed in cold water! This will save all the energy associated with heating up a large amount of water. This change actually makes a big difference.

4. Only wash clothes when you can do a full load

This sounds obvious, but there are many of us who are guilty of this. When possible, simply hold on to your dirty clothes until the washing machine can be filled completely. This will save on detergent, water, electricity, and time.

5. Do laundry during the day when possible

This concept is more complex so I will try keep it very simple. Most people do laundry and other high electricity use activities in the evening. Therefore, the majority of electricity consumed in your city happens between 5:00 and 9:00pm. Because of this, your utility company needs to find ways to make all that electricity. This means even “clean” utility companies often have to use coal burning power plants to provide enough power to homes in the evening. You can help “shift the load” to the middle of the day when you do tasks like laundry during the day instead. If enough people do this, options like solar and wind can produce enough power all day long to prevent ever having to “turn on” a coal power plant!

We have covered a few very simple and free options to using our laundry rooms more sustainably. Now let’s look at replacing products you would ordinarily buy with healthier and more sustainable products! I am not sponsored by any of the products I discuss below. If I do mention a product by name, there are likely many similar options on the market which you are welcome to try out.

6. Laundry Detergents

Most laundry detergents have harsh chemicals which end up on your clothes, in your skin, and in our waterways. Not only this, but the plastic bottles we use are filling up our landfills because they are not easily recycled. Lastly, this detergent is full of mostly water! This means trucks are transporting heavy and large shipments of water around. Fortunately, there are many options available to us!

One option I have found to be the most interesting are dehydrated detergents that are manufactured into thin sheets. They look very similar to dryer sheets, work incredibly well, and take up very little space. This means the packaging used to wash your closes reduces dramatically! One company I know of that makes this is dropps. Please note there are other similar products available which are worth exploring too.

7. Cleaning Supplies

Similar to the problems of detergents, our common household cleaning items are often not good for our health. We have options to shop for supplies which are cruelty free, vegan, non-toxic, palm oil free, ethically sourced, and ones that have small packaging! Not all of these are true for all products. However, a very helpful blog written by Joy from “Sustainable – Jungle” clearly and methodically goes through a number of products available. She looks at their their environmental impact, and their ability to meet our cleaning standards.

Sustainable Jungle Blog

Some common brands she mentions are Ethique, Dropps, Tru Earth, Dr. Bronners, Seventh Generation, Method, and Zero Co. Another article which is helpful in reading and comparing brands you may want to use is from Good Housekeeping. (link provided below)

Good Housekeeping Article

Thank you for taking a look at yet another article on this site. I really hope that your journey to lowering your carbon footprint is going well! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out via email; Lastly, if you have any topics you think would be great for the website please let me know! I would love for this to become as interactive as possible. Good luck!

-Nick Engler

Cut Your Carbon Footprint Founder

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