Make Your Laundry Green

Chris Goldberg / Flickr


If every US household used the most-efficient washers, it could save the equivalent of up to 40 million barrels of oil a year!

Laundry is no one's favorite chore, but there's no reason to add injury to insult by polluting in the process. There are environmental considerations on laundry day, including the energy used to wash, dry, and iron clothes, and the products used to make clothes come out whiter, brighter, and smelling like a sunny day in May. Here are some tips to consider:

  • Warm up to cooler water. Using hot water for both washing and rinsing uses three and a half times more energy than washing in warm water and rinsing in cold. 
  • Get efficient. The newest, most-efficient washers use four times less energy than the least-efficient machines, and save up to $70 a year in energy costs. 
  • Don't overheat. Lowering your water heater's temperature to 120 will suffice for most household needs and cut energy costs. 
  • Get loaded. It takes less energy to do one big load than two smaller ones. But don't overload the machine or nothing will get clean. 
  • Go with the flow. Regularly check and clean your dryer's outside vent. Failing to do so could allow cold air into your house or prevent clothes from drying efficiently, or even cause a fire.
  • Hang it up. Reduce the need for ironing by taking clothes out of the dryer slightly damp and hanging them up. That can save energy - including yours.



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You can also get a tax credit of 30% on the purchase of an energy star appliance, up to $1500. That's a nice savings and will help offset the cost.

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