The planet might dread laundry days as much as we do. From the tiny plastic particles shed by our polyester clothes to the gobs of water and energy consumed with each wash, our laundry habits add up to some surprising environmental costs. Luckily, greening your laundry routine can be relatively pain-free, and it’s an impactful way to curb your personal environmental footprint. Here are a range of tips, most ultra-convenient, that will not only save you money and spare the earth but also keep your clothes looking better longer.
1. Switch Every Load to Cold
“The simplest and easiest thing to do with no sacrifice at all is to always use cold water wash,” says Noah Horowitz, senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council. Most of us have heard this advice, but we still cling to the notion that hot water equals clean. A recent survey by the American Cleaning Institute shows that only half of Americans wash their clothes in cold water most of the time. The fact is that modern machines and soaps are designed to work best in cooler temps for all but the dirtiest loads. And turning the dial down adds up to huge environmental savings: As much as 90 percent of the energy consumed by our washing machines goes to heating the water. If you simply must use heat, the NRDC says that even turning the dial down to warm can cut the energy use in half.
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