ID-10065893If you’re like most health conscious people, finding environmentally-friendly ways to clean your home and your laundry is important.

Here are 7 critical ways to help keep your laundry eco-friendly, clean, and healthy for your family.

  1. Because most of the wear and tear to our clothing comes from washing and drying them, plan on wearing some of your clothing more than once between cleanings.  Place items on hangers to keep them from wrinkling.
  2. If your washer and dryer are old, invest in a new energy-efficient washer and dryer.  Most newer models are more efficient than those manufactured 10 years ago.  Energy Star washers also reduce energy use by about 30% compared to standard washers. They also reduce water consumption by over 50% and have a better spin cycle which means less drying time.
  3. Many detergents contain phosphates and petroleum that gets washed down the drain into our waterways.  Some detergents also contain artificial brighteners and fragrances that may leave a residue on clothing and can also trigger an allergic response.  Switching to detergents made with plant-based ingredients and are phosphate and fragrance-free is better.
  4. Wash your laundry with cold water if possible.  90% of the energy used by a washing machine is to heat the water. Choosing an eco-friendly laundry detergent specifically for cold water will also help keep your whites white.  Washing full loads can save you more than 3,400 gallons of water each year.
  5. Consider line drying your clothes.  This way your laundry will dry natural, fresh and fluffy, and your clothes will last longer.  For those living in cold or wet areas, use an indoor drying rack to achieve the same benefits.
  6. For a great natural, home-made fabric softener that will leave your clothes soft,  add 3/4 cup of white distilled vinegar to your rinse cycle.
  7. Instead of chemically treated dryer sheets,  make your laundry smell great by filling a cotton muslin bag with your favorite herbs (mine is lavender).  Add a few drops of essential oils to the herbs, sew (or tie) the bag shut, and toss it in the dryer.