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Green machines

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Laundry. It’s the eternal chore — never seems to be done. No matter how many loads, there’s always a mountain of clothing. And let’s not even get started on the folding!

With all the laundry being done out there, it’s no surprise to learn that most of us have room for improvement in this area when it comes to living green. Between using bleaches and hot water and drying every single last item of clothing, we’re due for a laundry overhaul.

Without buying an entire laundry room’s worth of new things, there’s some things you can do immediately:

  • Cold water works great for washing! Please note that does recommend laundering sheets in hot water to kill dust mites and allergens.
  • Hang it up! Buy a clothes line or a a drying rack and use it. In addition to saving money and energy, line drying will help keep your clothes looking great for longer.

If you are ready to make some larger changes, then the most obvious place to start is by looking at replacing your washer and/or dryer. The Green Guide recommends that when shopping for a washing machine, you look at ENERGY STAR ratings, water factor, top loaders vs. front loaders and programmable wash cycles.

For dryers, their recommendations are a little different. They point out that if your washing machine is energy efficient, that will help speed drying time. A good thing to look for however is moisture sensors — clothes get just as dry as you need them. And if you can hang on to your old dryer until 2011, you may have some options. The Green Guide says that “smart dryers” are “green machines…designed to use power only during the electricity grid’s non-peak periods. That reduces overall demand and the emissions from largely coal-fired power plants.”

And for some ratings on washers, visit Re-Nest’s round-up of energy efficient washing machines.

Photo courtesy of aussiegall on Flickr