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10 Tips for Greener Laundry

Updated on October 30, 2012

Want to save yourself some money and help to save the earth at the same time? Look no further than the laundry room for a place where you can make a few simple changes that will have a big impact on both of these areas. By reducing the amount of water and energy waste in your laundry room, you will save money on your monthly utility bills. You’ll also be contributing to a greener world through your smart conservation choices at home.

Here are ten smart tips to follow for a greener laundry room:

1.     Invest in an Energy Star washer and dryer with advanced features. Hopefully the washing machine that you have at home is already an Energy Star machine. If not, it might be worth it in the long run to go ahead and invest in these energy-efficient appliances. Be smart about buying a new machine. Try to get machines that offer advanced conservation functions like auto-level water in the washing machine and a moisture sensor in the dryer. These things help to make sure that you only use the amount of water and energy that you actually need for each load.

2.     Wash everything with cold water. Once you have the right machines, you need to implement the right practices to make sure that you conserve as much energy as possible. One smart move is to always wash everything in cold water so that you aren’t using the hot water heater when you wash laundry. If you have clothes that are particularly stained or dirty, you can pre-soak them in the cold water before washing them (also in cold water).

3.     Lower the temperature on your hot water heater. If you absolutely insist that you have to wash certain items in hot water (even though this isn’t true) then at least lower the temperature of the water that you are using. If you lower your hot water heater’s temperature then the warm and hot settings on your washing machine will be lower and you’ll be wasting less energy (and therefore less money on electricity) around the house.

4.     Always wash only full loads of laundry. It’s better to go longer between the times that you wash and to have a full load of each type of laundry that you are washing. This allows you to make the most of a single cycle through the washing machine and dryer. Of course, don’t over-fill the machines because then they won’t work properly but do fill them up to the fullest capacity.

5.     Ignore the permanent press option on your washing machine. This option uses more water than the other options and it is not really a necessary feature of your machine. Skip it and save water.

6.     Make your own natural laundry detergent. Stop buying the stuff filled with chemicals that’s bad for the earth, bad for you and bad for your wallet. Instead, learn how to make your own natural laundry detergent at home. It can be used in the washing machine safely and will significantly reduce the amount of money that you spend doing your laundry.

7.     Dry your clothes on the line. There isn’t really any reason that you need to use your dryer, is there? Most people will find that it’s reasonable to start hanging their clothes out on a line or on a drying rack. Sure, it takes a little bit more time but you end up saving a lot of energy around the home. Try doing this at least a few times per month and you’ll find that it’s something that you can get used to.

8.     Dry clothes only as much as you actually need to. If you do insist on using a dryer at home then make sure that you aren’t running it more than you need to run it. Keep the lint basket free of lint so that the dryer works its best. Always dry clothes with similar textures (towels with other towels, shirts with shirts, etc.) to maximize the drying efficiency of the machine. Always dry full loads. Check on the dryer periodically to make sure that you aren’t running it for longer than necessary. (You don’t need to do this during every wash, just now and then to make sure that you’re aware of how the machine is operating.)

9.     Dry one load after another after another. If you are going to use a dryer, you want to make sure that you do as many loads as possible at one time. This is because the dryer takes energy to heat up. It retains some of that energy immediately after drying a load of clothing. If you dry multiple loads at once, less energy may be required to dry the second, third and fourth loads. Since you already waited to make sure that you had full loads, it shouldn’t be a problem for you to do several loads at once.

10. Don’t use dryer sheets. They aren’t a necessary part of washing your clothes even though many people seem to think that they are. They cost money and they aren’t good for the earth. Arguably, they aren’t good for your own health either. Stop buying them.

Try to pay attention to the little things that you do in the laundry room. Ask yourself as you take each step if you’re doing the greenest thing that you can do when it comes to your laundry.


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  • profile image

    Inner Hippie 7 years ago


    If you actually take a look at the leading detergents in stores, they're full of water and chemicals. So, making your own detergent and adding your favourite scents (essential oils) can make your clothes squeaky clean and smelling great. Plus you're making earth a better place, and happier too!!

    As for dryer sheets, if you love them that much... take a look at alternatives such as reusable sachets filled with lavender bud. They last 4-6 months before needing to be replaced.

    Great post Kathryn, I'm looking forward to using your detergent and tips!

  • vrbmft profile image

    Vernon Bradley 7 years ago from Yucaipa, California

    I LOVE DRYER SHEETS!!Now I am in a quandry. To buy or not to buy. Kathryn will never know! But I guess the earth will know! That is new information for me, and I love the recipes for homemade detergent. I think about that all the time. And how is it that some brand name detergents have these incredible sales, like ALL, for example, 3.99 but Tide never has a sale like that. I used to think TIDE was the best--get what you pay for, but I have not been paying much attention to how clean my clothes look in these economic times, more if they smell clean!!

  • artrush73 profile image

    artrush73 7 years ago

    thanks for tips Kathryn :) Great hub :)

  • johneee profile image

    johneee 7 years ago from San Jose, CA

    Greener for st patties day wooo hoo