My husband is the eco-laundry champion in our house. Surprised? Read on and it will all begin to make sense. As you know if you follow Growing Up Green, we have three young children. Like all families with a house full of pint sized beings, chaos rules supreme.
One Dad's Love Affair with Green Laundry
As does the constant laundry! And like all parents in such a household, my incredible husband craves a bit of peace and quiet from time to time. Here’s the scene – it’s 5:30pm and we’ve just finished dinner. The dishes need doing. The baby’s diaper needs changing. The 6-year-old needs
help completing a project and the 3-year-old is hitting the end of day wall where everything is an emergency. More likely than not, the phone is ringing and toys are underfoot. Enter my husband with a basket full of laundry in one hand, and a beer in the other. He’s going to hang the laundry on the line. In the sunshine. In the quiet. With a beer. And what am I to say? After all, the laundry needs to be hung. Presumably, in the sunshine. Where it’s quiet. And why not enjoy a beer? The road to greener laundry didn’t begin with a search for solstice – we were motivated by the many economical and ecological benefits resulting from conscientious laundering. Regardless if you seek serenity, savings or sustainability, you will benefit from implementing the following greener solutions when washing and drying your clothes.
Line Dry - Dryers are the second biggest power draw, after refrigerators, in the average North American household. According to the Consumer Energy Centre, the average dryer will cost approximately $1500 to operate over its (not your) lifetime. For perfectly crisp laundry, follow these ten tips for hanging your wash to dry
Effectively reducing your fossil fuel consumption is good for the environment and the purse strings. Line Drying has many other benefits, including:
- Crisp linens. Skip the iron and enjoy wrinkle free linens right off the line.
- Fresh Scent. Breath deep when you inhale true perfume-free freshness.
- Gentle. Add longevity to your purchases by treating them gently
- Disinfect Naturally. The sun’s rays disinfect and bleach naturally – a bonus for diapers, towels and other whites.
- Humidify Inside. During the winter month’s hang laundry inside to add moisture to the air while saving energy
- Save Time. Hang shirts on hangers to dry on the line, then transfer to the closet. Similarly, fold as you collect from the line.
- Risk Free. Clothes dryers cause over 15ths fires yearly in the USA.
- Smart Sorting - We want to encourage our kids to put their dirty clothes in the laundry basket, but not all clothes that have been worn are dirty. And not all dirty clothes need to be washed right away. By designating a place for play-clothes-to-be-worn-again, we can keep good clothes clean and send kids (and grown ups) out to play in the grass (or garden) in clothes that saw the elements yesterday. Similarly, encourage worn-but-not-dirty clothes to be refolded for a second wear.
- Wash without Harmful Chemicals - Avoid using detergents with surfactants, phosphates, artificial fragrances. To help select a greener alternative, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides a Design for the Environment seal, which many brands have applied, to display.Information about many common chemicals is available on the Healthy Child, Healthy World site.
- Although not all green detergents bear the EPA seal, our family’s brand of choice does. It’s called ECOS, it smells fabulous, cleans very well and is available in bulk sizes. Here is a link to it on Amazon: Earth Friendly Products Ecos 2x Ultra Concentrate, Magnolia and Lily, 100-Ounce (Pack of 2).