Green Tip – Greening Your Laundry

by Wendy Gabriel

GREEN TIP: If you haven’t already, make the switch to greener laundry products. Conventional laundry products are harmful to the planet and your family.

Made from synthetic petrochemicals, most conventional laundry detergents don’t readily biodegrade and they threaten wildlife after they go down the drain. Many also contain chemical fragrances and phosphates (which build up in streams and lakes, upset the natural balance, and starve fish of the oxygen they need to survive). They also contain chemicals linked to cancer and reproductive problems. Source: Healthy Child Healthy World

Look for products with the Green Seal. Green Seal, Inc. is the only organization that comprehensively evaluates non-toxic products.

Here are some great non-toxic alternatives for your laundry:

Laundry brightener: Add 1/2 cup of strained lemon juice to the rinse cycle.

Fabric rinse: Add 1/4 cup of vinegar to the washing machine’s rinse cycle to remove detergent completely from clothes, eliminating that scratchy feel. This will not leave your clothes smelling like vinegar!

Detergent booster: To reduce the amount of laundry detergent you need to use, add baking soda or washing soda. These minerals soften the water, which increases the detergent’s power. For liquid detergent, add 1/2 cup of soda at the beginning of the wash. For powdered detergent, add 1/2 cup of soda during the rinse cycle.

Bleach: Use hydrogen peroxide instead of chlorine bleach. Soak clothes overnight in a solution of one part hydrogen peroxide to eight parts cold water. Wash as normal.

Dry cleaning: Many delicate “dry clean only” items can be washed at home by hand. In general, it’s best to use cool water and a mild liquid soap. Squeeze or wring gently and lay flat to dry.

Source: Healthy Child Healthy World

More laundry tips:

  • When you have several loads to wash, do them back-to-back so you can use the residual heat in the dryer. (this tips is from my friend Lyz)
  • Run the washing machine only when you have a full load.
  • Wash with cold water to save 80 to 90 percent of the energy costs of washing.
  • To prevent static cling, add one cup white vinegar to the rinse cycle, using your washing machine’s dispenser. Static cling is caused by using synthetic fabrics, so you could also switch to cotton. The vinegar also kills bacteria and prevents the buildup of detergent residue.
  • Clean out the dryer’s lint trap after every load to improve circulation and reduce energy use.
  • Air dry whenever possible using indoor racks or an outdoor line. This conserves energy—and your clothes. They will not wear out or fade as quickly.

For more laundry tips: Green Tip – Eco Your Laundry

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Project Laundry List
Project Laundry List leads the air-drying and cold-water washing revolution. They provide information about these and other simple, effective ways to save energy and money.

Some Quick Facts from Project Laundry List:

  • Less than 4% of Italian households own a dryer.
  • Approximately one quarter of Americans use an ENERGY STAR washer. There are no ENERGY STAR dryers on the market.
  • You don’t even need soap to wash most loads. The agitation of washing machines often does the job on its own.
  • Sunlight bleaches and disinfects.
  • Approximately 23.8 billion pounds of clothing and textiles end up in U.S. landfills each year.
  • Cotton production accounts for 2.4% of total arable land yet accounts for 11% of global pesticide use and 25% of global insecticide use.
  • You can reduce the full lifecycle climate change impact of your jeans by up to 50 percent by line drying and washing them in cold water.


Eco Chic Boutique in Fargo is having a costume swap. Bring your child’s gently used costume to their shop between now and October 15, 2010 and you will receive a ticket for a “new” costume. You can pick up your “new” costume between 5pm and 7pm on Friday, October 15th or between 9am to 12pm on Saturday, October 16th. All remaining costumes will be sold for $5 with proceeds going to 4 Luv of Dog Rescue of Fargo.

Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1220pm (central) every Wednesday at

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  1. Lyz’s avatar

    Thanks for the link, Wendy! It’s so fun to hear your spot on the CG Program!:)

  2. Mary’s avatar

    These are some really good tips. I do must of them including air drying year round on a laundry drying rack. I wonder what it will take to get more of the population aware that their is so many easy things that they can do to be more green.


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