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Practical Sustainability: Wash in Cold Water!

Sunset Green Home's water-efficient ENERGY STAR Samsung laundry machines have just been delivered...and that has me thinking about sustainable laundry practices.  Even if you're not planning to replace your laundry machines, you can still adopt greener laundry habits to save energy and water.

Sunset Green Home's Samsung Laundry Machines

Sunset Green Home's Samsung Laundry Machines

In a Practical Sustainability column last summer, I advocated for saving energy by hanging your laundry to dry.  This month's Practical Sustainability column tackles the washing side of your laundry equation.  To save energy and water, consider three small changes to how you do laundry.

1. Use the cold water cycle

In 2014, Good Housekeeping and Consumer Reports both conducted tests on detergents promising good results for cold water washing, and found that they live up to their claims.  Lowering the temperature of your wash load saves on energy required for water heating (90% of laundry energy use comes from heating the water).  Consumer reports estimates that an average family can save $60 annually by reducing the wash temperature.  Cold water washing puts money in your pocket and benefits the environment at the same time.

2. Wait until you have a full load before you run the machine

A load of laundry uses energy and water regardless of how many articles of clothing you're washing.  Consider waiting until you have a full load before you run your machine.  The US Department of Energy estimates that you can save 3,400 gallons of water annually by running only full loads.

3. Use a high spin cycle when possible

If you must put your clothes into the dryer, use a high spin cycle in your washer to extract as much water as possible before transferring the load to your dryer. 

Adopt these three practices and you'll reduce your laundry's energy and water use without investing in new appliances.  Now that's what I call Practical Sustainability!

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