Green Equals Green: Laundry

While we’re not completely eco-friendly, we’re taking small steps to save the earth and a little money along the way.  How about a little how to launder your money?  Not the illegal laundering, but saving some dough with your laundry.  We recently picked up an Energy Star rated, front loading washer and dryer.

Of course, the Energy Star rating means the appliances are energy-efficient, which saves us some moolah (both in our monthly bills, but we also scored them at a great price) and is a green appliance choice.

Don’t have the loot to drop on a new, more efficient set?   Try some or all of these ideas to further save money.  We use high-efficiency, low-sudsing detergent.  Because the washer uses so little water, we were able to cut down on the amount of soap we use with each load.  And the regular soap and the HE soap are around the same price at Costco.  For an eco-friendly and skin-healthy bonus, try a free and clear (no perfume or dye) detergent.

We try to make every load of laundry a full one, so we’re eliminating another round.  Of course, this is partly because I loathe laundry, though, not as much as I used to.  We also set the temperature to tap cold/cold, to eliminate the need to heat the water.  Because we wash nearly everything on cold, we don’t have to separate our clothes.  Just toss everything together and wash, again, partly due to laziness.

When we run out of our laundry soap, I think we’ll try using an even more earth-friendly detergent, like Seventh Generation or Mrs. Meyer’s lavender detergent.


Or, we could make our own soap like the folks at Yellow Brick Home.

Now that we have the new, larger dryer, our clothes dry in about half the time it took for our old dryer.  To help speed the drying process, I used dryer balls in our old unit.  Of course, with nice weather, line drying is the most eco-friendly option.  Though, birds always seem to crap on my stuff.  But, the smell of line-dried clothes is great.

What about you guys at home?  Do you have any green laundry ideas?  Have you made your own laundry soap?  Perhaps you swear by a specific brand?  Do you use the dryer balls?  I’ve seen commercials for Mr. Steamy.  Have you tried this?  We opted not to get the steam dryer, so this might be a good substitute.    I think I hate ironing more than I hate doing laundry.  Scratch that, I hate folding clothes more than I hate the washing process.  That’s easy now.  Everyone Anyone just hate doing laundry?

18 thoughts on “Green Equals Green: Laundry

  1. Wool dryer balls are my biggest trick. The chemicals in dryer sheets are horrifying (a quick google search will scare the pants off you!). They bounce around in the dryer keeping your clothes soft without the need for fabric softener, and they also reduce drying time–and drying time = $$.

    You can find them on etsy. We’ll never go back to dryer sheets so long as I live! 🙂

  2. I hate laundry more than I hate anything else in the world. If I could afford to hire it done, I so would. I recently made my own laundry detergent and so love the simplicity and cost savings of it. I may have to seek out some of those wool dryer balls the last commenter raved about! Still wouldn’t make me like it though.

  3. I hate putting the laundry away, even more than doing the laundry! Ironing is a close second

    We use All free and clear HE, but may try the 7th gen brand, I had not seen that before.

  4. I hate folding laundry so so much. But my mister and I worked out a deal that he does laundry and I do dishes (which he hates doing as much as I hate laundry!) So it works perfectly.

    We just got a new house and I’m planning on putting up a clothesline so we don’t have to use the dryer in the summer.

  5. We have lots of allergies in my family. Specifically my DD and I are allergic to chemicals in detergents. So we use OxiClean when necessary and use Soap Nuts for our detergent ( LOVE the soap nuts! We also use wool dryer balls and they help with the drying time, static issue, and allergy issues. Otherwise we are hoping to install a line in our new place when we get it and we prewash all of our dirty diapers by hand so that we save water and electricity when washing the cloth diapers.

    I found that a lot fo greenwashing goes on (ha, bad pun) when it comes to laundry. Especially 7th generation (haven’t looked into Mrs. Meyer’s yet). So I’d be careful when trying to go “green” by switching detergents. Really look into the business practices and what is truely in the solutions. Green is one of the terms swung around in the advertising world that doesn’t always mean eco-friendly in the long run. Plus the term is unregulated so anyone can say its Green when very little has actually changed.

    If you use fabric softener try vinegar (I use distilled white vinegar when I use it). Hydrogen peroxide and borax are good alternatives to bleach. And detergent is easily made. You could even just use soap flakes and get the same job done! The funny part is that the greener you truely go the less expensive it usually becomes. 🙂

    Good luck and good start with the more efficient machines! Curious, what did you do with the old ones?

    1. Tempest, Ooh, wool dryer balls! That would work wonderfully! Thanks for the tip!

      Kim, I’m glad to hear you’re still loving it!

      Hi Dawn,

      Thanks for the info about detergent! We don’t use fabric softener. When we do need something, I’ll use vinegar. I actually scored a large glass jug to store vinegar in. 🙂 We still have a little bleach to use, but I bought Borax, so that’s what we’ll use when we’re done. We sold our old set on Craigslist. Oddly enough, people three houses up the street bought them, so Ben just used the dolly to push them over.

      Everyone else, I’m right there with you! Putting the clothes in the machines is okay. I hate folding it! And, I really hate that you’re never really done. If only nudist colonies didn’t freak me out… Haha.

  6. Absolutely ABHOR folding laundry. I can deal with the sorting and the putting in of the laundry. Can’t stand folding!

  7. We did the homemade laundry soap that Yellow Brick House talked about (although I can’t remember where I got our “recipe” and it lasted us months! Smells so good, too. I LOVE your stackables. That first picture has me swooning!

  8. I highly recommend the country save powder (he safe) it’s awesome, lasts a long time and is even recommended for cloth diapers. It’s phosphate free as well and I haven’t had any piece of clothing I haven’t been able to get clean with it. You can find the four pack on amazon. Love it! (and love, love your blog!)

    1. Thanks for the info SallyHP! I’ll look into it. And, thanks so much for your sweet words! 🙂

  9. The best laundry products we’ve found are from Melaleuca. You can find them online at We use all of their earth friendly, highly concentrated products and love them all. Their laundry selections are 6x concentrated so a little goes a long way. They do have an HE version as well. Since being diagnosed with asthma and allergies, I switched over to their entire line of products about 8 years ago and have seen a tremendous reduction in my symptoms. Their Sol-u-mel works wonders in getting rid of any type of stain, sticky goo residue, paint, marker, etc, and it’s not loaded with toxic chemicals like Goo Gone or Mr Clean erasers. And, it’s delivered to my door step – no lugging detergents, shampoos, cleaners, home from Target anymore!

    One of the best eco-friendly things you can do is to AVOID PHOSPHATES in your laundry soaps and dishwashing detergents.

    I also use dryer balls which have helped reduce the time of each drying load. Tennis balls work too.

  10. I’ve been using Seventh Generation free and clear for over a year now and I totally swear by it. Bonus: you can nearly always get coupons from their website!

  11. ha! i always think about line-drying clothes more often but then worry about birds too! because of that, i usually only hang larger items like blankets on our back deck to dry in the sun.
    folding and putting laundry away is the worst! luckily joe is obsessed with keeping his clothes wrinkle-free so enjoys hanging my things too. well, i say he enjoys it but he probably just can’t stand to look at my heaps of both clean and dirty clothes on our bedroom floor!
    we moved into our new house last month and got a new washer/dryer. i love it and the cute jingles it makes when i push it’s buttons 🙂

  12. Thanks for all the people that commented about wool dryer balls! I hadn’t really thought about how bad dryer sheets are (oops) and ordered an 8 pack of the wool on etsy last night.

  13. I second the thanks on the wool dryer balls! I know we needed to nix the dryer sheets but didn’t really know what to replace them with.

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