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Credit: Flickr / Peppysis

Weather permitting, why not skip the dryer for that fresh air smell?

Slightly altering your laundry routine can have a big impact on the environment

Remember, as a kid, that amazing smell of laundry fresh off the line? There’s something about this time of year that makes me long for a clothesline. Even in a city – with its occasionally less than fresh air – I still love the idea of folding my sun-stiffened towels and knowing I let the breeze do the work.

Even something as simple as washing and drying our clothes can have an impact on the environment. First there is the power we need to run the machines. Then there are the detergents, stain removers, bleaches and fabric softeners we use when washing and drying clothes.

But a few simple changes can decrease our impact significantly. Here are some sustainable and environmentally friendly things you can do when washing your clothes.

Eco Friendly Laundry Tips

  • Lower your washing temperature: Many detergents nowadays work well with lower temperature settings. Statistics say about 90 percent of the energy used in washing goes to heating the water; only 10 percent is needed to run the motor.
  • Wash larger loads: Save your laundry until you have enough for a full load. It might mean more folding all at once, but it will save on power, detergent and water.
  • Buy an energy efficient model: If it’s time for a new machine, choose one with energy-saving labels. Energy efficiency not only lowers your energy consumption, but it also emits less carbon dioxide.
  • Ditch the bleach: Add 150 mls of baking soda to your wash or try soaking your clothes overnight in a mixture of one part white vinegar and six parts water. Another alternative is oxygen bleach. It’s milder on your clothes and the environment. If your whites get dingy, try good old fashioned liquid bluing to perk them back up.
  • Choose environment friendly detergents: There are several eco brands that make HE soaps. Or you can try making your own:

Soap Ingredients

  • 1 bar of soap (you can use either a laundry soap like Fels Naptha or Zote or an organic one like Dr. Bronners. If you use a bath bar use 1 ½ bars.)
  • ½ cup of borax
  • ½ cup of washing soda (not baking soda)

Soap Instructions

  1. Grate the bar of soap using the food grater or by cutting it into sections with the knife in order to grate it with your food processor.
  2. Mix all the ingredients together in an airtight container.
  3. Use one HE scoop (about 45 mls) per load

Skip the drier and head to my new favourite website, Urban Clothesline or check out Stenic Products (which is also pretty cool) and find just the right clothesline for your life.

Keep in mind the clothesline has really evolved since the '70s, and there are now options that include retractable, wall mounted, ceiling dryers and more.