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Living Less Unsustainably: Laundry

LLU laundry.jpg
John Fischer
Line drying laundry is an easy way to save energy.

Master Recycler John Fischer here with KLCC's Living Less Unsustainably. It's possible you're already doing your laundry in the most environmentally friendly way. The right amount of powdered detergent, cold water, a front load machine, only when clothes are dirty, and then line dried. If not, let me help you clean up your act. We'll start with the suds.

Powdered detergent is concentrated, and comes in cardboard, not plastic packaging. Liquid detergent is sixty to ninety percent water. It takes energy to drag that water from the factory to the store, and then to your house. Pods are always overkill, and far more expensive. If detergent powder lingers in your load, dissolve it in a container of hot water before adding it to the machine. And always let the soaped load soak for an hour or two before letting the cycle finish.

Our soft water means you can use less detergent, and most people already use far more than is needed.

Remember the "Laundry Ball"? It was a plastic ball that was supposed to replace the detergent in your washing machine. It worked because people's clothes had so much residual detergent in them from over use in previous washings. Start cutting back from the recommendation on the box until you find what works for you. How dirty do your clothes really get attending zoom meetings and listening to NPR.

Cold water is fine for most clothes. Consider warm for really dirty greasy loads. And cold water is always fine for the rinse. A front loader uses much less water - and detergent.

Finally, hang up, and re-wear once worn clothes rather than letting the washing machine be a clean-up tool.

Now that the smoke is gone, let's head outside, and hang the clothes to dry so we can enjoy that great outdoor scent next time we need a new shirt.

Copyright 2022, KLCC

John Fischer is a Master Gardener and Master Recycler and the host of KLCC's Good Gardening and Living Less Unsustainably.