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May and June are the months for spring cleaning. In the spirit of reducing waste (baal tashchit) and respecting and honoring God’s creation the Earth, here are a few simple tips to consider in the laundry room:

Control the Temperature of Your Washing Machine: About 90 percent of the energy use associated with doing laundry involves just heating up the water. Turn the dial to cold and save a huge amount of energy in the process.



Wash Full Loads: Even the most energy-efficient loads use 40 gallons of water. Reducing the number of loads you do each week will save water and money. If you find yourself doing eight or more loads of laundry each week, skipping just one will save over 10 percent on your laundry costs.

Use Natural Detergents and Stain Removers: Natural products tend to be free of chlorine bleach, synthetic fragrance, dyes, and optical brighteners. Instead, they are usually plant (not petroleum) based, contain biodegradable surfactants, and are often specifically formulated to perform well in cold water.

Re-Think Dryer Sheets: The chemicals–including synthetic fragrances—found in conventional dryer sheets and fabric softeners are similar to what is found in conventional detergents. They’re largely questionable for human health and the environment. In addition, these disposable sheets end up in landfills after only one use. Either skip them entirely or purchase reusable sheets to address static cling. Popular brand include the Static Eliminator or Pure Eco Sheets(available on Amazon.com and other online sources). Reusable sheets are typically good for 500 loads.

Hang Clothes to Dry: Keeping your clothes out of a dryer extends their life, reduces energy use, and cuts costs. Whether you use an indoor or outdoor drying rack, line drying can be done year round. Just don’t put dark colors in bright sunlight or they’ll fade. Bonus: Indoor rack drying during the winter doubles as a humidifier.

Enjoy the savings, health and environmental benefits of doing your laundry the eco-friendly way.

Resources: www.realsimple.com

Originally printed in jewishinstlouis.org at http://www.jewishinstlouis.org/blog.aspx?id=345

Gail Wechsler is the Director of Domestic Issues/Social Justice at the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis. She is the staff person for the Jewish Environmental Initiative (JEI), a committee of the JCRC and a part of the JCRC's Bohm Social Justice Initiative.
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