8 Essential Products for a Green Laundry Room

  • 01 of 07

    Energy Star Washer & Dryer

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    Whether you are a first time homeowner or just looking to update and create a greener, more environmentally-friendly laundry room, the first major purchase is a washer. Today, consumers have more options than ever to select the right type and size washer for their household.

    For the most energy savings, always select a washer that has an EnergyStar seal. These washers have passed or exceeded criteria set by the U.S. Department of Energy:

    • Provide significant energy savings nationwide.
    • Deliver the...MORE features and performance demanded by consumers, in addition to increased energy efficiency.
    • Purchasers will recover their investment in higher priced EnergyStar appliances through utility bill savings, within a reasonable period of time.
    • The product achieves energy efficency through broadly available, non-proprietary technologies offered by more than one manufacturer.
    • Energy consumption and performance can be measured and verified with testing.

      Whether you prefer a top-loading or front-loading washer, before you buy a washer be sure to look for one that is labeled as a high efficiency (HE) washer. These washers are more expensive than a standard washer but use significantly less water, a precious natural resource:

    • A large, full-sized high efficiency clothes washer uses 15 gallons of water per load. A standard machine uses 23 gallons per load. Over the average machine's lifetime, that's a savings of 27,000 gallons of water.

    In 2015, working with laundry appliance manufacturers, the Department of Energy and environmental groups developed efficiency specifications for clothes dryers. Manufacturers meet the specification requirements by incorporating advanced sensors that more effectively detect when clothes are dry and stop the dryer. The Energy Star certified dryers with the improved sensors are available as gas, electric and compact models.

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  • 02 of 07

    Indoor Drying Rack

    Indoor drying line
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    You may have been expecting a recommendation for an energy-efficient electric or gas powered clothes dryer. You won't find a clothes dryer in a green laundry room. All clothes dryers work in the same basic way - heat the air, tumble the clothes and exhaust the moisture that is removed during drying. There are no energy efficient dryers.

    Instead, opt for a drying rack or bar in your laundry room. There are a multitude of choices - both large and small - to provide adequate drying of laundry.

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  • 03 of 07

    Outdoor Clothesline

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    E+/Getty Images

    The most efficient method of drying clothes is solar power - the sun - and it is free! An outdoor clothesline provides benefits of ultraviolet rays to whiten whites and remove odors; exercise for the user and money savings.

    If you are allowed to have an outdoor clothesline in your neighborhood, here are some articles that will help you select the best line for your family, teach kids how to hang clothes on the line and reap the benefits.

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  • 04 of 07

    Green Detergent and Other Laundry Products

    Green Laundry Detergent
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    Whether you are a fan of Method, Seventh Generation, ECOS or one of the many other natural laundry soaps and detergents, one of these products is essential for a green laundry room. Green detergents use plant-based surfactants rather than petroleum-based surfactants to lift soil away from fabrics. If you use green detergents, be sure not to "un-do" the process by using chemically laced fabric softeners and dryer sheets - stay green.

    You can also make your own homemade laundry products that...MORE contain much fewer chemicals by following these instructions. You'll also reduce waste in our nation's landfills by using plastic containers more than once. No matter what detergent you opt to use, keep a recycling bin in the laundry room for plastic and cardboard containers.

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  • 05 of 07

    Distilled White Vinegar and Baking Soda

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    MML

    Both commercial green laundry detergents and homemade detergents do a good job in cleaning clothes and removing stains. But even the best product needs a little help and cleaning boost now and then. Two products that you probably already have on hand - distilled white vinegar and baking soda - can solve a myriad of laundry room problems.

    Distilled white vinegar can be used to whiten, brighten, reduce odor and remove mildew. Baking soda is a natural laundry detergent booster, soften clothes, clean...MORE irons and control suds.

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  • 06 of 07

    Borax

    20 mule team borax
    Amazon.com

    Borox is a naturally occurring mineral that is often used in making homemade laundry detergent. If you need to boost the cleaning power of a commercial green laundry detergent, borax is a great choice.

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  • 07 of 07

    Clothes Sorting Hampers

    Laundry Sorting Hamper
    Amazon.com

    One of the keys to reducing laundry loads is to do laundry correctly the first time. How many times have you had a problem and had to rewash clothes? Sorting clothes before loading the washer will save many headaches. A sturdy, reusuable hamper is an investment in green laundry that will keep giving for years to come.