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How to Save Water When Doing Your Laundry

A big part of living an environmentally-friendly lifestyle today has to do with conserving water, because fresh water is becoming an increasingly scarce resource. Some experts even believe that future wars will be fought over water. At the same time, water will always be a daily necessity in our lives for many reasons other than just drinking. 

It is not practical to expect people to give up the use of water when it comes to things like cooking and personal hygiene. However, one area we can make a collective difference is when we do our Laundry. Here are 10 ways you can easily save water in your homes.

  1. Water-saving Washer: No one will expect you to run out and buy a brand new washer just to start saving water. But when it is time to replace your old washer, be sure to purchase a high-efficiency one that has a low water factor. Each year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) puts out its list of Energy Star most efficient products, which tells you how much they cost and where you can buy them. Here is this year’s list of large-sized washers. Did you also know that washers that use front loading use much less water than those that load from the top? So, opt for a front-load washer whenever possible. This could help save wanter and save energy in your homes.
  2. Use Cold Water: Just like with heating and cooling our homes in general, much of the energy required when running a washer is taken up by heating of the water. Although it doesn’t have a direct impact on conserving water, it does have an impact on your overall energy use. It's another energy saving habit. While it might not be practical to always use cold water (depending on the climactic conditions and how dirty the clothes are), try to minimize the use of hot water whenever possible and opt instead for cold or warm water. If you're worried that using cold water won't get your clothes properly cleaned, consider buying a detergent that is specifically made to be used with cold water.
  3. Only Big Loads: Try to organize yourself and plan so that you collect your laundry to run a full load when you do wash your clothes. Avoid the temptation to run multiple washing cycles throughout the week every time a few items of clothes need washing. Think of all the water and energy you’re using up each time you run the washer. Better planning and waiting a few extra days to run a single full load will make a huge difference. Furthermore, it might be difficult to judge exactly the right amount of water needed for a load that is not full. Using too much water for smaller loads is obviously wasteful, but if you’re using too little water for a load, that can also be wasteful because it might not wash your clothes properly, which will cause you to run them again through the washer - wasting even more water.
  4. Skip the Extra Rinse: Think about whether you really need that “extra rinse” option. Unless you find yourself in a dire situation, skip this step. If you take that little bit of time to make sure you are using the proper amount of detergent for the load, you won’t need this extra rinse anyway.
  5. Air Dry: Surveys have found that a surprising number of Americans are doing away with their clothes dryers, not only to adopt a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle, but also to save money. During summers, we may not have a good excuse to use a machine dryer when clothes dried out in the sun is such a better option. But this eco-friendly option need not be limited to certain seasons or your living conditions (for those of you living in apartments or with roommates). Indoor drying racks can make drying your clothes indoors fairly hassle-free. Yes - it's true that indoor drying might not be suitable for all types of laundry, such as large pieces like sheets. However, adopting this habit for smaller pieces on a regular basis will save a considerable amount of energy.
  6. Hand Wash: At first glance, this might not be such a desirable option, but we're not suggesting you do this for all your laundry. There are obvious times when delicate pieces of clothing have to be hand-washed, and you can take that effort just a little further to make a big impact. We also can't imagine sitting and hand-washing a sheet or quilt. But there are small practical ways that can add up. Consider washing smaller articles of clothing that are not too soiled on a daily basis during your evening shower. This will not take up too much additional time and will reduce the amount of loads you have to run in the machine. Even when hand-washing, consider these tips to save water even more:
    - Use only the amount of detergent you absolutely need. Too much detergent means you’ll have to use more water to wash it off.
    - Use a separate basin or the sink with a stopper for the washing. Don’t let the water run continuously while you wash.
    - If you’re hand-washing more than one item at at ime, use the same detergent water for all the items and then rinse. Don’t use separate detergent cylces for each item. You’re not saving any water that way.
  7. Reuse Towel: Towels - whether bath towels or kitchen towels - are often the most used items in the home. However, that doesn't mean you need to wash them after every single use. Reuse your towels until they really need washing. By the way, this is a good practice to adopt when traveling too. You may notice that many hotels are now trying to be more eco-friendly by asking their guests to reuse the towels instead of having them replaced each day.
  8. Wash Clothes Only When Really Needed: Think about it. Does that shirt really need to be washed after wearing it once? What if you only wore it for a couple of hours and didn't do anything physically. How dirty could it really be? But our natural habit is to dump it in the hamper after one use. Consider wearing a piece of clothing more than once before putting it through the laundry. Not only will this save water and energy, it will also be better on your clothes. 
  9. Collect Greywater: Ever heard of greywater? It is used water from your homes like from the sinks, showers and, yes, washing machines. It is different from "blackwater," which is sewage. While greywater, obviously, cannot be used for consumption, it is harmless for other purposes, and even beneficial for things like watering the plants. At first, this might seem like some work because you have to collect the greywater from your washing machine's drain or seek the help of a plumber. However, consider the overall benefits. You could use this water to water your garden. Think of not only how much water you save but also how much money you will save on your water bill.
  10. Go to a Laundromat: Of course, having a washing machine in your home is the most convenient. But let's admit, we are more likely to use it when it's so close by rather than if we had to take the effort to go out to a laundromat. An EPA study has shown that people who have washers in their homes or apartments are more likely to run smaller, less-efficient loads more times than those who don''t have one in the home. If you're willing to adopt this lifestyle, it will save both water and energy. 

These tips show that you don't have to make drastic changes in your life to live in an environmentally-friendly way. In addition to these practices, there are also many eco-friendly household products or all natural household items out in the market that can also help. 

This post first appeared on Learn All About Having An Eco-Friendly Lifestyl, please read the originial post: here

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How to Save Water When Doing Your Laundry


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