Laundry tips from Seventh Generation:
Use the cold water wash option whenever possible, and you’ll save 85% of the money and energy consumed by a hot water load.
Air dry your clothes on a line in your yard or on a rack set up in the bathtub or basement. Air drying saves energy and is free! Most electric dryers cost over $75 a year to operate, and gas dryers are only a little less expensive.
Consider a front-loading washer. Front loaders are gentler on clothes and use up to 36% less water and 60% less energy than top loaders.
Use laundry detergents made from natural, biodegradable ingredients. Conventional detergents contain polluting surfactants like alkylphenol ethoxylates, or APEs. Natural laundry products use safe, biodegradable ingredients such as vegetable oils.
Check labels and avoid gimmicks like optical brighteners. Brighteners coat clothes with an unhealthy chemical that reflects light to trick the eye and make whites appear whiter.
Never use chlorine bleach. It’s harsh on clothing, and can combine with organic matter in wash water to form toxic by-products. Instead, use a hydrogen peroxide-based bleach. These are far gentler on fabrics and much better for the environment.
Do fewer loads. Use towels and wear sweaters more than once before washing.
When you do use your dryer,
Check out Project Laundry List for more information.