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Green shirt graphic with text: "The green load"

The Green Load

Since doing laundry is not something we can avoid, let’s make it our mission this Earth Day to be a friend to Mother Earth and reduce the energy used by the washing machine and dryer.

Did you know that the average American family washes 300 loads of laundry a year? At 68 cents per load, this adds up to a yearly total of $204. Nearly 90% of energy used by your washing machine is used to heat water, and most of your annual laundry expenses come from heating water for washing and air for drying.

This Earth Day, consider adopting some “greener” laundry habits that will save energy as well as money. Let’s make every load a green load.

• Washing clothes in cold water, with a cold-water detergent, whenever possible saves energy because your machine does not have to heat water. Cold water washing also keeps colors bright and reduces wrinkling. Did you know that washing a load in cold water costs only about four cents, while washing in hot or warm water costs about 68 cents? This means that by using cold water, you’ll save about $35 annually.

• Wash and dry only full loads. Machines use the same amount of energy whether you’re washing a full load or a small load, so fill up your machines to full capacity to achieve maximum energy efficiency. Also make sure you dry similar types of clothes together; towels take longer to dry than lightweight clothing.

• If you want to completely cut energy usage, consider air-drying clothes by using a clothesline or drying rack.

• Cleaning the lint filter after every load improves air circulation, dries clothes faster and prevents fire hazards.

• Using a faster spin cycle in washing machine reduces the time your clothes need to dry, which means your clothes will dry faster and you’ll be using less energy.

• If you’re looking to buy a new washing machine, choose one with an ENERGY STAR certification label. These efficient machines use about 25% less energy and about 40% less water than regular washing machines. Using these machines will not only save you hundreds of dollars over the life of the machine, but will reduce energy usage, as well.