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eco friendly laundry

In the Apartment Homesteading series I listed a few ways to save some energy, money and time on laundry. I am going to roll those all into one nice little package right here for you.

Hand washing

If you really want to get down and dirty saving a lot of money and energy on laundry, nothing is more energy-efficient than labor you do your self! I have hand washed diapers in my bath tub, and used a “camp” washing “machine” consisting of a bucket, a plunger, and arm muscles. Both work very well with VERY little detergent. It just takes your sweat and determination to do the work. The camp bucket set up will cost you about $10 to set up and save you $50 a month on gym membership.

Washing Machine

So you are not hard-core enough to wash your own clothes in a home depot bucket? Neither am I. Here are some ways you can save some energy and money using your washing machine.

  • Get a High Efficiency (HE) front loading washer. These are the most efficient machines out there using an average of 8 gallons of water per load instead of the average 15 gallons for standard washers. At one load of laundry a day you are saving 2,555 gallons of water per year. Want to know how much money you would save annually on electricity? Check out this cool tool so you can find the exact numbers relevant to your situation.
  • Wash with cold water. You can save an average of $100 per year washing your laundry in cold water. The only reason you will want to use warm or hot water in your cycles is if you have a grease or oil stain in your clothes that you are trying to get out, or if you are washing cloth diapers. Otherwise cold water will work great to get your clothes nice and clean.
  • Wash full loads of laundry. In older (non HE) machines the washer will fill to the pre selected size of the load (large, medium, small) without considering how many clothes are actually in the wash. HE machines have a sensor to sense how big the load is and only fills the washer with enough water to get the load done. Most people separate their lights from their darks, but I say throw them all in the washer! As long as your clothes have been washed a time or two they wont leak color. If you feel like your grandmother is rolling in her grave at you considering washing your colors and whites together, consider combining loads with your children, spouse, room-mate, neighbor, whoever to get a full load.
  • Hand wash delicate. I am sure most people never have a full load of panties and bras, and these pretty pieces of underwear are so expensive and so delicate you don’t want to wash them through the washer anyway. Just get a gentle hand washing detergent, or use a very little bit of what you use for your regular clothes, and hand wash them, hang them to dry, and enjoy your eco-friendly prowess whenever you wear them.
  • Don’t wash your sheets and towels often. You use your towel when you get out of the shower once you are all clean right? So you can just hang it up to dry on the towel rack and re-use it a couple of times right? Instead of washing sheets every week consider changing your sheets every two weeks or every month. Personally we usually do every two weeks in the summer because of the sweat, and every four in the winter. You can also wash sheets and towels together.


wooley dryer balls

  • Use the dryer sparingly. A lot of clothes and household items can be dried outside using solar power and a laundry line or drying rack.
  • Use a dryer ball. Dryer balls are a safe, natural, non toxic way fluff your clothes, remove static, and reduce your drying time by 25%.
  • If your dryer has one, use the moisture sensor. This can detect when your clothes are done drying and save you some energy.
  • If your dryer does not have a moisture sensor stop the load while it is still damp and switch it to tumble only. The excess heat in the drum should be hot enough to finish drying your clothes.
  • Proper dryer maintenance will save you a lot on energy cost. Empty your lint tray every load. “Don’t be lazy, it takes two seconds, just do it.” -My dad. Also, check your dryer vent occasionally and make sure it is not blocked. My dryer was having issues so we checked the vent and it was clogged with dog hair. Once we cleared it out the dryer worked like a charm!


  • Use ec0-friendly laundry detergents without any of these nasty things. This might cost a little bit more than your big bag o’chemicals but you use a lot less, so the cost per load is usually comparable or less than what you are paying for the other stuff. I personally am allergic to most laundry detergents. I especially can not stand scent or dyes in my detergent. It makes me break out in a nasty rash. I use Charlies Soap for just about everything now since it is cloth diaper safe. I do still use Rockin’ Green when I can afford it, but Charlies works just fine. You can also make your own laundry detergent. Most eco-friendly detergents you will find are concentrated and low suds making them safe for use in HE washers as well.

There you have it! Some easy ways to save energy and money on laundry.

How do you make your laundry routine more eco-friendly?


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About Amanda

Amanda is a mother of two amazing toddlers. She is an herbalist, natural living guru, and real food, gluten free eating pro. She loves to help educate others on how to take control of their own health through natural living, real food, herbs, essential oils, and most of all - a positive mind set. Her other business Natural Herbal Living Magazine is all about helping people learn about how to use one herb a month on a deep and profound level.
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20 Responses to Apartment Homesteading: Eco-Friendly Laundry Tips

  1. Tammy says:

    I love your eco-friendly tips. I’m working on getting a line strung on my back porch.

  2. Great tips! I’m sharing with my FB page readers & tweeting it because we all need reminders from time to time about how easy it can be to live green.

  3. Homeinsteader says:

    Greetings! You’re tips are generally good, except for one (in my opinion): reusing the bath towel. Now, I realize that in some situations (such as a power outage), you may HAVE to be content to use a bath towel as many times as necessary between washes. But for normal, every day life, when the “Stuff” has not yet Hit The Fan, this is NOT, in my opinion, good advice. Yes, you just took a shower. You are as clean as you’re going to be all day, in all likelihood. But…here’s the kicker…your skin, a living organism, sloughs off MILLIONS of dead skin cells all day long, constantly rejuvenating itself – including when you just get out of the shower. Most people shower with soapy products, which also makes it more difficult for these dead skin cells to slough off; instead, many of them “stick”. Now you rinse and towel. That towel removes a LOT of dead skin cells. Those dead skin cells are in your towel. That is food for mites. Leave that towel out for a couple of days and maybe even reuse it. Now put it under a microscope. Not for me. While you have power and ability, use a bath towel once, for the same reason you change undies daily!

    • Amanda says:

      There is a lot of skin and hair slough off all the time. You would have to change your sheets, pillow cases, and furniture daily as well with this theory. To each their own but I just cant commit to that much laundry!

    • Umm Carter says:

      Huh, I thought everyone used the same towel a few times before throwing it in the wash. Using the same towel as my dear beloved family members grosses me out a bit but not myself.
      With underwear I am female and thus have discharge so that I must change but my elbos and hips have no discharge lol. At least not yet, thinking of sweat, when I set out of the shower. Eh if you wana change your towels daily do it but I just thought your comment was weird.

  4. Jenny says:

    Visiting from Wildcrafting Wednesday! Great tips. I use laundry balls and am planning on having a clothesline installed when we move. I love making my own detergent. We’ve found it to be very economical. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

    • Amanda says:

      Thanks for stopping by! I cant wait to get a real clothes line instead of just a drying rack! I will be so spoiled.

  5. These are great tips! We use our towels for a week, make homemade detergent, and have a HE machine. I should use our drying rack more—we don’t need to use the dryer so much!

    • Amanda says:

      Thanks! I don’t use my drying rack as often as I should either. That is why I like the dryer balls. At least I am being more eco-friendly right?

  6. Great tips! I hand wash sometimes when I don’t want to do a whole load. I usually do this in the evening, then I hang them up and they dry overnight. Works great! 🙂

    Thanks for sharing with my Super Link Party! 🙂

  7. I’ve been wanting to try one of these! Great tips! Yours is one of the featured posts this week! Thanks for linking up to “I Did It!” Tuesday!

  8. […] Eco-Friendly Laundry Tips by Natural Living Mamma […]

  9. Laurie says:

    Congratulations! You have one of this week’s featured posts on Wildcrafting Wednesday.

    Thanks so much for linking up.

  10. This is the way to go. Making Green laundry is the best tip for me today. I like how you give ideas on how we can save on water and stuff. More articles like these please.

  11. […] Clean with natural cleaning products that you can make your self. See my great inexpensive recipes that WORK here and laundry solutions here. […]

  12. Diane says:

    Greal and very helpful tips. I like to hand wash my clothes especially if there is a stain on it so I could take a better look of how I can get rid of the stain and the dirt clearly!

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