Anika, our resident clean freak has assembled laundry cleaning and green tips from leading sources in one place to provide you with the latest ideas on how to go green, save water, learn nifty laundry room tips and more.
How to Select the Proper Laundry Temperature
1. Read the tag on your laundry.
Many of us learn the hard way that an item was not washed properly after it has shrunk, faded, or even bled over onto other items in the laundry. Be sure to check the tags before starting the laundry and separate any items that have special instructions.
2. Know your water temperature.
With a basic thermometer, check the water temperature of the cold, warm, and hot water as it enters your washing machine. Laundry cleaning instructions are based on specific water temperatures and if your water temperatures vary significantly, you may not achieve the desired results. If you are in a cold climate, your water temperatures can be up to 15 degrees or more cooler than when the water exits the hot water heater. As a rule of thumb, hot water is 125+ degrees, warm water is 90 - 110 degrees and cold water is 60 - 80 degrees. If your cold water temperature is below 60 degrees you may need to operate your washing machine on the warm water setting.
3. Pre-treat stains.
Take the time to pre-treat stains and allow at least 15 minutes for the stain remover to work on the laundry before starting the wash load.
Try soaking your cold water laundry before washing to help loosen up any stains or dirt that may be deep in the fabrics of your laundry.
When To Use Hot Water
For most laundry the hotter the water, the cleaner the laundry will be. Hot water tends to make some clothing shrink, wrinkle, or fade so care must be taken to ensure the proper temperature is selected. Most linens and white clothing are washed in hot water to remove germs and heavy soil. Other types of laundry are typically washed in cold or warm water.
When To Use Warm Water
Most people wash their laundry with warm water. Warm water is a mix of hot and cold and some machines mix the hot and cold water 50-50, although newer machines mix 60-40. Warm water is usually the best choice for permanent press and jeans. They are still cleaned well without the degree of fading, wrinkling, or shrinking you can get with hot water.
When To Use Cold Water
Cold water is often used for delicate items, or laundry items with special cleaning instruction. If your cold water items are very dirty, you will likely need to pre-treat the stains with a stain removal. If your laundry on the cold water setting is not getting, you may need to pre-soak the laundry or increase the wash time.
Tips for Greener Clothing and Laundry
- Choose apparel in muted shades that won't readily show dirt or stains
- Select textured fabrics over flat weaves for the same reason
- Read care labels before you make a purchase
- Don't buy clothes that need dry cleaning
- Don't buy clothing that must be hot washed
- Wash on cold cycle, preferably with a front load washing machine
- Line or air dry, instead of using tumble driers
- Fold clothes straight off the line, so they don't need ironing
Energy Usage Most Important Decision Criteria in Selecting Appliances
The following are results from a Whirlpool Corp. survey of over 2,000 US adults that shows most consumers consider energy efficiency to be the most important factor in their appliance purchases, beating out water and time savings. The survey found that 72% of respondents actively look for the Energy Star label when making their appliance purchasing decisions.
"The survey reveals married or previously married consumers appear to understand the benefits of using eco-efficient products more so than their single counterparts," the company says. "In fact, 77% of married consumers said they look for the Energy Star label when purchasing appliances versus only 59% of unmarried consumers."
"Additionally, 61% of married and 64% of previously married consumers understood what HE means in terms of washers and dryers compared to only 51% of unmarried consumers.
The finding about married vs. single individuals proves that there is a need to communicate the benefits of energy-efficient appliances to more demographics, the company concludes. "This survey points to several gaps—be they marital, gender, or generational—in energy-efficiency awareness," said Michael Todman, president of Whirlpool North America.
According to the survey, the majority of consumers age 18-44 would have a HE washer in their dream laundry room, but respondents age 45 or older prefer washers and dryers that are more ergonomically friendly.
Lastly, the survey found that 44% of consumers said they did not know if top-load washers use more energy than front-loaders and 38% believe that they do. This proves that the message about the benefits of HE machines to appliance shoppers needs to be clearer, the company says."
Though energy may be foremost on consumers' minds, Whirlpool and other appliance manufacturers agree that water efficiency is still a vitally important part of the category. "Energy, water, and time efficiency are equally important," says Lonna Dayhoff, associate brand manager at Bosch Home Appliances in Huntington Beach, Calif. "Families demand a lot from their appliances, so Bosch is committed to delivering in all three efficiency areas with no compromises."
Source: Builder Magazine and Ecohomemagazine