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Protecting the planet is a goal for many people, and while it may seem like a Herculean effort, oftentimes the smallest and simplest efforts to protect the planet can have a profound impact.

Laundry is a chore few people look forward to and you may be unknowingly wasting energy and water when doing laundry. Fortunately, correcting such mistakes is simple and making laundry day more eco-friendly by following these tips is an effective way to do one’s part in protecting the planet.

1. Only wash full loads. Washing machines consume substantial amounts of energy. Washing only when there’s a full load is more efficient than washing half- or almost-full loads because machines use about the same amount of energy regardless of the size of the load. If you must wash small loads, be sure to use the appropriate water-level setting.

2. Wash in cold water. Water heating consumes about 90% of the energy it takes to operate a clothes washer. Unless you’re dealing with oily stains, washing in cold water will generally do a good job of cleaning. Switching your temperature setting from hot to warm can cut energy use in half. Using the cold cycle reduces energy use even more.

3. Use the right detergent. Front-loading and high-efficiency top-loading washing machines are more eco-friendly than more traditional washers because they use less water and they are designed to use High Efficiency detergent. The Energy Star organization notes that using regular detergent creates too much

suds, which will affect the machine’s washing and rinsing performance. Over time, it can lead to odours and mechanical problems.

4. Activate the high spin speed option. If your clothes washer has spin options, choose a high spin speed or the extended spin option to reduce the amount of remaining moisture in your clothes after washing. This decreases the amount of time it takes to dry your clothes.

5. Air dry clothes when possible. Tossing and tumbling in a dryer can cause wear and strain on clothing fabric due to stress on seams and snags from buttons and zippers. When possible, consider using a drying rack or hang clothes outside. Air-drying clothes greatly reduces the energy consumed on laundry day and it also helps fabrics last longer.

6. Clean lint traps after each load. Lint traps catch lint from clothing so newly cleaned clothes look as good as possible. Cleaning the filter after every load will improve air circulation and increase the efficiency of your dryer. It’s also an important safety measure.

7. Separate certain items when drying clothes. When included among cotton T-shirts and other lightweight fabrics, blue jeans and towels can make it harder for the other items to dry. This may compel you to run your dryer for longer periods of time, thereby consuming more energy. Separate items when drying in order for lightweight clothing to dry as quickly as possible. If necessary, air-dry stubborn towels and jeans after drying them for a little while in the dryer.