Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A more environmentally Savvy South County Household

I signed up at work last month to partner with "its the little things", an organization that promotes small changes that actually effect the environment around you in a positive light.

For the next year it will be a goal of mine and my households, to try and make 4 changes over the next 12 months:
  1. Wash laundry in cold water.
  2. Use re-usable shopping bags for all purchases.
  3. Try to reduce the amount of bottled beverages we consume at the store (soda, water, juices, etc)
  4. Buy/ Use recycled paper products.
Since i'm part of a group movement, those 4 were chosen for us as a group to tackle one at a time. I actually do a few of those things already so I may try and take them up a notch when I get to that one in particular, but the website also has an individual monthly plan where they email you one small change you can make each month. 

So, starting November 1st, I'll be tracking how many loads of laundry I was in cold water (normally all of them) and compare them to my hot water usage.

Since this is something I normally do anyway, (wash in cold water), I think i'm also going to make a point of being more water wise and laundry observant. Even though we don't get a monthly water bill (or a usage chart since this expense is included in our HOA fee) I'll try my best to be more water mindful (maybe washing things in the delicate cycle if they are my clothes and washing the hubby's separately since his always need a good wash through.

Here's also a few interesting tidbits about cold water washing:

  • Cold water actually cleans just as well as hot water does... and it saves energy, water, and fabric color.
  • If you wash whites and you want to make them brighter, you can always wash on cold and add lemon juice or baking soda, or Oxyclean if you want to buy a product... If your worried about disinfecting things, apparently they are products out there like Pursue from Amway that disinfects in cold water (you can google it and buy it online from the Amway site). Plus there is always cold water and bleach, but we don't really use bleach that much here... but if you must, bleach and cold water instead of bleach and hot water.
Some other great tips for to reduce your energy bills:

  • Do full loads of laundry only
  • use shorter cycles for gently worn clothes
  • clean the lint dryer after every load
  • separate heavy drying items (like jeans and bath towels) from lighter ones to make the dryer more efficient.
  • Hang dry when possible
  • and if you have a newer dryer, use the auto dry setting so the machine stops when the clothes are dry. :) 

If anyone wants to join me out there and try and use cold water for more of their laundry, I'd love to check in with you and note your progress too. Just write a comment or email me at Southcountygrl@gmail.com


  1. I always wash on cold also. I also make my own environmentally-friendly(and cheap!) laundry detergent.

    When I tried the auto-dry on my dryer, I found that it ran longer than when I set it. Our clothing gets dry in sixty minutes on a knit/casual setting and it was running for about 75 minutes when I did the "auto". I found the same with the auto setting on our dishwasher.

    Just make sure you time it and don't just assume that the auto is the most effecient setting. :)

  2. We always wash in cold water also. We're trying to be more environmentally friendly also, we're not the greatest though.

  3. I just found out my washing machine setting has been on Cold/Warm for 2 years.. I changes it to cold/cold yesterday when I started laundry... I just always assumed it was on cold/cold so I guess this little experiment will be one-ish...

    I also decided that i'm going to try not to use a disposable cup this month and just carry around my re-usable water bottle at work and when I go out... *Crosses fingers* here's to something new.