Clean, green and affordable laundry

 (ARA) – Laundry can take its toll — on your wallet and on the environment. In fact, the average American family does almost seven loads of laundry per week! All that water, detergent, and electricity or gas adds up to a lot of excess, but adding a few simple steps to your laundry routine can significantly reduce your environmental impact and save you money.

“There is so much room in our homes to reduce waste and lessen the demand on our natural resources,” says David Bach, the eight-time national bestselling financial author and green lifestyle expert who wrote “Go Green, Live Rich: 50 Simple Ways to Save the Earth (and Get Rich Trying).” “Being green doesn’t require excessive effort or spending — you can really reduce energy consumption and waste by making modest adjustments to your daily household routines.”

The following eco-friendly tips can help you reduce your waste and increase your savings while doing laundry:

* Pre-treat stains.

How often have you pulled a pair of pants out of the washer, only to see that the mark did not come out, forcing you to throw them back in for a second load? Instead of wasting water and energy, tackle marks and stains before you wash and pre-soak your garments to allow more time for your detergent to work.

* Reduce loads.

Don’t run a load of laundry unless it’s full. Fewer loads mean less water and electricity consumed. An ENERGY STAR-rated machine also helps you to reduce water usage and save on energy costs.

* Conserve on packaging.

Keep an eye on how large the packaging is for your laundry products. Use concentrated detergents like Arm & Hammer Essentials Liquid Laundry Detergent, which is twice as concentrated, so less waste is going into landfills. It will also save you up to 50 percent more per load versus the leading brand and every purchase of an Arm & Hammer Essentials laundry or cleaning product helps to fund a $400,000 donation to the Keep America Beautiful Great American Cleanup.

* Laundry detergents

Use only detergents that contain biodegradable plant-based soaps. Also be sure to choose a detergent that does not contain dyes, phosphates, or bleaches.

* Keep your laundry in-house.

Taking your laundry to the dry cleaner costs money and can harm the environment. Many dry cleaners use industrial chemicals like tetrachloroethylene, which scientists have associated with liver or kidney damage. If you have clothing that must be dry-cleaned, look for a company that uses environmentally-sensible chemicals.

* Smart drying.

To help your dryer do its job and get your clothes dry as quickly as possible, make sure you clean the lint filter after each use. Also, sort your clothing into loads that take the same amount of time to dry. For example, towels take longer than synthetic materials. And of course, on those nice days, hang your clothes outside as often as possible.