Every year, more and more households are looking into ways in which they can decrease their carbon footprint. Thanks to recycling, eco cars and products for the home such as energy efficient lighting, there are plenty of different ways we can go green.
However, how much consideration do most of us give to our carbon footprint when we are cleaning? While there are ways to ecologically clean from doing our washing to the dishes, it can be quite confusing. What’s more, some products that claim to be environmentally friendly, can be misleading.
If you are serious about going greener when you clean, a good place to start is to ensure that you are using the products you have efficiently and to make sure you are not being wasteful.
- The washing machine: There are lots of arguments for and against washing your clothes on cold. While it’s easier to get stains out on hot, cool washes will prolong their life. However, one thing that can’t be disputed is that washing on 30° uses less electricity than 40° and will help reduce emissions.
- The tumble dryer: Using your tumble dryer efficiently can also reduce emissions. Two key factors here are to make sure the machine is fully loaded, as this gives better value and uses less electricity than two half full loads, and to clean the filter every time it completes a cycle. It goes without saying that whenever possible, hang your clothes out on a line, or even on an airer, perhaps over the bath.
- The dishwasher: Running the dishwasher with just a few items in it is a bad idea. You should always make sure it is full before using it, thus ensuring maximum efficiency.
If you’re thinking about getting a new appliance such as a washing machine or a dishwasher you can get an idea of how energy efficient it is by its rating. Ratings go from A+++ to D, with A+++ being the most efficient.
5 Quick Tips
1. Don’t throw old clothes away: Old clothes can make the perfect dusters and household cloths. If you have growing children, the chances are you will be throwing enough old clothes away over the course of the year to mean that you won’t need to buy these things.
2. Don’t bin them, wash them: Does it really make sense to throw cloths away when you can pop them in the washing machine instead? Just add them to your washing and you will increase their lifespan dramatically.
3. Use the high spin function: High spins will cost less to run than an extra 45 minutes in the tumble dryer. As such it pays to use the high spin whenever possible to reduce your electricity costs.
4. Shop for refills: Wherever possible, buy products that can be refilled. As well as saving money as refills are often cheaper, you can do your bit for the environment by reducing all of the costs associated with producing and transportation.
5. Use the short wash: This isn’t always possible and it may not be a good idea when one of the kids wanders in covered in mud after a football match. However, when clothes need freshening up more than a good clean, the short wash can be just the thing.
Whenever you’re shopping for cleaning products, it makes sense to check the pack to see how green they are. While some of the claims may be difficult to understand, checking to see if the packaging is made from recycled material is something to note. If you do this, and follow the advice above, in no time you will be far more energy efficient, which means you will be doing your bit for the environment and saving some valuable pounds to boot.
Kerry Butters writes on behalf of Hunters estate agents, the UK’s largest property franchise. Kerry pens regular articles on environmental issues, lifestyle, home and property.