If you want to make your laundry room greener, the first place to start is with your detergent. Grist Magazine has tested and reviewed six of the leading eco-friendly brands. Most performed “just as well as mainstream brands,” according to the study, but Seventh Generation Free & Clear topped the list.
Scientific American also recommends losing the fabric softener because many varieties contain harmful chemicals, such as benzyl acetate (linked to pancreatic cancer), limonene (a known carcinogen), chloroform (a neurotoxin and carcinogen) and others. Moreover, “many dryer sheets also contain tallow, a processed form of beef or mutton fat.” Instead, try adding 3/4 of a cup of vinegar to your final rinse cycle to soften your clothing.
Finally, you can replace your old washing machine with an EnergySTAR model that will reduce your electricity consumption, and, if possible, hang your clothes outside to dry in the sun.