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  • Wool balls keep your laundry soft, and maaaaybe save energy

    When I was taught to do laundry, I was told that a Bounce dryer sheet went into the dryer with every load of wet clothes. But the green-minded among us have come up with a better solution to keeping your clothes static-free and soft (without involving PVC in the process): wool dryer balls. Get a […]

  • Doing your wash is hurting the planet, and it’s not because you’re using hot water

    Sorry to have to bum y'all out, but here is a new way that we are all destroying the planet without even realizing it: by washing our clothes. And, yah, I know you wash your clothes in cold water, but I'm not talking about the energy your machines use. I'm talking about how whenever you wash clothes made of synthetic fibers, tiny bits of plastic flake off and get flushed with the wash water into the sewage system.

  • Take the Green Laundry Challenge — and you could win green laundry goodies

    Photo: alessandraelle via Flickr [UPDATE, 01 Jul 2010: Thanks to our many commenters for sharing your advice and experiences. We’ve randomly chosen a winner from your ranks: luinigh, you’ll soon be getting a green laundry kit in the mail!  Bummed out that you didn’t win the prize?  Maybe you’ll be luckier if you enter Seventh […]

  • Ask Umbra on the word “green,” DIY laundry detergent, and computer batteries

    Send your question to Umbra! Q. Dear Umbra, Whenever I read the word “green” in quotation marks, I get the same sensation as when I hear nails on a chalkboard. Can you help me understand how this practice came about and what differentiates something as being “green” vs. just plain old green (sans quotation marks)? […]

  • Ask Umbra on toilet paper, dryer balls, and Twitter

    Send your question to Umbra! Q. Dear Umbra, Is it more environmentally sound to throw tissue paper in the toilet or in the trash?  I’m disturbed by how much toilet paper is used by one family alone and wonder just what it takes to remove all that paper from the sewage system and from the […]

  • A review of six green laundry detergents

    Let’s get down and dirty … about your laundry habits. You may think you’re in the clear, but every time you use your conventional, chemical-filled detergent, you could be affecting your health — as well as the health of waterways downstream. That doesn’t sound so fresh (and so clean, clean), so I decided to seek […]

  • Umbra on communal clothes drying

    Hello Umbra! I’m a college student working to make my school greener and would like to purchase a few relatively sturdy, high-volume clothes drying racks to place in our laundry rooms so that students have an alternative to using the electric dryers. I know these racks exist because I just got back from studying in […]

  • Umbra on green hotels

    Dear Umbra, My husband and I are Americans who own a small budget hotel in Rome, Italy. We try to be as eco-friendly as possible: our cafe is local, organic, and vegetarian, we use compact fluorescent bulbs where we can (although cannot find an alternative for the halogen lighting systems we have), we use eco-friendly […]

  • Umbra on green laundry detergents

    Dear Umbra, What are the “green” high-efficiency detergents for washers? Thanks,Marilyn Dearest Marilyn, A perfect question for parenting fortnight. Children have such tiny clothing that you wouldn’t think it would add up to an increase in laundry volume. Until you saw the proof. Too bad keeping them naked (cuuuute!) and periodically hosing them off is […]