Laundry: The Cool Factor

Laundry as drudgery? No way, says Dan Rogers of Smithers Apex, an organization that provides cleaning products industry news. In fact, with all the new product innovations out there these days, doing the laundry can be cool!

Like other businesses, the cleaning products industry wants to provide sustainable products that reduce the environmental impact load after load. One big impact: No longer is it necessary to wash clothes in hot water to get them really clean. Cold water is becoming the norm these days, thanks to new detergent formulas.

Cold-water washing helps the environment by saving energy. For example, a study of five European countries found washing in cold water would deliver an annual energy savings of 1, 307.9 GWh — the equivalent of the electricity consumed by a city of 180, 000 people in a year.

The cleaning products industry is making changes for consumers. Check out these examples:

  • Xerox is developing a process that uses polymer beads to clean laundry. The beads replace water as the cleaning agent, which would satisfy consumer desire for sustainability.
  • The industry is looking at more ways to cut volume, packing, warehousing and transportation, which deliver savings in carbon dioxide emissions and water use.
  • There’s more emphasis on making detergents that are readily biodegradable, phosphate-free or made from plant- and vegetable-based ingredients — instead of being petroleum-based, for example.
  • Similarly, Rogers writes, Sanyo Electric (part of Haier) has also announced development of a washing machine that replaces washing powder with ultrasonic wave technology to effectively clean clothes. The machine’s zero-detergent process uses a combination of electrolyzed water and ultrasonic waves.
  • Another manufacturer is reducing cycle times to limit electricity use. Their method uses two nozzles to feed water and detergent to dirty laundry, which significantly reduces the time needed for the wash cycle.
  • New formulas are removing harmful chemicals from the cleaning process as well. The success of products such as Seventh Generation points to consumers’ interest in natural and sustainable products.

Even thinking about laundry in different ways can lead to new products that are more sustainable, for example. Think about all of the dryer sheets that you toss out after each load. You can now buy reusable dryer balls to keep your clothing soft and cling-free.

Scientists are working hard to make doing laundry cool. While you’re having fun doing your laundry, don’t forget about our veterans. Set aside those items you no longer need, or don’t really like. Then give us a call for a free pick-up and we’ll see that the items you no longer value provide real value to our veterans.

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