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Hey everyone! Hope you had a fun time with week one's challenge and are using those reusable bags for your grocery shopping!

Ready for week 2? Here we go.

The #GoWilde Week 2 Challenge: Use cold water to wash laundry!

Here’s the quick and dirty version - the way we choose to clean our clothes - hot water and brand name detergents - is having a serious impact on our environment. Plain and simple. To find a solution, I spent HOURS researching online and in the laundry detergent section these past few weeks reading labels and brands and researching ingredients.

Through my research in the stores and online I’ve discovered that the best plan of action is to wash your clothes on COLD with a concentrated soap or detergent that has ingredients you can pronounce.

Want to know how I came to this conclusion? Here’s what I learned during my research:

  • 90% of the energy used by a washing machine is used to heat the water. Only 10% is used to run the motor. By using cold water to wash your clothes, you are saving energy, resources, AND money.

  • If every US household used only cold water for washing their clothes, we would be saving 34 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions from being emitted. If you alone switch to cold, you will be eliminating 1,600 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions a year, all by yourself.

  • A single load of laundry done on the warm/hot setting uses the same amount of energy it would take you to drive your car 9 miles.

  • Your choice is detergent is more important than you can imagine. A wise lady once reminded me that your skin is an organ, and what goes on it or touches it affects your whole body. When you wash your clothes, the detergent will leave a light residue on your clothes, which then is absorbed by your skin when you wear the clothes. Often detergents have ingredients that are toxic in them, and the ingredients have been proven to create health problems for certain people. Between NPE’s and chlorine bleach and articles about Sodium Laurel Sulfate, it was enough to really make me read the labels better on anything I am using to washing my clothes.

  • Choose natural detergents and soaps that are plant based (not petroleum based), contain biodegradable surfactants, and are often formulated to perform well in cold water. The ingredients from laundry detergents end up in the waterways, and do we really want all those toxic ingredients in our water?

  • I am not here to promote certain products over others, just certain habits over others. But I will let you know I’m doing a few tests with detergents that I have read up on that are safe to use and safe for the environment. I’m trying out products like Zum Clean and SmartKlean and Seventh Generation. In a couple months I’ll let you know what I think of each, the pros and cons, and facts about the company in case anyone is wondering about some good clean options.

  • Contrary to people’s beliefs- washing your clothes in cold will still kill germs and bacteria and remove stains. You just need to make sure you are using a good clean soap or detergent! Water needs to be 212 degrees Fahrenheit to kill germs- a temperature that almost all washing machines cannot get to.

So starting this week, try washing your clothes on the cold setting in your washing machine, and start looking into a more natural detergent that won’t be washing toxic chemicals into the waterways. Way to #gowilde and make a difference!