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The Hazards of Greening Your Life

If you think like I do, when you need to replace appliances and other household items you go for the most environmentally-friendly choices out there, like Energy Star® certified models and water-saving appliances such as tankless water heaters and front-loading washing machines. I'm fortunate to live in Austin where the city offers rebates on appliances like these, so not only can you save money in energy and water consumption costs, but you can get a hefty rebate. I got $100 back from the City of Austin when I bought my front-loader washing machine a few years ago, which is no small change! But alas, my relationship with my beloved 6-year-old front-loader came to an abrupt halt last month when it started making a REALLY LOUD banging noise during the spin cycle. The repair man asked me questions like: "You used 'HE' soap, right?" and "How much soap did you use?" I quickly realized that I had not done enough research. I swear I read the manual but, as it turns out, it was going to cost more to repair my washing machine than to buy a new one. Ouch! Hence, the reason for this post. If I didn't know that you should only use "HE" (high efficiency) soap, maybe there are others out there who don't know! And also, even though I always use eco-friendly soap like Seventh Gen or Ecover which are "HE" soaps (it says so on the label), I apparently used too much and created excessive suds that washed away the grease in the bearings and completely ruined my washing machine. Since this happened I have talked to many others who did not know this, so let me offer some advice to help you save your washing machine! Only use HE soaps, and follow the manufacturer's recommendations to figure out how much soap to use. The Soap and Detergent Association (who knew?) has created a very informative PDF that I now highly recommend everyone check out. Have you discovered some little known hazard while greening your life? Please share your knowledge to help others avoid the same issues by posting a comment below. Thanks!