The energy to do laundry

July 17, 2009

out to dry

Yesterday I posted about laundry and how polluting the process can be.  Today I want to hit on the energy costs and water waste.  In fact, I had a well-written piece written up about energy and water and laundry, but it is so incredibly boring that in good conscience I can not post it.  Here’s the gist:

  • If you can afford Energy-Star appliances, buy them, you’ll save on energy and water bills.  A new washer and dryer are not in my budget, so I use most other tips to make up for it.
  • only wash full loads (especially if your washer doesn’t have the ability to adjust water levels).
  • wash in warm or cold water.
  • turn your water heater down to 120 degrees.  I’ll admit that we don’t do that.  We tried it once and found it for us for some reason.  As for laundry, since I use cold water 90% of the time, it’s pretty much irrelevant.
  • only dry full loads (but not over full).
  • dry loads right after each other so subsequent loads benefit from the warmth of the just run dryer.
  • hang clothes to dry instead of using the dryer.
  • one that is irrelevant to me, but perhaps not to you, do not use too much detergent – over-sudsing makes the machine work harder and uses more energy.  I have rock hard, unsoftened water, over-sudsing is not an issue.
  • oh – and my favorite – don’t wash your clothes – – well, don’t wash them unless they are dirty.

I’m still trying to convince my children of that last one (they could care less about the other hints).  Washing clean clothes wastes water and energy and wears out the clothes.  Still, I find barely worn items in the laundry, and dirty socks under the bed.



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