GUEST POST: Green Living 101: Tips to Save Energy While Doing Laundry

February 26, 2013

Healthy Life

Green Living

Green Living

Going green is starting to go mainstream, and many people are developing a genuine interest in changing some of their less-than-eco-friendly habits. It is becoming more important than ever to conserve water and energy use . The home is a great place to start, where lots of relatively simple, yet significant changes, are just waiting to be made. One such area where you can really make an impact is how you do your laundry. Here are some tips for getting those loads done in  a more environmentally conscious way.

Turn Down the Heat

For most homes, a heat setting of 120 degrees is sufficient to clean clothes and other household items, such as linens. So, if your water heater is set to higher than this, consider turning it down to save energy, when you are washing with warm or hot water.

Keep the Temperature Lower

In a similar vein as tip one, wash clothes on lower temperature settings. Unless you have some really soiled items, a cool or warm wash cycle should be adequate. Detergents specifically designed for use in cold water are becoming more popular and you can experiment with different ones to find which works best. As for the rinse cycle, cold water is perfectly fine. You might also consider pre-soaking really soiled pieces so that they will still be sufficiently cleaned in lower temperatures.

Fill Up the Washer to Capacity

This one simple change could add up to loads of saved energy and water; by simply filling your washer to capacity each time, you use less heat and water on one large load at a high setting, than two separate loads washed on settings of low or medium. First, you want to find out how many pounds your washer holds and then weigh some clothes to get an idea of how much laundry that represents. Now, you have a great excuse to let that laundry pile up.

Optimize Drying Time

The dryer can be another major energy suck, but making a few changes can help you dry your clothes much more efficiently. Like the washing machine, you want to dry full loads, but be careful not to overfill. Drying a partial load often uses the same amount of energy as a full load. If your dryer has a moisture sensor feature, utilize that to ensure as little time as needed to sufficiently dry the clothes. Do not forget to clean out that lint filter—it improves air circulation and energy efficiency. Drying similar types of clothes together can also optimize dryer use—lighter fabrics will naturally dry faster than a heavy bath towel or clothing made from natural fibers. Dry two loads in a row if possible to capitalize on the heat generated from the first load. If a load is partially dry, do not add clothes that are fresh out of the washer. Taking clothes out of the dryer while they are still slightly damp will not only save energy, it will make ironing easier.

Help Your Dryer Work More Efficiently

Not optimizing the efficiency of our household appliances and systems is a major drag on energy use. Check the outside dryer exhaust vent to make sure it is clean, and that the flapper opens and closes easily; if possible, move your dryer closer to an outside wall—the less distance the exhaust air has to travel to reach outside, the more efficiently the dryer will function. Smooth ducts are more energy efficient than flexible ducts since the pleats found in the latter make it more difficult for the air to move through.

Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who enjoys sharing tips for being more eco-friendly in the home; if you are in the market for some new household items, she highly recommends Proctor Silex irons, Proctor Silex coffeemakers and the rest of the products from this quality company.

Green Living 101: Tips to Save Energy While Doing Laundry

This site is for information and support only and NOT a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment!
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