A laundry room with a basket of dirty laundry sitting in front of a washing machine.
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Spin Cycle: Eco Edition

Save Money and Energy: Smart Ways to Upgrade Your Laundry Room

Kimberly Hutchings
/
December 6, 2023

It’s no secret that energy bills are on the rise.

In fact, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that in 2022 alone, U.S. residential electricity bills increased by as much as five percent, and prices are still on the rise.

It’s an uptick that’s left many Americans rethinking how they use their spaces, seeking smarter, more efficient alternatives to upgrade their daily routines — including the ones we’d often rather avoid, like the laundry.

Cleaning Green: Simple Tips For A More Energy-Friendly Laundry Room

The laundry room is a major player on our energy bills, with washers and dryers accounting for as much as 10 percent of our annual energy use — and that doesn’t even touch on water consumption!

It’s a significant cost, but it also makes the laundry room one of the best places to start scrubbing up (pun intended) your energy-saving practices.

Here are a few tips to transform your laundry room into an eco-friendly, energy-saving oasis.

Optimize Your Washing Routines

The first thing you’ll want to consider is how you wash your clothes. Making a few minor adjustments can go a long way to cut back on wasted energy!

Man does laundry with a toddler

1. Switch To Cold Water Washes

It’s better for your clothes and can reduce your energy consumption by more than half!

2. Consider The Size Of Your Load

Your machine uses the same amount of energy for every load (water usage is what varies), whether it’s a week’s worth of clothes or a single pair of underwear. Try only to wash when you have a full load to maximize your energy usage.

3. Rev Up The Spin Cycle

The drier your clothes are when they come out of the machine, the less time they’ll take to dry in the dryer. Opt for an extended or high-speed spin cycle on your machine’s settings to pull out as much water as possible during the wash.

4. Make Sure You’re Using The Right Detergent

Newer washing machines tend to require less water than older models, and using an overly sudsy traditional detergent can result in extended rinse cycles as your machine works harder to get your clothes soap-free. Choose a high-efficiency (HE) detergent to minimize suds and avoid the added wash time.

OUR PICK: Our team loves Tru Earth's Eco-Strips! They offer an ultra-concentrated, hypoallergenic, and liquid-free detergent option with a high-efficiency, low-sudsing formula. Their packaging is also 100 percent recyclable and plastic-free, eliminating over 160,000,000 plastic jugs from entering landfills and oceans to date!

5. Pay Attention To When You Wash

Time-of-use (ToU) plans are becoming increasingly common among utility providers. They offer consumers the chance to pay reduced electrical rates during certain hours of the day when there is less demand on the grid (typically overnight or during the workday). If you’re eligible for ToU rates, switching your washing routine to fit these off-peak hours can equate to some significant savings!

Practice Smart Drying Habits

Once your clothes are clean, it’s time to get them dry, and with that comes even more opportunity to level up your efficiency and reduce those energy bills.

Consider the following tips.

1. Pay Attention To The Day-To-Day Maintenance

Good dryer maintenance is at the top of the list when it comes to helping your machine run efficiently. It starts by always cleaning out your lint trap after every drying cycle. Too much lint build-up can lead to poor ventilation, lower airflow, and an increased risk of fires — no thanks!

You’ll also want to ensure you clean your moisture sensors every few months, especially if you use dryer sheets, as leftover lint and residue can make it harder for your machine to detect when the drying cycle is complete. It’s always best to consult your machine’s manual for proper cleaning directions, but generally, a wipe-down with a non-abrasive, damp cloth will do the job!

2. Use Dryer Balls

If you’re a stickler for dryer sheets, consider making the swap to wool or rubber dryer balls for an eco-friendly, energy-saving alternative. Traditional dryer sheets contain harmful chemicals that can build up on your clothes and skin, and they end up in our landfills. But dryer balls? Now, they’re a different story.

Wool dryer balls in front of a dryer

Dryer balls bounce around in your machine along with your clothes, helping to separate garments and reduce drying time while minimizing wrinkles, softening clothes, and eliminating static along the way.

OUR PICK: These Wool Dryer Balls from the Smart Sheep Store are made from 100 percent bleach-free sheep’s wool and last for over 1,000 loads! Wool dryer balls are also believed to cut down drying time even further by absorbing some of the moisture from your clothes while they bounce — win!

3. Air-Dry Your Clothes As Much as Possible

Now, our third tip is perhaps the biggest energy-saving drying tip of them all — don’t use your dryer. Yep, you heard us. Opt for air drying instead!

Man hang dries clothes

Air drying your clothes can offer a whole range of benefits. To start by stating the obvious, it allows you to avoid using your dryer, cutting back on consumption and helping you save on your monthly energy bill. Beyond those financial savings, though, air drying is also gentler on your garments, helping them to last longer, and by hanging your washing outside, the sunlight can act as a natural sanitizing agent, providing antimicrobial and lightening effects that make your whites extra bright!

Just make sure to hang your darker clothes indoors (or in shaded areas) to avoid unnecessary fading.

OUR PICK: This four-tiered indoor drying rack features six retractable trays and two side wings, making it ideal for larger loads or family-sized washes. It also has a foldable design that makes it easy to stash away and save space when it’s not in use.

For an outdoor drying option, consider investing in a retractable clothesline! They only take a moment to extend and snap into place and allow you the versatility of drying anywhere without having the permanent fixture of a laundry line in your garden or on your balcony!

4. Don’t Forget To Deep Clean Your Dryer

We touched on some day-to-day maintenance in our first drying tip, but a truly efficient laundry room is only complete with long-term, ongoing dryer care, which calls for an annual deep clean!

Once per year (or more if you want to!), it’s essential to clean out your dryer’s vent system and remove any dust and debris from the hard-to-reach places inside your machine. Before you begin, you’ll want to unplug your dryer (and shut the gas off if your machine uses both).

After ensuring you’re powered down, you can disconnect the vent from your wall and dryer and use a dryer vent brush and vacuum with a hose attachment to dislodge and clear away built-up lint.

OUR PICK: The Sealegend Dryer Vent Cleaner Kit has everything you need for a thorough cleaning. The dryer vent brush extends to a flexible thirty feet and can even connect to a standard electric drill for added spin power when cleaning! The vacuum hose attachment is compatible with most household vacuum cleaners and fits into narrow crevices to grab stubborn lint. The flexible lint remover brush is also excellent for cleaning deep within your lint trap (and those coils behind your refrigerator while you're at it, too!). If you own a shop-vac, that will also help in cleaning out the lines!

The key to a more efficient laundry room comes down to the sum of many simple, energy-friendly tips and habits. We hope you have *loads* of fun incorporating some of these into your washing routines. Happy saving!

Editor’s note: If you make a purchase through our affiliate partner links, we may receive a commission. This does not impact the recommendations we make.

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