Growing up, doing the laundry was my all-time favorite chore. Call me strange, but I actually loved the process of helping my Mum or Dad sort the darks from the lights and carefully measure out just the right amount of detergent before voila! The machine did all the rest of the work.
As an adult however, I’m starkly aware of the cost that each load of laundry adds to my household energy bill - which seems tenfold now that we have a baby in the family who manages to go through more outfits in a day than the rest of us wear in a week.
After the sticker shock on our energy bill with all the new loads of laundry, I started looking into ways I could save energy, money (and in some cases, time) while doing the laundry.
Here are my faves!
Wash clothing in cold water – According to EPA affiliate Energy Star, your washer uses about 90 percent of its energy heating up the water. Switching your temperature settings from hot to warm can cut energy consumption in half – and shifting from warm to cold can save even more. And I’m pleased to report that decreasing the temperature seemed to make no difference to the cleanliness of the clothes!
Do laundry at the time of day when energy is cheapest. Did you know that energy prices fluctuate, not only throughout the day but the week too? It’s true. Throwing in a load of laundry at 5PM on a weekday when you get home costs significantly more than holding off until later in the evening or the weekend. This is because right after work is known as a “peak hour” or time when demand on the energy grid is highest, so costs of power are higher. Find out when energy prices are highest with your energy provider and if you’re super savvy, you can even get paid to save energy during this time!
Dry clothes on a laundry line instead of the dryer – This one takes a bit more time but makes a serious difference to the cost of a load. Opting to air-dry your clothes spares your energy bill an extra dry cycle and adds to your favorite T-shirt’s shelf life.
Dry on “moisture sensor” mode – Instead of setting your dryer for an exact amount of time, try the moisture sensor mode, which automatically ends the cycle as soon as the clothes are dry. It saves time and can reduce your bill.
Wash bigger loads – Your washing machine will use the same amount of mechanical energy whether you select “small” or “super.” Take advantage of the electricity you’re already using by washing larger loads. (This one hasn’t been a problem for us lately!)
Clean the dryer’s lint trap – If you’re like us (big fans of This Is Us), you’re hypervigilant about the safety of your crock pot. But did you know the risks of a house fire when you use your dryer too? When you use your dryer, be sure to remove the leftover lint after each cycle. This improves air circulation and allows your dryer to work faster, wasting less electricity - and is a heck of a lot safer too.
And that’s it! With any luck, these tips can make laundry my favorite chore once more. It looks like Jack’s already keen!
Katie is an award-winning journalist and digital strategist with more than 10 years of experience in print and digital media and a passion for the environment and fighting climate change.
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