Treading Lightly
Treading Lightly

Laundry tips to save money and energy

One of my favorite memories of my first weekend in the dorms last year was watching all of the freshmen try to figure out how to do laundry. For some reason students come to school with absolutely no knowledge of what a washing machine is or how it works. One kid’s mom came to visit for parents weekend and did more laundry for her son than I had ever seen in my life.

Image courtesy of dormwise
This year my roommates and I are spoiled by having our own washer in our room — we don’t even need quarters or our student ID’s to do our laundry. Having such luxury has made me wonder how many students are washing more than they did in the past because they are no longer paying a dollar per wash or dry. With washers in every new condo we have a potential to waste a lot of water and energy. As Americans we do countless loads of laundry, and there are many ways that we can make each load better for the environment.

1. Make sure each load is completely full. There is no need to wash your favorite shirt by itself so you can wear it again the next day.

2. Wear your clothes more than once (unless you got completely sweaty or your clothes smell, in that case please do everyone a favor and wash them). We wash our clothes more often than we need to, and washing them less will not only save energy, water, and detergent, but it will also make your clothes and washing machine last longer.

3. Wash your clothes in cold water. A lot people seem to think that cold water will not make their clothes as clean as hot or warm water, but cold water works just as well, especially if you are using detergent that is formulated for cold water.

4. Use concentrated soap that comes in smaller packaging and does just as many loads of laundry as their water-laden counterparts.

5. Do not use any dryer sheets or the sheets that are supposed to be soap and dryer sheets. These are full of harmful chemicals and are a waste of money.

6. Use the smallest amount of soap possible. Many detergent bottles call for more detergent per load that truly needed to get clothes clean (how else are they going to get you to buy another bottle as often as they would like?). One of the best ways to determine how much soap you need to is to cut down on the amount of soap you use every time you do laundry until the clothes are not getting clean. Once you have found the amount it takes for the clothes to still be dirty, you can go back to the lowest point where your clothes were still clean.

7. Make your own detergent.

8. Avoid using the dryer as much as possible and instead hang out your laundry.

One Response

  1. Ray L says:

    It is interesting to note that cold water also helps remove stains better — there are plenty of food stains, in addition to sweat stains, that are “set” by the higher temperature water and become more permanent. Of course, this assumes the proper post-stain care as well (rinse immediately, dab, etc). Otherwise, it’s back to the white vinegar and baking/club soda or an enzyme product.

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