If you use a washer or dryer, chances are you may be spending more money and wasting more energy than you’d like. While washing clothes by hand and drying them outside is the most cost effective and energy efficient route, it is certainly more time consuming and tiring. Fortunately, there are small changes you can make in your laundry routine to help cut down on cost and energy while keeping your clothes clean and fresh.
Use Your Washer More Effectively
The easiest way to reduce your bill and energy consumption is to simply switch to washing your clothes in cold water. The energy it takes to heat the water in your washing machine uses about 90% of the energy needed to run the washer. This means that using cold water to wash your clothes will drastically cut down on your bill and energy usage. If your regular detergent doesn’t work as well in cold water, look for one that is specifically designed to clean in cold water. Washing in cold water will also help prevent colors from bleeding, fading, and shrinking.
Another great way to reduce energy usage is to only wash full loads of laundry. Your washing machine will use about the same amount of energy on any size laundry load, so you may as well fill it to reduce the total amount of loads you’ll need to wash. If you do need to run a smaller load, make sure the water level is appropriate to use as little energy as possible. If you have a front-loading washer, be sure to use High Efficiency detergent, which is designed to work with front-loading machines. If you don’t have a front-loading machine, you may want to consider getting one. They use about two-thirds less water than top-loaders.
Use Your Dryer More Effectively
The best way to save money and energy while drying clothes is to use a drying rack or clothesline. However, if time is of the essence, there are some tips for using less energy when drying clothes as well. Cleaning the lint screen after every load, for example, will help air circulation, prevent fires, and cut down on drying time. Most dryers now have an auto-dry or a moisture sensor option. These are great alternatives to using the timed dry option because they won’t over-dry your clothes and cause you to use more energy. Also, try using the cool-down cycle on the dryer to use the remaining heat to finish drying clothes. If you feel your washer or dryer aren’t performing at the standard you’d like, consider getting High Efficiency machines or Energy Star machines to help increase energy efficiency.