Laundry just seems to be one of those endless tasks. Whenever, wherever, there is always more laundry to be done. And it appears that laundry is no easier on us than it is on our resources. Conventional washing machines require about 40 gallons of water per load. Multiply that by the average amount of laundry an American family does per year (a whopping 400!), that’s nearly 1600 gallons of water needed for a year’s worth of clean clothes for a typical American family.
As for the amount of energy that goes into laundry days, nearly 90% of the electricity used for laundry is spent on simply heating the water for washing. And as for the drying, the average clothes dryer costs an approximate $1,530 to operate for the entirety of its useful life.
So there’s no easy way to spin it, but we have a couple of tips to lightening the load on you, your wallet and the environment.
1. Replace your top-loading for a front-loading washing machine. This may sound like a hefty investment but in the long run it’ll be worth it. According to the California Energy Commission, the U.S. Department of Energy recently did a study in a small town in Kansas, where 204 older washing machines were replaced with horizontal axis machines. Homeowners there realized an average of 38 percent savings on water usage and 56 percent energy savings for the washer and hot water heating system. The reason being front-loading machines don’t need to fill the tub completely with water, thus, saving money and time.
2. Use naturally derived detergents. What you use to wash your clothes goes back into the environment, so please be kind. Plus, if that’s not compelling enough, conventional detergents include chemicals we should be wary of washing our clothes in. Clothes that are then worn against our skin, which may absorb those same harmful chemicals into our systems.
3. Wash your laundry in cold water. Simply doing so preserves the color of the clothing and keeps it looking new. But beyond that, you’ll be saving on the electricity that goes into heating the water for washing, approximately 0.24 kWh, which translates to about .41 pounds of CO2 per load, 162 pounds of CO2 per year, 8 gallons of gas, or 164 miles of driving.
4. Use wool dryer balls. Not only are they reusable, helping eliminate the need for dryer sheets, dryer balls are relatively inexpensive and last for an average of 2 years before needing to be replaced. As another plus, dryer balls help reduce drying time by 40%.
5. As we shared on our Facebook, line-dry your clothing. Doing so saves you 100% in costs. There’s no need for dryer balls or sheets or electricity, just sunshine and a clothing line. The only downside to line-drying is that it can only be done during warm months but aside from that, there’s absolutely nothing to lose. Line drying reduces static cling, wear and tear on clothing, saves money spent on electricity and products and is all the way environmentally friendly.