Laundry may be unavoidable, but why not save energy and money while you do it? Here's how to develop a laundry routine that's better for you and better for the planet:
1. Use the right detergent.
Front-loading clothes washers are designed to use High Efficiency (HE) detergent. Traditional detergent creates excess suds, which will affect the machine’s washing and rinsing performance. Over time, it can this could even cause odors and mechanical problems.
2. Switch to cold.
Ninety percent of the energy it takes to operate a clothes washer goes toward heating the water. Washing clothes in cold water will do a great job of cleaning most stains, especially when paired with detergent made for use in cold cycles. Switching your temperature setting from hot to warm can cut energy use in half, and using the cold cycle reduces energy use even more.
3. Reduce drying time with spin options.
If your clothes washer has spin options, choose a high spin speed or the extended spin option. This will reduce the amount of remaining moisture in your clothes after washing, and in turn decrease the amount of time it takes to dry them.
4. Wait for a full load.
Clothes washers use about the same amount of energy regardless of the size of the load. Whenever possible, wait until you have enough laundry to run a full load. This will save you both time and energy! In fact, reducing the total number of loads each year by 25% could save 3,227 gallons of water.
5. Mind your lint filter.
Cleaning the filter after every load will improve air circulation and increase the efficiency of the dryer. It’s also an important safety measure - a dirty filter could potentially spark a fire. Dryer sheets can also leave an invisible film on the filter that reduces air flow and, over time, can affect the performance of the motor. Use a toothbrush to scrub it clean once a month.
6. Low heat is key.
Dry clothes on the lowest heat setting. Drying cycles that use lower heat actually use less energy even though though they may take longer to dry your clothes. But saving energy isn't the only benefit - less heat means reduced wear and tear on your clothes caused by over-drying.
7. Get an ENERGY STAR pair.
ENERGY STAR clothes washers incorporate advanced technology to get significantly more water out of your clothes in its final spin cycle. This makes it easier for clothing to dry in an ENERGY STAR certified dryer using less heat. An ENERGY STAR certified clothes washer and dryer can save a household more than $370 over their lifetimes - and you could be eligible for up to $225 in combined washer and dryer rebates for qualifying models from the DCSEU.