By: Cyndi Bray, Found of Wad-Free for Bed Sheets
Cutting energy waste in the home is not only good for the environment, it can also save you money. Most people wouldn’t expect it but washing machines and dryers are some of the biggest energy wasters in homes. One study estimated the nation’s residential laundry carbon dioxide emissions at 179 million metric tons per year. That’s equal to the total annual energy use of more than 21 million homes.
While high efficiency machines use less water and electricity than other models, there is more that can be done to reduce the environmental impact of doing laundry. Especially when it comes to cumbersome items like bedsheets. The first step is to take a minute to know your machines. Most people never take the time to read the owner’s manual for their washer and dryer, which could lead to missed maintenance and not fully understanding what the various cycles and settings mean. It’s also important to check the care labels on garments, towels, and sheets. Many people will be surprised to learn that laundry advice passed down from parents and grandparents may conflict with manufacturer recommendations.
These tips can also help save time, energy, water, and even money when doing laundry:
Give Your Dryer a Clean Slate: Make it a habit to check and empty the lint trap before each load. A full lint trap reduces efficiency and becomes a fire hazard. A clogged lint trap prevents the dryer from being able to exhaust hot air, causing it to overheat.
Try Washing on Cold: Washing on cold eliminates the need to use energy to heat the water used in the washer and it is also gentler on fabrics. Heating water uses the most energy where the washer is concerned. These days, most laundry detergents are formulated to clean in cold water, but there are also options specific for washing on cold.
Wash Full, Mixed Loads: When you wash everything on cold you eliminate the need to separate towels and sheets from clothing. Fill the washing machine up with a full load to save time and again energy and money. Don’t be afraid to mix your clothes in with your sheets and towels, but if you’re washing a new item that is over-dyed and highly saturated with color for the first time be sure to keep it away from whites and light colors.
Use the Right Tools: When washing and drying sheets, use Wad-Free® for Bed Sheets which prevents them from tangling, twisting and balling-up in both the washing machine and the dryer, and dries loads up to 75% faster. Wad-Free also allows you to run machines at capacity, so you can run fewer loads. Fewer loads mean less water, less energy to heat the water, less detergent, less energy in the washer and of course all the energy savings in the dryer. The energy savings are significant.
Keep Dryers on Low: Even though it will take longer for clothing, towels and bedding to dry, using a low heat cycle on the dryer will still use less energy than a medium or high heat setting. Drying loads one after the other can also help by retaining the low heat in the dryer for the next load. And instead of chemical fabric softeners or dryer sheets that end up in landfills, opt for reusable wool dryer balls with a few drops of essential oils on them to add scent to laundry and reduce static.