Laundry’s one of those continuous chores, and it does more than eat into your schedule. According to Energy Star, the average household does 400 loads of laundry each year, consuming 13,500 gallons of water in the process. Those clothes need to be dried; the U.S. Department of Energy says that the average household spends $70 a year just to operate dryers. And that’s before the waste created by detergent bottles and the environmental effects of phosphates, which create destructive algae blooms, are considered.
Luckily, there are ways to save resources and money while still enjoying fresh, clean clothing.
• Try air drying your clothes: Your dryer is the second largest energy hog in your home after your refrigerator. Even if you only cut back on drying once in a while, you’ll end up saving money. Try using a clothesline or a drying rack instead. Dry similar types of clothing together. Bath towels will take longer to dry than synthetic fabrics, so make sure they don’t touch when you put them out to dry.
• Only wash full loads of laundry: Washing one large load uses less energy than washing two smaller loads, even if you wash the small loads on low or medium settings.
• Use lower temperature settings: Wash clothes using warm or cold water instead of hot, and use cold water for all rinses. You may find that presoaking heavily soiled or greasy clothing will allow you to wash out stains with a lower temperature of water.