Doing your laundry accounts for 10 percent of your home’s energy consumption. While that might not seem like a lot, remember that laundry is an essential chore that regularly needs to be done. On top of that, it consumes many other resources we have to pay for, such as water and detergent. There are other ways to conserve energy in other parts of your home, but today we’ll focus on how to do so in the laundry room. Here’s a list of tips that will help you lower the costs of doing laundry.
Read the manuals on your appliances
Manuals might be notoriously tempting to ignore and discard upon purchasing a shiny new thing, but you’ll benefit from giving them a quick read and keeping them for emergencies. User manuals tell you how to properly operate your machines and the instructions for maintenance of both the machine and the garments you’ll be washing and drying. Laundry appliances come with instructions for use and maintenance that can often be specific to the brand and machine type. The paperwork for your appliances, including the manual, receipts, and warranty – also contains contact information for support. If your washing machine or dryer needs to be repaired, you’ll know who to call.
Remove dryer lint
Just as you need to clean air conditioning filters for more efficient air cooling, you need to clean the lint off your dryer’s lint screen for better performance. The more lint is on the machine, the harder it will work to get things done, costing you a higher electrical bill. Clean your lint filter after each batch of laundry. Doing this is also essential for the machine’s longevity, as it minimizes the wear-and-tear that happens with every use. It’s also safer for you and your household, as lint buildup can lead to dryer fires.
Use cold water as much as possible
While using hot water is more effective for cleaning your clothes, it also costs extra. Heating water takes up about 90% of your washing machine’s energy consumption. Hot water can also cause your clothes to show wear and tear, which has implications for the environment and your wardrobe. The use of hot water on laundry day causes microfibers from certain fabrics to shed. Wastewater treatment facilities can filter out not all of these particles, so about 35% of them make up the plastic that pollutes our oceans.
Use the right detergents
Of course, it helps to load your washing machine with the proper cleaning agents for your garments. Studies show that liquid detergents can be better for the life of your washing machine. The abrasive particles of powdered detergents can more easily damage your clothes over time.
You’ll also benefit from using high efficiency (HE) detergent, especially if you have a HE washing machine to match. HE detergents are the only kind you should use with HE washing machines. HE detergents require less water to do their job and produce minimal suds. Too many suds can negatively affect the efficiency of your machine.
If you’re willing to experiment, you can even try your hand at making your own detergent.
Consider alternative drying methods
You can always skip your dryer and save using it when you really need that polo shirt ready for work the next day. One alternative is to let your clothes air dry. This conserves energy and reduces the wrinkles in your clothes since they’re not being tossed about in the dryer. Sun drying is especially good for lighter colored fabrics, as it helps bleach them. That said, excessive sun-drying might not be so good for dark-colored fabrics.
If you still want to use dryers, other kinds on the market are more cost-effective in the long run, though they’re more expensive to purchase. Keep in mind that a gas dryer will need its own gas line.
Heat pump dryers are another more efficient kind of dryer. As with gas dryers, heat pump dryers are more expensive to purchase but save you money in the long run. They’re more energy-efficient and are also better for the lifespan of your garments.
If you’re looking to save on your laundry day costs, try the tips we’ve listed above. A lot of these methods are better for your budget and have benefits for the environment and your garments.