How do you manage your laundry? In our house, I’m the laundry lady. As such, I get to skip out of all kitchen chores, which is super awesome as I hate doing dishes with an absolute passion. In contrast, Yankee Elv hates laundry so it works well for us. Anyway, although it might seem like a routine chore, the way you choose to do your laundry can impact your electricity and water usage.
I have a front loader washing machine. Front loaders are more energy and water efficient than top loaders – top loaders actually use twice as much water. I only ever wash full loads and use cold water (unless I’m washing work clothes which go through on permanent press). This saves water and electricity.
Once I have the clothes washed, I don’t put them in the dryer (in fact, I don’t even own a dryer). I hang them on the line. I know that this isn’t common in the US – in fact, in some places it’s actually illegal to have a clothesline – but here in Australia it’s totally normal to have a clothesline. Every house has one, and I put up ‘under-the-house’ lines within the first two weeks of moving in here.
You need to be able to dry your clothes if it’s raining, right?
We have an outside line too.
When I lived in the US, we only had a dryer, and the reduction in electricity used here as compared to in Texas was dramatic, and based mostly on not using the dryer. As well as being good for the environment and your electricity bill, it’s also better for your clothes. When Australians hear that lots of Americans don’t have clotheslines, they all look horrified and ask how their clothes don’t get ruined – bras, flimsy shirts, elastic in underpants!? (Once a British colleague asked an American colleague this question and he responded by joking that all their clothes are polyester anyway, so they withstand anything.) Just remember to hang your clothes inside out or the sun will fade them.
I know in some places, line drying isn’t a feasible option in winter (and thus this post isn’t particularly timely for those of you in the northern hemisphere), but keep this in the back of your mind for spring. It’s good for the climate and your bank balance!