How about if we told you that you can save money and the environment at the same time without any sacrifice at all? Sounds too good to be true? Actually, it's not: a few simple changes in the way you do laundry can translate to big savings.
For example, did you know that you can save as much as $70 per year by simply washing your clothes in cold water rather than hot? That's super easy, right?
While it's true that front-loading washing machine is more energy efficient and may save you money in the long-run, there's quite a bit of money-saving things you can do with your regular ol' washer and dryer.Here's a list of easy peasy things you can do to save a bundle of money while doing the laundry:
- Wash clothes in cold water
A whopping 90 to 95% of energy used by a washing machine goes to heating the water. This means that a hot wash/warm rinse cycle costs 15 times as much as a cold wash/cold rinse cycle.
It used to be that a hot wash is better at removing stains, but new detergents made for cold water washing have gotten just as good at cleaning regularly soiled clothes.
- Don't overload the washer
Overloading the washer will cause it to wear out faster. Plus, the clothes don't get as clean. And to make matters worse, it takes longer to dry (and thus use far more energy).
- Presoak and pretreat dirty clothes
Presoaking and pretreating stained clothes with detergents often work better than just washing them in hot water. As a general rule, 15 minutes of presoaking followed by 5 minutes of agitation is better than 15 minutes of agitation.
- Use less detergent
Although companies now make ultra concentrated detergents, many of us still think that the little scoop of detergent can't possibly be enough for all those clothes, so we add a little bit more. Can't hurt, right?
Actually, too much detergent can cause too much suds, thus making the washer work extra hard or even leaving residue in the clothes.
- Rinse in cold water
It makes no sense to rinse clothes in warm water. There's no more cleaning to be done there. Always rinse in cold water.
- Lengthen the spin cycle
The more water the clothes have in them when you put them in the dryer, the longer it takes to dry. So make sure you extract as much water as possible by lengthening the spin cycle (some washer have a "max extract" feature).
It usually takes about 40 minutes of drying time to dry a normal load of laundry. If your dryer takes longer, then it's possible that the clothes are too wet and there's something wrong with your washer's spin cycle.
- Remove lint from dryer filter
If there's just one tip that will help you save money with your dryer, it is this: remove lint from your dryer filter before each load.
Link reduces air flow through the filter, which hurts the dryer's efficiency. In fact, a dirty lint filter can cost as much as 30% increase in the cost of running the dryer.
- Clean dryer vent outlet
Remove any lint from the dryer vent every month. In addition to improving efficiency, dryer lint is also very flammable.
- Run multiple loads back to back
Doing several loads of laundry in a row saves on heating cost because the dryer would already be warm after the first load.
- Run the loads off-peak hours
If your utility company has "time-of-day" rates, then do your laundry off-peak hours.
- Use the moisture sensor
If your dryer has a humidity or moisture sensing shut-off feature, use it. Usually, you can save 10 to 15% in energy cost when compared to setting the dryer to run for a certain time.
- Fold your clothes right afterwards
Ironing is not only time consuming, it's also very expensive in terms of energy. In fact, according to the California Energy Commission's Consumer Energy Center, an hour of ironing uses as much electricity as two hours of dryer's use.
Instead, hang or fold your clothes right out of the dryer. If you forgot and the clothes got wrinkled, simply re-run the dryer for 5 to 10 minutes (you can also toss in a damp towel to help), then take 'em out and fold 'em.
If you simply have to iron, usually it's enough just to iron the collar and front of the shirts.