5 Ways to Make Laundry Day Better
A few easy changes in the way you do the wash can help you save money, improve energy efficiency, and bond as a family—an all-around win!
With so many of us busy juggling more responsibilities than ever, it’s no wonder that folks find doing the wash such a drag. And all that sorting, washing, drying, and folding doesn’t just take up huge amounts of time, it also consumes plenty of water, energy, and money—something that doesn’t sit well with today’s budget-conscious, eco-conscious Americans. Fortunately, there are easy ways to make laundry day less of a drain on your wallet, your time, and the planet’s precious resources. Smart choices and simple changes can save you money while improving energy efficiency, and they have the added benefit of bringing your family closer and helping you function better as a team. Read on to learn how!
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1. Start with superior machines.
Replacing an outdated, dollar-guzzling washer and dryer is the first step toward laundry day liberation. If they’ve reached the 10-year milestone, your home’s most hardworking appliances are definitely due for retirement. The good news is that the latest ENERGY STAR certified washing machines not only cost less to operate, they also minimize wear and tear on fabric, so clothing looks great longer and won’t need to be replaced as soon.
And when it comes to your green goals, get this: If if all clothes washers sold in the United States were ENERGY STAR certified models, we could prevent the release of more than 19 billion pounds of carbon emissions annually—that’s equal to the pollution from 1.8 million vehicles! Washing machines that have earned the ENERGY STAR blue label use 25 percent less energy and 33 percent less water than standard models. Over the lifetime of a standard-size ENERGY STAR washer, more than 2,000 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions and 22,000 gallons of water would be saved—and you would keep $380 in your pocket.
ENERGY STAR certified dryers, too, use about 20 percent less energy than their less-efficient counterparts. If every American upgraded to a dynamic new dryer that earned the label, energy cost savings would reach $1.5 billion each year and prevent the release of 22 billion pounds of carbon pollution annually. Plus, today’s high-tech heat pump dryers, which recirculate ambient air to maintain dryer temperature, can use 50 percent less energy than conventional models.
2. Get the whole gang involved.
The era of moms being solely responsible for laundry duty is over! Indeed, one recent survey found that 41 percent of millennial dads say they’re in charge of laundry chores, while another revealed that some 60 percent of men age 35 to 54 now do their own wash—a huge increase from previous years. Clearly, shared household responsibilities squash gender stereotypes.
Laundry is one of the best household chores for little ones to learn, because features on today’s machines make them super easy to operate, thanks to high-tech wizardry that kids can’t resist. Every load of wash becomes a teaching opportunity about responsibility, ecology, and essential life skills.
3. Lessen your load.
It’s a no-brainer: The less laundry you do, the more you save in terms of money, time, water, and energy. Yet the average American family still washes about 300 loads annually, many in top-loading washers with agitators that limit how much clothing can fit into the drum. (By comparison, ENERGY STAR certified front-loaders tumble clothes through a small amount of water rather than agitate them.) With 26 million clothes washers built at least 10 years ago, these inefficient appliances waste $4.7 billion in energy and water—and cost consumers an average of $185—every year.
One key to a greener wash day is to do only full loads, in other words, loads in which the tub is three-quarters full. ENERGY STAR certified washers have a greater tub capacity, so you can clean the same amount of laundry in fewer loads. That’s clean with a conscience!
4. Go for the cold.
About 90 percent of the energy consumed by washing machines goes into heating water. So, if you switch to cold for four out of five loads, you could cut out 864 pounds of CO2 emissions in a year—which is equivalent to planting ⅓ acres of forest. Yes, hot water is best for seriously oil- and grease-stained items, but cold will banish everyday dirt, sweat, and spills just fine. What’s more, cold water is gentler on fabric, extending the life of your favorite clothes. Meanwhile, hot water can cause shrinking, fading, and wrinkling—and no one wants to spend time and energy ironing! Plus, now that the warmer weather is upon us, save some drying time by hanging out your clothes to dry. You can save energy plus bring what is normally an indoor chore outdoors for more family bonding time.
5. Adopt sensible drying habits.
Your dryer won’t fritter away money and energy if you swap in a few wise practices. For one, quit wasteful timed drying in favor of sensor drying. Advanced moisture sensors on ENERGY STAR certified machines recognize when laundry is perfectly dry, then shut off automatically. Using a lower heat setting is also a wise measure, as is being vigilant about cleaning the lint filter after every load. This improves air circulation, which increases efficiency. Tip: If you use dryer sheets, scrub the lint filter monthly to remove the film these products leave behind.
This content is paid advertising created in partnership with ENERGY STAR. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.