Clean Up Your Laundry Act!

Task: Wash clothes in cold water. Air dry your laundry in summer.

Of the major appliances in the typical American household, the electric clothes dryer uses the most electricity.

Advanced: If you already air dry clothes in summer, do so in the winter, too! Creating indoor drying spaces will help add humidity to your home in winter months.

Tips for doing without a dryer:

• Install a clothesline.

• Plan to do laundry on sunny, breezy days whenever possible. Wash and hang clothes in the morning.

• Using the dryer for just a few minutes can help “fluff them up” so they dry without wrinkles. This is especially helpful with front-loader washers, which spin so fast that clothing is often pressed tightly together.

• Hang shirts on plastic hangers to dry. The hangers can be hung on your clothesline outside, on a shower bar, or on a closet rod installed in your laundry room.

• Use folding racks to dry things indoors.

• A retractable clothesline installed in the basement adds drying space when needed, but is easily moved out of sight when not in use.

• Clothes last longer when not subjected to dryer heat.

• If your laundry smells of mildew, it is probably not drying fast enough. Hang it as soon as the wash cycle is done, and make sure there is sufficient air circulation around each item. Also try adding a small amount of vinegar to the rinse cycle.

• Some home owners’ associations have rules against outdoor clotheslines. However, in many places these rules are not enforced.

What else you can do:

• Reduce your laundry volume by wearing some clothing more than once.

• If you are in the market for a new washing machine, consider a front-loading model. They use far less water than top-loading models, and since they spin faster they extract more water so less energy is required for drying.

What you should know:

• In the USA, clothes dryers are not energy star rated due to all models use similar amounts of energy. However, the U.S Department of Energy recommends that if you are looking to purchase a new dryer, buy one with a moisture sensor. It will automatically stop when your clothes are dry. This saves energy and also helps save your clothes as it prevents over-drying.

• Click here for more clothes drying tips.

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