A normal household uses a lot of water and energy just to wash clothes – even more if a dryer is used. With current rising energy costs, it makes sense to try and reduce costs wherever possible. A simple starting point is the laundry room which can be optimised to not only save you time but also money:
Washing your Clothes
It’s a common misconception that all laundry item needs to be washed in water that is as hot as possible. Not only will the higher temperature shorten the life of most garments, stains can generally be removed with more temperate water. Just make sure you run at least one hot cycle for your whites every month or so to keep your machine as clean and bacteria free as possible.
Especially for delicate fabrics and clothes that are not stained, the “cold” setting on your machine comes in handy. Most laundry detergents these days work in water as cold as 15°C which ensures your clothes are just as clean as after washing them in warmer water.
Another tip is simply washing your clothes less often. This obviously doesn’t apply for stained fabrics or underwear but you don’t need to chuck your jeans in the washer and dryer after you wore them once. Give them a sniff – as long as they don’t smell simply wear them at least twice.
Drying your Clothes
Luckily, living in Australia means that most of us have access to an outside space where we can dry our clothes. Unless it’s chucking down, most weather will dry your clothes in less than a day which saves you a lot of energy by not using your dryer at all.
We know it’s nice to have smooth and soft feeling clothes (especially those fluffy towels fresh out of the dryer!) so another dryer hack is to put the clothes in the dryer for just 10-15 minutes, making them smooth, eliminating the need for any ironing and hanging them on the line afterwards until they’re dry.
If you absolutely have to use your dryer, it might be handy to know some tricks to improve its effectiveness:
- Don’t overfill your dryer; air should be able to circulate freely between the clothes.
- Separate heavy & light fabrics.
- Don’t overdry clothes – the separation of light and heavy fabrics helps with this one.
- Empty the dryer filter after every use and make sure the exhaust pipe isn’t blocked.
- Put on more than two loads in a row so you can use the heat of the previous cycle for the next one.
General Tips to Save Energy
The most obvious general saving tip is to make sure you chose a machine based on its energy rating certificate. Most old washing machines and dryers use a lot of unnecessary energy which can be avoided by switching to a newer model.
The location of your dryer in your laundry room is also important. Make sure the distance between the outside wall where the exhaust pipe is and the dryer itself is as short as possible. This will reduce the energy your dryer needs to get rid of moist air. Another good tip is to try and make the exhaust pipe itself as short and straight as possible. Less elbow bends mean a shorter way for the air to get out.
Additionally to all these laundry specific energy saving tips you can also make sure you turn your hot water thermostat down. There’s no need to have incredibly hot water for everything in your household. Most thermostats are set to around 70°C degrees, whereas most household uses are safe to be done with 50-60°C water.