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Oregon Family Magazine

Simply Green - Save Time the Planet...

07/14/2010 ● By Anonymous
Don’t you just love doing laundry? Ah, the endless piles of dirty clothes! And the best part is, it never seems to go away. Good thing it’s so much fun--the average family of four does more than seven loads of laundry a week.

What? You don’t relish the thought of spending the summer hunkered over the washing machine? Reducing the amount of laundry you do will not only save time and energy—it will also save the planet. If you have a 40 gallon top-loading machine and wash a load a day, you’re using over 14,000 gallons of water to wash your clothes every year! Tumble drying all those clothes could release as much as 1,825 pounds of carbon into the atmosphere in a year’s time.

So how can you cut down on laundry? Here are three ideas:

  1. Don’t be so obsessive about cleanliness. Re-wear clothes and re-use towels until they’re actually dirty. It’s okay to change sheets no more than once a year. (Just kidding on that last one.)
  2. Wash full loads. A load is full when it’s filled to the top with clothes without stuffing them in.
  3. Don’t sort clothes. If you have trouble making full loads all in one color/fabric type, try combining them. (Make sure to wash in cold water so your whites don’t turn pink.) So get out those dryer racks or set up a clothesline. Hanging even one load a week will make a difference.
Want to take those energy savings even further? With the sun shining and temperatures soaring, there’s really no reason to use the dryer. Sure, it can be somewhat of a hassle to work hanging your wet clothes on the line into your schedule, but think about the advantages:
  • You’ll save about $.50 a load when you let the sun and air do the work instead of your dryer. If you wash a load every day (about average for a family of four), you’ll save $182.00 a year.
  • Every load you toss in the dryer emits one to five pounds of carbon into the atmosphere. Hanging dry, on the other hand, doesn’t harm the planet a bit.
  • In super-hot weather, clothes will dry faster on the line than in the dryer.
This summer you can enjoy the fresh air while your towels soak up the sunshine. Kick back with a cool drink, relax—and resolve to do less laundry. It’s for the planet, you know.

Contributed by Joy Hatch, Simply Green