Buying an energy-efficient washer and dryer is one way to create a more sustainable laundry room, but when it comes to actually doing a load of laundry, you might be.
Wash Clothes in Cold Water
Washing a load of laundry in warm water requires a substantial amount of energy, and that is just to heat the water. However, washing clothes in cold water will get clothes just as clean while consuming considerably less energy.
Since heat is one of the main elements involved with cleaning clothes thoroughly, laundry detergent designed specifically for cold-water use has been developed to compensate for the absence of heat.
A lot of the time, cold-water detergents are found to be more effective that warm-water detergents. Furthermore, making the switch to cold-water cycles can cut energy bills by more than half. An estimated 90% of the energy expended by a washing machine is used solely to heat the water, so eliminating this factor altogether can result in dramatic savings in energy, sometimes reducing energy consumption by more than half.
A Full Washer is a Happy Washer
You have probably heard it time and time again, but one of the easiest ways to save energy is to simply wash full loads. Think about it; your washer is going to apply the same amount of water and energy towards washing a load of laundry, regardless of whether it is a full-load, half-load, or even less. Therefore, to be more efficient, you should wait until you have a full load of laundry before you decide to wash it.
Should you find yourself needing to wash clothes, but you do not have a full-load, keep in mind that most washers are equipped with settings that allow you to control the water level. A half-load of laundry would require far less water than a full-load, and these specific settings will allow you to set an adequate water level for a certain size load of laundry.
Keep in mind that there is full, and there is overflowing. You do not want to overload your washing machine beyond its capacity. To effectively wash a load of clothes, the clothes must be allowed to move around inside the drum of a washer. However, an overloaded drum will reduce movement. If clothes are packed too tightly, detergent cannot be adequately dissolved, resulting in soapy clothing.
Your Washer Might be Hiding Something
It’s true! Your washing machine might have specific energy-saving settings that you don’t even know about.
For example, some washers feature a sanitary cycle, which basically incorporates air that is heated to a higher temperature. This energy required to heat the air simply outweighs any benefits that super-heated air might offer.
If you are able to set the spin speed of your washing machine, opt for the higher spin-speeds. High spin speeds will rotate clothes at a higher RPM, wringing out clothes much faster.
If at First you Don’t Succeed, Try Again
If you are washing a heavily-soiled load of laundry, one load may not be enough to adequately clean the load, so most people will run the wash-cycle again. Using two washings to wash one load of clothes is not an efficient means of operation.
However, chances are good that your washer has a Pre-soak feature. This feature immerses the clothes in water and detergent for a period of time before the washing cycle actually begins. The pre-soak feature is excellent for removing grass and blood stains, which always seem to be the most stubborn stains to remove.
Just One of the Gang
When doing a load of laundry, group fabrics of similar textures together (ex: grouping all the cotton garments together). Drying a load of laundry composed of similar-textured garments will ensure an even drying cycle.
Sometimes, You Just Need to Vent
The air vent and lint filters need to be cleaned often—ideally after every load—to ensure optimal efficiency. Both of these openings are vital arteries in the dryer, allowing for adequate circulation. Should one or both become clogged, more energy is devoted to air circulation resulting in a potentially large drop in energy efficiency.
Not to mention to the fact that a clogged lint trap is a fire hazard. Due to the extremely flammable tendencies of dryer lint, an excessive buildup of it can easily be ignited by the heated elements within the dryer.
Don’t Need It? Don’t Use it!
Most dryers are set to time-dry by default. What this means is that you can set the dryer to run for a specific period of time. In terms of efficiency, this practice is extremely inefficient because a load of clothes may be thoroughly dried long before the cycle is set to end.
However, most dryers are equipped with an auto-dry feature as well. This feature uses sensors to detect when a load of laundry is adequately dry, shutting down the drying cycle promptly following.