Washing and drying your clothes is a chore that most people find a little dull, but it has to be done. Luckily these days, there are a host of appliances and products designed to make washing day a little easier. However, using all these modern conveniences doesn’t always mean washing day is kind on the environment.
Here are three ways you can make sure that you are washing in a more eco-friendly way.
Choose your appliances wisely
Modern washing uses appliances, but if you choose carefully, you can reduce the amount of water and energy they use.
In New Zealand, both washing machines and clothes dryers carry an Energy Star rating. One is the lowest and six is the highest. These star ratings help you to compare different types of appliances - for example, a 6kg or an 8lg dryer, or similar appliances from different brands.
Make sure you choose an appropriate size of washing machine and dryer for your household. You don’t want to waste space with too small loads. Equally squashing too much in can mean the appliance has to work harder to do the job. Front loading washing machines tend to use less water than top loaders. Dryers that vent to the outside are a better option as they don’t expel moisture into your home.
You should also look for the features that the washing machine or dryer has as intelligent features can also reduce energy and water consumption. Useful features include:
Sensors which automatically stop the dryer when the clothes are dry
Timers which allow you to set the dryer for a certain period
Sensors which adjust the amount of water used by a washing machine according to the load size
A cold wash option
A variety of washing cycle options of different lengths
A higher spin speed
Use your appliances wisely
Once you have chosen a good model of washing machine and tumble dryer you need to use them wisely to maximise the benefits.
When you are washing:
Always try and do a full load. This is much more efficient than washing a few things at a time, especially if your washing machine doesn’t easily adjust water levels. Group washing together so If you only have lightly soiled clothes you can put them together on a shorter wash.
Think about using a cold wash. Cold washes use less energy because a lot of energy is used in heating the water. Cold washes also help to prolong the life of your clothes, particularly if they are delicate fabrics or have printed pictures on them.
Spin your clothes on a higher speed. This helps remove more water so drying is quicker. Spinning twice can be more energy-efficient than drying for longer.
Don’t use your dryer more than you have to. Drying your clothes outside on a washing line is a much cheaper option, and you get the added benefit of your clothes getting fresh air and sunshine. Rotary clotheslines are a great option and can fit even large loads of washing including sheets and duvet covers. If you have limited space, then a folding frame line can be a good choice. These can be folded down when not in use and fit neatly against the side of the house or a fence. Washing lines can even be put up in a carport or inside with retractable clotheslines that can be neatly stored away when not in use.
It doesn’t have to be sunny to dry your clothes outside. A windy day is great for drying, and even on overcast days, it is still possible to dry outside. If your clothes aren’t fully dry when you need to bring them in then finish them off on a clothes airer inside or put them in the tumble dryer. Your tumble dryer won’t use as much energy as it won’t need to be on for so long.
Make sure you keep the lint filter on your dryer clean so that air can pass freely through and make drying more efficient.
Look for eco-friendly products
As well as the appliances you use, you can also be eco-friendly when It comes to the products you put in them.
There are plenty of eco-friendly detergents and fabric softeners on the market. Some may be more expensive than traditional brands but they are a lot less harmful to the environment. Eco-friendly detergents are made from natural products such as plant-based products like citrus. Concentrated products will last longer and use less packaging, which is also good for the environment.
You could also experiment with making your own detergent or using alternatives such as white vinegar in place of fabric softener.
Auckland Clotheslines can help you become an eco-friendly clothes washer
If you’d like to be eco-friendly when it comes to your household chores and you need a new washing line, Auckland Clotheslines can help. We have a full range of washing lines for indoors and outdoors. We can supply New Zealand-wide and also offer an installation service across Auckland and Christchurch. If your existing clothesline has seen better days, give us a call to talk about whether repairs might be possible.