Today I am evaluating how well I’m doing with green and/or frugal spending and habits in the laundry room. There are six of us here: two adults, two teens, one child and a baby (who wears cloth diapers). I do a lot of laundry! I wash an average of 10 loads per week. My husband washes his work clothes on the weekend.
- 2 cloth diapers
- 2 baby
- 2 whites
- 3 darks
- 1 miscellaneous
I used to separate our clothes into three categories: whites, lights, and darks. But then (and I have no idea why) we started just separating into colors and whites. This has been helpful because it means I can wash loads earlier because they are fuller faster. Our clothes have handled being combined but maybe that’s because we don’t wear the color red, lol.
I encourage the kids to re-wear things that haven’t actually gotten dirty, like pajamas and even blue jeans. I re-wear, too. If we haven’t gone anywhere and we were stuck inside due to rain or whatever, our pants can certainly be worn again the next day. Shirts, undergarments, and other articles of clothing that are soiled are obviously thrown in the bin to washed.
Related post: Evaluation the Bathroom
I use All powder laundry detergent; I’ve also used Tide Free but it’s much more expensive than All. I don’t like scented cleaners because I get tension/contact headaches easily so I choose things that are scent-free. These detergents may not be the most eco-friendly, but I’ve tried making my own in the past and found that they didn’t clean as well (and what’s the point of washing clothes if they aren’t going to be fully clean afterward?) If I find a natural detergent that actually works, I will gladly make the switch! ^_^
I dry the majority of our things in the dryer, but I also hang some things to dry. When I use the dryer, I throw in wool dryer balls in place of dryer sheets. If I’m hanging to dry, I use coated hangers and wooden clothespins; I hang things above the washer and dryer as well as on a shower rod nearby. When I’m feeling especially energetic and frugal, I hang a lot more, but when my week is full and I’m not caring as much about the environment or our wallets, I only hang the cloth diapers. :P
I keep the dryer’s settings on Casual, and turn the knob to Energy Preferred. I also turn the super-obnoxious-annoying-and-startling buzzer to ON. As much as the kids and I despise the “end of cycle signal,” it prevents clothes from drying longer than they need to (it will cycle off and then on again about five times) and also prevents them from needing to be de-wrinkled later because they didn’t hung up right away.
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One to wash, one to wear.
I read the above suggestion (from the Great Depression era) years ago and have stuck to it with most things. Bedding, towels, and other non-wearables…all of us each have two. The only issue I’ve found with having so few of these kinds of things is that you have to buy higher quality due to the amount of washing and wear they receive. You can’t buy cheap bed sheets, wash them all the time and then expect them to hold up for long. :/
Okay, so I need to hang more clothes to dry, find a natural detergent, and buy higher quality non-wearables when possible.
How do you save money and/or the environment in your laundry room?