If the wintry, wet weather is making you increase your laundry load, here are some tips on how to get clean clothes and a clean conscience, courtesy of EPA’s Do 1 Thing ENERGY STAR:
Clothes Washer Tips:
· Always use HE (High Efficiency) detergent.
Front-loading clothes washers are designed to use High Efficiency detergent. Using regular detergent creates too many suds, which will affect the machine’s washing and rinsing performance. Over time, it can lead to odors and mechanical problems.
· Fill it up.
Clothes washers use about the same amount of energy regardless of the size of the load, so run full loads whenever possible.
· Wash in cold water.
Water heating consumes about 90% of the energy it takes to operate a clothes washer. Unless you’re dealing with oily stains, washing in cold water will generally do a good job of cleaning. Switching your temperature setting from hot to warm can cut energy use in half. Using the cold cycle reduces energy use even more.
· Use a drying rack or hang clothes outside.
Where and when possible, air-drying clothes instead of using a dryer not only saves energy, but also helps them last longer.
· Avoid the sanitary cycle.
This super-hot cycle, available on some models, significantly increases energy use. Only use it if absolutely necessary.
· Activate the high spin speed option.
If your clothes washer has spin options, choose a high spin speed or the extended spin option to reduce the amount of remaining moisture in your clothes after washing. This decreases the amount of time it takes to dry your clothes. Less water = less drying time. Less drying time = less energy use!
· Leave the door open after use.
Front-loading washers use airtight seals to prevent water from leaking while the machine is in use. When the machine is not in use, this seal can trap moisture in the machine and lead to mold. Leave the door ajar for an hour or two after use to allow moisture to evaporate. Make sure children do not climb into the machine while the door is open.
· Rinse the washer every month.
Some manufacturers recommend rinsing the washer each month by running a normal cycle with 1 cup of bleach to help reduce the risk of mold or mildew buildup. Consult the product owner’s manual before attempting.
Clothes Dryer Tips:
ENERGY STAR does not label clothes dryers because there is little difference in energy use among models. Here are some ways to reduce energy consumption when using your clothes dryer:
· Use the moisture sensor option.
Many new clothes dryers come designed with a moisture sensor, which automatically shuts off the machine when clothes are dry. Not only will this save energy, but it will also save wear and tear on your clothes caused by over-drying.
· Clean the lint filter.
Cleaning the filter after every load will improve air circulation and increase the efficiency of the dryer. It’s also an important safety measure.
· Scrub the lint filter regularly if you use dryer sheets.
Dryer sheets can leave a film on the filter that reduces air flow and, over time, can affect the performance of the motor. Use a toothbrush to scrub it clean once a month.