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Laundry: Eco Friendly Tips
Articles - Blog
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The “Green” Franciscan Sister
Janet Corcoran,OSF

The refrigerator is the largest user of electricity in one’s residence, followed by the clothes dryer. The gas dryer usually costs you more than an electric one to purchase but costs less to operate. An electric dryer’s cost for energy is approximately 30 to 40 cents for a typical load of laundry versus a gas dryer, which costs approximately 15 to 20 cents a load.

However, one can save energy and operational costs when one abandons the dryer sudsand instead line dries the laundry (where permitted). Keep in mind that line drying is free and is a healthy form of exercise for the person hanging the items. In addition, one helps to protect our environment by saving energy usage/cost. There are many benefits of line drying items such as:

1) the sun kills bacteria in the clothing;

2) the seams of the clothing show less wear and tear;

3) the static cling caused by electric dryers is eliminated;

4) wrinkles can be reduced; and

5) the air may be humidified by indoor line drying in dry winter weather.

Some suggestions regarding line drying are:

1) hang heavy items on the ends of your line with lighter ones in the middle. This will reduce any sag on the line and make your clothing last longer;

2) put clothes on a hanger while they are still damp rather than hanging them directly on the line with clothes pins. This helps the clothing to retain its shape;

3) hang stained items where they will get the most sunlight, as direct sunlight can sometimes get stains out of clothing;

4) keep space between the lines for air flow. The better that air can circulate through your clothing, the quicker it will dry;

5) put hosiery or lingerie in a nylon bag in the washer and then hang the bag on the line;

6) hang t-shirts by the tails and socks by the toes so clothespin marks won’t be visible;

7) hang jeans and towels over the line and halfway through drying, turn them so they are folded the other way to help them dry all the way through;

8) the line ought to be in a sunny locale, although you may wish a small bit in a shady area for those clothes that are susceptible to fading in the sun. One may wish to hang all clothing inside out to protect them from the sun which may fade clothing; and

9) monitor the weather forecast and do the laundry accordingly. That is, pick a clear, sunny day and, if possible, do one’s laundry in the morning hours.

Yes, line drying of clothing is environmentally friendly and saves energy usage/costs and provides a healthy form of exercise for the person hanging them. It is also a good way to demonstrate a respect for our sister Mother Earth.