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A More Sustainable New Year: Laundry

As you might have heard, all month we are giving out different New Year’s Resolutions about how to make your lifestyle more environmentally friendly. Not only will that benefit the world around you, but generally help you live a healthier lifestyle as well. For week 2, our theme is making your laundry more sustainable!

There are many practical ways to get your laundry more environmentally friendly that don’t mean giving up on the washing machines and using a washboard like they did in the 1800s (although that would be pretty cool if you did). Check out the below tips and information, that are realistic and easy to implement in your busy lifestyle:

 

  1. Use a drying rack or hang your clothes outside to dry
  • Did you know if you live on campus you can check out a drying rack at the front desk of your residence hall?
  • Hand drying one or more loads of laundry per week for a year can save a household up to $260 in energy bills
  • Air drying extends the life of your clothes and prevents shirking
  • Start simple by just hanging your clothes out in the summer, then see how long you can keep it going throughout the year!
  • Dryers use a LOT of energy- even a new dryer can use as much electricity as an new efficient clothes washer, refrigerator, and dishwater combined
  1. If you do need to use a dryer, make sure you follow these tips
  • Sort similar fabrics, start with a load of fast-drying fabrics and then do back-to-back loads to take advantage of residual heat
  • Clean the lint filter out after each load to improve air circulation
  • Put a dry towel or a tennis ball in the dryer to help dry your clothes faster
  • The dryers on campus are set to run for 55 minutes, but your clothes will probably be dried in less time than that! Check the dryer every 10-20 minutes so they dryer isn’t running for longer than it needs to be
  1. Use cold water in the washer
  • Did you know 90% of energy in washing a load of laundry is just for heating up the water?
  • Colder water is generally better for your clothes
  1. Wash one large load, rather than multiple smaller loads
  • Washing one large load will take less energy than washing two loads on a low or medium setting
  • Check your washer settings to see what the maximum load size is to make sure you don’t over or under load it

 

By following these four sustainable laundry guidelines, you can see savings in your energy and water bills, as well as improved quality of clothes! Have you changed the way you do laundry? Let us know about it by emailing sustainability@utk.edu!

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