Challengicious Monday: Save Energy When Washing Dishes and Laundry

>> Monday, April 26, 2010

Mondays are challengicious at The Conscious Shopper. Here's your next energy-related challenge:

Save Energy When Washing Dishes and Laundry

To complete this challenge, you can...

  • Only wash full loads. Unless your dishwasher is full or you've got a full load of laundry, save it for the next load.
  • Air dry your dishes. Instead of using the "heated dry" setting on your dishwasher, open the door and let them air dry.
  • Wash your clothes on cold. According to Progress Energy, each load that I wash in cold can saves me about $0.50.
  • Wash your clothes and dishes off-peak. Some newer models of dishwashers have a timer so you can run a load in the middle of the night when people generally use less energy. If possible, nighttime is also the best time to use your dryer - especially during the summer when your air-conditioner has to compete with the heat from your dryer.
  • Line dry your clothes. Hang your clothes on a line and let the sun dry them. Along with your refrigerator, the dryer is your biggest energy hogging appliance.
If you've been holding back from line drying your clothes because of limited space or HOA rules, stay tuned. Later this week, I'll show you how I line dry some of my clothes.

Will you take the challenge?

You have hereby been challenged to go green in a year without going broke! Check out the last challenge, or view the whole list of Challengicious Mondays. Sign up for my RSS feed, follow me on Twitter, and join my "Go Green without Going Broke" group on Facebook!


Zee @GreenBlossoms April 26, 2010 at 3:31 AM  

I like line drying clothes. :) It's nice that you discussed saving water in the laundry or when doing the dishes. Most of the posts I've read discuss saving water in the shower (in fact, we wrote about this too) or in the garden. We forget how much water we also waste when we are not mindful of our water use when doing the laundry or when doing the dishes! Thanks for the tips! By the way, I love the new layout -- clean and user-friendly!

Jeannie,  April 26, 2010 at 6:15 AM  

I'm a jogger and have been for awhile. Both jogger items are easy enough and I didn't even notice the change.

Shona~ LALA dex press April 26, 2010 at 8:13 AM  

In the 80's George Burns + Betty White did commercials for So. Cal. Edison (the power co) giving energy conservation tips such as yours. I cannot find them anywhere on the net, but every time I do laundry I still think of those ads. We don't have a dishwasher so that part is not an issue.

I do have to say sorry to my poor dog. I have put off washing the blankets he sleeps on because I air dry them + down south we are getting too many thunderstorms.

cpcable April 26, 2010 at 10:37 AM  

I think this is the year that I'm finally going to get serious about line drying. The poor layout of our house has prevented me thusfar...getting clothes from the laundry room to an outdoor drying location involves lots of stairs and hill-climbing. But I think I'm going to invest in an umbrella clothesline that I can set up in a convenient location.

abbie April 26, 2010 at 2:55 PM  

I am interested to hear your tips for line drying. We can't put up a line outdoors because of our HOA. We used to line-dry indoors, actually on a rack, near the air vent, but our humid summers here in NoVa, prevented our clothing from drying, and it started to smell bad. So we put them back in the dryer.

My in-laws actually use their dishwasher as a simple drying rack. Even closed, somehow stuff gets dry in there. They usually just hand-wash everything and they only run once in a blue moon to wash everything out. Now that I am paring down on kitchen belongings period (who needs 15 coffee mugs?) we don't have as many dishes. So, with no dishes left in the cupboard, and not-quite-full dishwasher dilemma, I am thinking I should start hand washing too. Tips for hand washing?

Wonder-ful April 26, 2010 at 4:37 PM  

I suppose we're at jogging stride. We adopted a new system for doing laundry. Instead of doing it all on one day and being overwhelmed, we do just one load (on rotation). One load goes on the line as another goes in the washer. The next day, repeat.

Erin aka Conscious Shopper April 26, 2010 at 10:05 PM  

abbie - I've never thought of using the dishwasher to dry clothes, but it would be brilliant for sweaters and delicates.

Lina April 27, 2010 at 10:57 PM  

Okay, this is one that I've been wanting to do for a long time, especially now that we have the space for it. I've been stalling because I can't figure out what kind of clothesline to use but maybe now I'll just get over it and move forward. Just the sunshine on diapers alone should be worth it. And I didn't think of the 'wash on cold' thing - I started that today and will do that for most of the laundry (diapers are still getting the hot treatment)

Also, I can't imagine what it would be like NOT to have a full load of dishes or laundry (or two, or three) Could you make a challenge where I just shouldn't do anymore laundry? Please? :)

Erin aka Conscious Shopper April 27, 2010 at 11:08 PM  

@Lina - I think if you all ran around naked, that would count as Marathon Runner!

Mary Q Contrarie May 15, 2010 at 10:40 AM  

I really like the way you say baby steps through marathon. However your post gives the impression that air drying your laundry on a line or clothes drying rack is hard. It is really very easy just takes a few extra minutes to hang the clothes up. You really are not handling the laundry any more than putting it in the dryer. Plus you have the benefit of making your clothes last longer.

Erin aka Conscious Shopper May 15, 2010 at 11:18 AM  

@Mary Q Contrarie - Line drying isn't hard, but it is more time consuming than the other steps I outlined. You should check out the post following this one though on how I line dry my clothes, where I mention that when I use the dryer to "save time" I regret it because it really doesn't take longer to line dry them. Thanks for the reminder about how line drying makes clothes last longer!

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