Sustainable Savings in the Laundry Room

A few years ago, we replaced all our kitchen appliances with Energy Star appliances and are reaping the benefits of energy savings. However, we still have a set of washing machines that my grandmother purchased for me over 20 years ago when I was still single. Given the sentimental value, and the fact that they’re still going strong, I don’t have the heart to replace them. Unfortunately that makes sustainable savings in the laundry room a challenge. They are energy guzzlers; my 1990s electric clothes dryer, for instance, use at least 17 percent more energy than those produced today.

Since air drying our laundry will save on energy costs, we couldn’t wait to try our MULIG drying rack. Even though there’s only two of us in our household, given the age of our dryer, we estimated that air drying could save us up to $125 a year, which is better off in our pockets!

When we renovated our basement and built a brand new laundry room, it gave us the perfect space to set up a MULIG drying rack so we could lay our clothing out to dry.

It also comes in handy for larger things like sheets, duvet covers and our KARLSTAD sofa slipcover. I’m not really sure why we forgot to extend the MULIG fully before snapping the picture below, but you can see it fully extended above!

The best thing about the MULIG is that it folds neatly away until it’s needed again. We have the perfect spot beside the wall of PAX storage we built in my craft studio. And it’s just a stone’s throw from the laundry room.

Another way we’re saving energy in the laundry room is by economizing on the number of times we wash our KARLSTAD sofa cover. Our sofa came with a white slipcover so it shows the dirt pretty quickly. Luckily the slipcover is removable and washable. Here are two tricks we use to wash it less often to cut back on energy and water usage:

1. Alternate Vacuuming with the BASTIS Roller

One way to keep a slipcover clean between washings, and save on electricity, is by using the BASTIS lint roller instead of lugging out the vacuum.

2. ‘Slipcover’ the KARLSTAD sofa

The washing instructions for the KARLSTAD slipcover indicate not to put it the dryer. But it takes up to a full day to dry so how to you still use the couch in the interim? I’ll bet a lot of people put their slipcovers into the dryer to partially dry and speed up the process. To resist that temptation, our solution is a vintage full-sized fitted bed sheet; the kind with the elasticized corners like the one shown below.

The bed sheet fits perfectly in a pinch while the slipcover dries!  It keeps the exposed areas of the sofa clean while the removable part of slipcover is air drying. See how easy it is to put on here.

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Before we got the MULIG drying rack, we’d have to improvise by using the shower rod in our ensuite bathroom and our RIGGA clothes rack in our bedroom to drape the slipcover as it dries. It’s nice to keep those spaces clutter free now!

Ironing out any wrinkles in the slipcover while it is still a bit damp will get it perfectly smooth. Then it’s ready to go back on the sofa!

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A clothes dryer uses up about 12% of electricity used in an average household. Simply changing a few habits by washing items less frequently, washing them in cold water (instead of heating up water) and air drying can reduce energy usage – and they’ll last longer too. Using our MULIG drying rack during the winter will also add some humidity to help combat dry winter air. That additional humidity allows us to turn the thermostat down a degree or two (saving 4% on bills for every degree we lower our thermostat).

Check out the website of your local utility to see what money and energy saving programs are available in your area. You might be surprised by the added incentives you can take advantage of.

Where Do Socks Go?

Admittedly, one of a few things we still partially dry in our dryer are socks. Our buddy system doesn’t seem to be working. If I had a dollar for every time one went missing, I’d have a pretty decent retirement fund by now! Where do those socks go? Maybe it’s time to take that next step and air dry our socks too 🙂

This wraps up our Sustainable Sunday series. We’re glad we made the extra effort to be less wasteful and more mindful of making choices that will optimize our health and the health of the planet! Are you going to resolve to live more sustainably in the New Year? 

It’s easy to identify areas for improvement and make small changes that make a difference. What changes would you like to make? To keep you motivated, here’s a list of the things we focussed on in the Sustainable Sunday series:

We hope everyone has a happy and healthy New Year!

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