Tag Archives: laundry

Why Aren’t You Using a Clothesline?

There are many simple things you can do to be more eco friendly. Hanging your clothes out on a clothesline may not sound at first like a simple thing to you. But it’s really not that hard.

The Eco Advantages of Using a Clothesline

Buying and using a clothesline to do most of the drying of your laundry makes a lot of sense when it comes to the environment. It’s one of the easiest forms of solar power to use. It’s even fast on hot days. And it keeps you from using gas or electricity to power your clothesdryer.

The environmental advantages go beyond the gas and power bill, however. Line drying also helps most clothes to last longer. Dryers can be pretty hard on clothes; that’s why you get so much lint in the dryer.

The sun doesn’t cause that damage. It’s much kinder to your clothes. This means your clothes will last longer and you won’t need to replace them as often.

The Advantages to You

I know, hanging clothes on a clothesline sounds like a lot of work. It certainly is more work than tossing clothes into the dryer and taking them back out later. But it may not be as bad as you think.

I prefer to use clothespins to hang my laundry, but some other people put damp shirts, dresses, pants and so forth onto hangers to dry on the clothesline. It saves a step. If you’re in an area with a lot of wind it’s not so good an idea to use hangers because the wind can blow them right off the line.

You can still make doing your laundry more efficient with a clothesline. It may take time and effort to get the clothes up, but once they’re dry you can bring the hangers out and the clothes are easy to pop onto the hanger, as they aren’t all tangled up from being in the dryer anymore.

You also quickly save money with a clothesline. How quickly depends on the clothesline you bought, how much laundry you do and how much it costs you to run your dryer for each load. It’s likely to pay off in well under a year for many families.

Hanging out laundry is also pretty good exercise. You’re out in the fresh air and sunshine (might want to wear a hat!) and hanging up heavy, damp laundry. If you aren’t used to it, you will feel the effort.

The Disadvantages

It’s not all wonderful with a clothesline. You probably don’t want to let your jeans and towels dry completely on a clothesline – they end up kind of crunchy. But you can let them dry most of the way and then finish the job off in the dryer. They’ll come out feeling great and you will still have used your dryer less.

If you have a Homeowner’s Association to deal with, you’re likely to be facing rules against clotheslines. There are groups trying to change that, but it’s slow going. If you’re discreet about it and don’t get a huge setup that can be seen over your fence you can probably still get away with using a clothesline.

Clotheslines are also more challenging in apartments and condos. You likely just don’t have a great space to install one. However there are many good clothes drying racks you can buy and put in a space that gets plenty of sunshine and where you can open the window for fresh air.

They’re of course quite subject to weather. You’re not going to get much benefit from a clothesline on a rainy day. But even on cloudy days clothes will often dry reasonably quickly, depending on the moisture in the air that day. And when the sun goes down, the laundry’s not going to dry fast at all.

Overall, I find the advantages of using a clothesline to well outweigh the disadvantages. Give it all some thought and you might find that hanging the laundry out is a step you’re willing to take to go green.

Dry Your Laundry Using Less Energy – Green Step By Step

Laundry can use huge amounts of energy, especially when you use a dryer. But there are steps you can take to be more efficient.

A good, old fashioned clothesline is my favorite option. They can be very affordable, but not easily used in all situations. They’re more challenging in apartments and when you have to deal with a homeowner’s association, of course. Although even in those cases you can set up a drying rack indoors.

Then there’s rainy or otherwise cold or damp weather that can make clotheslines just not work.

That’s when using your dryer efficiently comes in. Don’t let that sucker cool off! If your dryer is like mine you will need to get the clothes before the dryer stops, as it cools them down for you… and coincidentally itself.

Get the next load in while the dryer is still hot, and it won’t have to reheat so much. You’ll also get those wonderfully warm clothes to hold for just a moment.

Are Cloth Diapers Too Much Extra Work?

Cloth diapers have become pretty popular in recent years There are tons of styles to choose from and many parents rave about them. But many fear that they’re a lot of work. Are they really worth all the trouble, the extra laundry, rinsing in the toilet? And what about leaks? And stinks?

I’ve been using cloth diapers on my daughter for about a year now and I can tell you that for me these things are really not a problem. It’s just not as bad as you might think.

For starters, the extra laundry really isn’t that much. Yes, you’ll be doing a load every 2-3 days. One load of cloth diapers. They’ll need an extra rinse cycle to be sure the detergent gets out, but they only use 1/4 the amount of detergent a regular load uses. The diapers should smell clean after washing.

You can dry cloth diapers outside in the sun (I strongly recommend this if at all possible) or in the dryer. The sun does some nice natural bleaching as well as saves energy, making it a generally good deal. Hanging the diapers out is certainly some extra effort compared to just throwing them in the dryer, but if you have the time it’s really not so bad. I find they stay freshest this way.

If you put them in the dryer, dry them on hot for most brands. You can check with your particular brand to be sure of care instructions.

But what about solid wastes? Aren’t they a pain?

Strictly speaking, even with disposable diapers you’re supposed to put the solids in the toilet. I think most packages even say that, although I don’t know that many parents obey that part, and that’s why this seems like such a big deal with cloth diapers.

For the most part solids shake out pretty well, especially as baby gets older. For wastes that are on the runny side of solid I like a diaper sprayer, which is a simple attachment to the toilet. No dunking required. Other parents just use some toilet paper to wipe the excess out.

And leaks?

On the whole, I’ve had less trouble with leaks with cloth diapers with this baby than I did with disposable diapers and my two older kids. We use bumGenius 3.0 cloth diapers, and they really don’t have a leak problem if you care for them properly and change the diapers regularly. Any diaper will leak if you leave it on the baby too long.

I would also say we’ve had very few blowout poops, which is something to be dreaded. It can just be an individual baby thing, but she’s had some impressive outputs at times, so I don’t think it’s that.

If leaks start to be a problem it’s time to strip the diaper to be sure that you don’t just have a buildup problem.

So do cloth diapers stink?

They can, sometimes. But that generally means that your washing routine isn’t quite right. Maybe you use too much detergent. Maybe they need to be stripped, which is a special wash of cloth diapers using original Dawn dish detergent and hot water, plus extra rinses because that Dawn can be a bit hard to get completely out. Be careful with this if you have an HE machine, because Dawn most certainly is not low sudsing!

Some parents also use tea tree oil to help with stinks. Bio-Kleen Bac-Out is another popular solution to stink issues. Just spray it on the diapers as you drop them in your bucket. It’s an enzyme cleaner and is very effective.

I know, this is sounding like a lot of effort. It’s really not that bad. Baby care in general is a lot of effort. At least with modern cloth diapers you aren’t fussing with pins and such. Some brands go on the baby in ways that are very similar to how disposables go on. It’s simple.

Just think of all the advantages. Over time cloth diapers tend to be cheaper than disposables. They’re less wasteful. You can even use them for more than one baby. Many babies get less diaper rash with cloth, and you can’t forget to note how many cute styles there are in cloth diapers.

And best of all, many cloth diapered babies potty train younger! The slight inconvenience of laundry is much offset by the potential to be fussing with diapers in general for less time in my opinion.

Save Money on Environmentally Friendly Laundry Detergent – Money Saving Mondays

I made the switch recently to using Country Save HE Laundry Detergent rather than whichever brand I could get cheap at Target. In part that’s because you have to be picky with cloth diapers so that you can avoid buildup on them, but also because so many detergents really aren’t kind to the environment.

Then I found out how much of an advantage there is to buying laundry detergent online through Amazon.com.

There’s a trick to it, you see. If you subscribe to the product you know you’re going to need regularly, you get a discount and free shipping. But if you decide to cancel the subscription, even after the first shipment, there’s no penalty. If you delay the shipment, no penalty. If you request it sooner, no penalty. You still get a great price and free shipping.

It amazed me just how much that came out to with my Country Save. They ship in it a box of 4 – 10 lb. boxes of detergent. It works in HE and regular washing machines and is very popular with people who are cloth diapering.

I’ve been using it a while now, to see how it works, rather than reviewing it after just one round. You don’t really know a detergent after the first load unless it’s an utter disaster, after all. But I started out pleased and remain pleased. So far as I can tell it is cleaning as well as any other detergent I’ve used.

And I love that it uses such a small amount. The scoop is so tiny! You’re supposed to only use a quarter scoop for cloth diapers, otherwise follow the instructions for your machine.

There are a lot of products you can subscribe to through Amazon, so it can be worth a look to figure out if having it shipped directly to your home will save you money and errands.

How to Make Using a Clothesline Easier

I love using my clothesline to dry my laundry. It’s not for everyone, but it certainly works for me. I dry as much laundry as possible on there, at least part of the way. It’s hard to say how much energy I’m saving, but it’s probably pretty significant.

These are some of the things that make it easier for me:

1. State of Mind

It would be harder to use my clothesline if I really hated it. That’s pretty much obvious, I’d say.

A part of what I do is look at it as a chance to get a bit of exercise, which can otherwise be hard to get with 3 young children in the house. There’s a lot of lifting, and holding wet laundry to the line to clip it, then repeating over and over certainly gives the arms a bit of a workout. It’s not as much fun as lifting my baby of course.

2. Know How Long to Leave Clothes on the Line

My husband hates the feel of towels and jeans dried completely on the line. I do too. But what he doesn’t realize is that I dry all laundry at least part of the way on the line when the weather is nice. Jeans, towels and anything else that will feel kind of crunchy after I take down before they’re dry and toss into the dryer. Just doing the last little bit of drying by machine takes the crunch out.

3. Recognize the Benefits

I love knowing that I’m saving money drying my laundry this way. I also enjoy seeing how much better white items look after drying in the sun. It’s most obvious with my baby’s cloth diaper inserts, which often still have some yellow to them after washing. By the time they’re dried by the sun, the yellow is gone. The dryer can’t do that.

4. Have Enough Clothesline Available

I still need my husband to hang a second line for me. I may end up doing it myself if he doesn’t get to it soon. It’s not that hard, but I’d need a time when the baby doesn’t need me. On the plus side, it would do my son good to see that Mommy can do that kind of work too. Same for my older daughter, but I think I would probably try it while she was at school. Just the time of day I’m most likely to do these things.

Not having enough space for more than a load at the time makes using a clothesline harder on days that aren’t hot enough to dry everything quickly. That especially goes for if I’m doing general laundry and cloth diapers on the same day. Those inserts can take forever to dry! They are absorbent, after all.

5. Plenty of Clothespins

You can save on clothespins and clothesline space if you clip two pieces of clothes together, side by side, but that only goes so far. Running out of clothespins just before you run out of laundry in a load can be quite frustrating.

6. Hat and Sunglasses

One of my peeves with a clothesline is looking into the sun as I try to hang the clothes. Wearing a hat and sunglasses can really help. I don’t feel so blinded.

What tips do you have for drying clothes on a clothesline?