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Drying your clothes

The amount of energy used in your laundry room is staggering: approximately one third of your household’s energy use goes to your dryer.

What can you do about it?

  • TIP #1: Hang-dry whatever you can. Of course, the best way to reduce the energy use from your dryer is to not use your dryer! Many synthetic garments (work-out gear, fleece etc.) actually say “hang to dry” right on their label – they will certainly last longer and hold their shape better if kept out of the heat of the dryer. An outdoor clothesline is ideal, but a great all-season hang-dry option is a collapsible drying rack. It folds up and tucks away in your laundry quarters, then opens up to hang all manner of clothing to dry overnight.
  • TIP #2: When you absolutely must use your dryer….set your dryer on its lowest setting. Don’t automatically turn the timer to 60 minutes. Your clothes can often dry in much less time. Let the dryer do the heavy lifting on water removal, then pull out your trusty hanging rack to get the last bit done. If you’ve got a moisture-sensor built into your dryer be sure to use it.Over drying is as hard on your clothes as it is on your pocketbook.
  • TIP #3: Empty the lint trap on your dryer. Empty your lint trap every single time you put in a new load. Not only is a clogged lint trap a fire hazard, but it also means your dryer has to work harder to get the clothes dry, which can add up to about 30 percent more in energy costs.
  • TIP #4: Buy a high-efficiency dryer. When the time comes to replace your old dryer, look for the model with the lowest EnerGuide score that is big enough for your average load (EnerGuide is a government initiative that rates appliances for efficiency to help consumers make the best environmental choices. see Most new dryer models also feature a moisture sensor so you won’t waste energy over drying your clothes.

These tips came from: Ecoholic, Adria Vasil and Green for Life: 200 Simple Eco-Ideas for Every Day, Gillian Deacon


Not only are dryer sheets not recyclable, but your fabric softener or dryer sheets likely include all sorts of toxic chemicals including Alpha-Terpineol, Benzyl Acetate, Benzyl Alcohol, Camphor, Chloroform and Linalool; none of which are good for the environment – or you. According to the manufacturers’ Material Safety Data Sheets, these chemicals have the potential to do things to you such as:

  • cause central nervous system disorders, headaches, and loss of muscle coordination;
  • irritate mucous membranes and impair respiratory function;
  • cause nausea, vomiting, dizziness, or drowsiness;
  • cause liver or kidney damage;
  • cause skin disorders and allergic reactions;
  • cause cancer.

Aside from the chemicals in the sheets winding up in your clothing and therefore next to your skin, when heated, the fumes are also toxic.

What can you do about it?

  • TIP #1: Hang-dry your laundry. Hanging to dry will help you avoid the dreaded static cling, but if you do need a fabric softener, read on!
  • TIP #2: Try one of these alternatives to fabric softeners:
    • add 1/2 cup white vinegar to your rinse cycle
    • Ecover, Simply Clean or Seventh Generation each sell all-natural options for liquid softeners.
  • TIP #3: Try one of these alternatives to dryer sheets:
    • throw a ball of aluminum foil in the dryer to reduce static cling
    • try a reusable chemical-free dryer sheet. The Static Eliminator is supposed to work well and it will last for over 500 loads.

These tips came from:
Ecoholic, Adria Vasil

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