Summertime, and the Laundry is Easy

Summertime Laundry ClotheslineWe’ve finally hit a patch of hot weather here in Seattle, which is right in keeping with the old local adage that summertime starts July 5th. I look forward to this kind of weather all year; the interminable dark damp gray days 9 months of the year make it seem magical in comparison. Since I’m a bit of a laundry diva, summertime becomes a thrilling time to do the washing. Saves money and helps the environment too! Here are my simple steps for doing fresh and easy summertime laundry…

WASH IN COLD WATER – 90% of all the energy used to run your washing machine is used to heat the water, so switching to cold water will immediately save you money. Cold water washing has the benefit of being kinder to your clothes, putting less stress on most fabrics. Clothes are more likely to fade, stretch or shrink when washed in hot water. Cold water washing may actually get your clothes cleaner too, as hot water can set it stains. I admit that I still use warm/hot water to wash towels, sheets and underwear though. It may be merely psychological, but I still have the notion that these items warrant warmer water for washing.

USE A HOMEMADE LAUNDRY DETERGENT – Not only are homemade laundry detergents fun to make, they are also very economical and kind to the environment. Of course I am partial to my own homemade recipe using Zote soap, Borax, and Super Washing Soda: Easy Homemade Laundry Detergent Using Zote Soap.  I only use 1/8th Cup (2 Tablespoons) of the mixed powder for a very large dirty load, and it gets everything incredibly clean with no residue.

USE AN OUTDOOR CLOTHESLINE (OR INDOOR DRYING RACK) – The Solar Powered Dryer is here! It’s always been here, and it’s completely free. Summertime is ideal for putting Mother Nature to work drying your laundry outside in the fresh air and sunshine. You can get as fancy or as simple as you want with clotheslines. I stick with simple, as I just have a length of nylon boating rope that is strung from my house to a tree. in my backyard It works perfectly. You also have the advantage of not having your dryer running, heating up your house and clogging the lint traps. You can save a lot of money on energy bills too. It’s been over 8 years since I’ve used a dryer so I don’t know the exact amount saved, but I remember being astounded at the savings when I first got my electric bill. If you can’t dry laundry outdoors, indoor drying racks work fabulously.

These steps may take a bit of getting used to, since we’re so engrained in commercialized laundry marketing and culture. But I guarantee that once you go simple, you’ll never go back!

“After enlightenment, the laundry.” – Zen Proverb


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