Put dirty clothes in a barrel in the back of your truck with some water and detergent . . . .
Just joking! We use a washing machine here just like you do. But the amount of energy you use doing laundry can vary quite a bit.
Of course, tip number one is to use a front-loading, energy-efficient brand of washing machine.
Tip number two: don’t wash clothing that doesn’t need it. I know people who throw big towels in the laundry after one use–like they’re living in a motel–or automatically throw all items of clothing into the laundry after wearing them one day. Hey, I’m not trying to interfere with your hygiene. Just don’t wash your clothes until they need washing.
And no, we do not come right out and advocate wearing dirty clothing in order to save energy.
You’re not going to believe this, but Chip Bergh, CEO of Levi-Strauss & Co, says it’s not necessary to wash Levis more than once a year. That was not a typo. Once a year. A student in Canada reportedly wore them for 15 months and then had them tested for bacteria. The count was normal. This raises a few questions in my mind. One is how frequently did he wear those jeans during that period of time? But the main one is do these people ever actually do anything?
Tip number three: use cold water. But If someone tries to tell you that cold water works as well as hot water to clean dirty clothing, then that person is not as honest as me! I know hot water actually works better, but is it necessary? How dirty is your clothing? Are you an office worker or a coal miner?
Save hot water for when you really need it!
I generally find that using cold water with an extra soak cycle and maybe a little pre-treating usually works just fine for my clothing.
Tip number four: When operating your washing machine, fill it. Two small loads use more energy than one big one.
Tip number five: Washing machine these days are highly programmable as far as size of loads and type of fabric. Read the manual. Familiarize yourself. Using the most appropriate cycle can save energy.