Saturday, July 10, 2010

Airing My Clean Laundry

For the most part this blog has about gardening and food but the goal has really been to write about our efforts at sustainability and self-sufficiency. So in an effort to live a more sustainable life and reduce our carbon-footprint, Dan and I are trying our hand at drying our laundry outdoors. I’m aware that we are not actually on the cusp on this trend since it been around for the last couple of years but we are making changes as we get to them. It’s simply impossible to tackle everything all at once.

So now the challenge is ‘greening’ our laundry. We already use eco-friendly laundry soap and have, long ago, given up things like chlorine bleach, softener and dryer sheets. The next logical step seemed to be reducing our energy consumption. And, the best way to do that was to reduce the number of loads of laundry we dry in the dryer. We live in Los Angeles and the weather here is pretty damn perfect for doing this. If we lived in Seattle or Portland, we might be a bit more challenged drying clothes in this manner.

Dryers are great but they are energy hogs and cost about $0.50 per load to run depending on your utility rates. In fact, using a dryer consumes approximately 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year for the average U.S. household. This means that Dan and I were probably spending around $130 per year just drying our clothes. If we could reduce our energy use, we could also reduce our monthly costs which makes this a win-win situation for the environment and our bank account. And, another added benefit is that your clothes last longer when they are dried on a line or a rack.

The only problem was that I am a complete newbie at using a clothsline or rack. My family may have had a clothsline when I was a child but I don’t remember one. Dan’s family used to use a clothsline for part of the year but he didn’t remember the specifics. So, I did a little bit of research and ended up deciding that a drying rack would be the best option for us. You can use the rack outdoors and indoors which makes it a versatile choice. I ended up ordering one from e-tailer Abundant Earth. As you can see from my lovely photos, I have no idea how to hang things on the rack. But, I’m trying and I hope that I’ll get the hang of it (no pun intended) at some point.

1 comment:

  1. $130 a year should buy a few nice drying racks :-) We are thinking about getting this new round wooden clothes drying rack because I like the way that each piece of fabric hangs without touching ones below it.
    Figuring out to do without the electric clothes dryer is important for the earth.