I hang-dry a lot of clothes. Not only do I save quarters, but I also help conserve electricity. Plus, my clothes last longer and the colors stay brighter. Not to mention the pleasant aroma of fresh laundry that wafts throughout my apartment.
-- Meg Ivers
I'm a quilter and sewer and do laundry, of course. I use the "used" dryer sheets to stuff pillows, dolls, etc. It's surprising how soon a bag accumulates near my dryer -- less to throw out and a nice scent in the stuffed articles.
Jeanne Niemczyk, Des Plaines
On these warm sunny days, I hang laundry outside rather than run the dryer. The sunlight does a better job whitening baby diapers than toxic bleaches, and it's a great excuse for the children and I to get out for some fresh air in the back yard.
-- Laurie Yoder, Plainfield
Ok, not a new idea but even Martha Stewart is encouraging people to line dry their clothes! I have been doing it for years (my dryer comes out only in winter time). I think people would be pleasantly surprised at the sweet, fresh smelling laundry which can't be had from a dryer. Might also be pleasantly surprised at a lower utility bill each month!
-- Maggie, St John
Rather than using the dryer any more than necessary, do an initial dryer run, then promptly hang the clothes from the dryer.When washing clothes, use the rinse water to do a quick floor mop.
-- Julie Pietrzak, Palos Heights
We always have a stack of plastic wrap when I pick up our dry cleaning. To try and recycle I take two of the dry cleaner's plastic shirt cover bags and place them inside each other and then take a little duct tape over where the hanger hole is . and use that for my liner in my office and garage waste can . I also keep them in the car trunk for misc uses and sometime that comes in handy when I need a quick trunk liner or make shift rain cover. Being a bit of a germophobe I always put it on plane and movie seats! My wife also uses them to wrap our winter sweaters when put away for the summer. I can always find weird uses for them if I give it enough thought and keep em handy.
Why use paper napkins? I haven't used them in years. Use cloth napkins and throw them in the next load of laundry. Saves trees and money.
-- Val Zalewski, Oak Lawn
Instead of washing bed sheets every week (once every seven days), I stretch the length of time between changing the sheets to nine days. This means I wash sheets 41 times in a year instead of 52 and save water and cleaning supplies. Stretching the time a day or two isn't likely to sacrifice cleanliness. If I'm ill, I wash sheets more often.
-- Verie Sandborg, Deerfield
I buy the 16 oz. bottles of water and recycle the bottles by filling them with liquid laundry detergent. I buy detergent in the very large containers when on sale and when I have a coupon and then fill the small bottles. This is easy to do as there is a spigot on the large container and it saves substantially on the cost. The small bottles are easy to transport to the laundromat and can be disposed of when empty. You can also do this with granular detergent by using a funnel.
-- Ann Bruce, Chicago
Hang out wash, even in winter. Great humidifier indoors.
-- Andrea Agrimonti
1) For drying towels, use recyclable dryer balls instead of dryer sheets in the laundry dryer. The balls pummel towels so that they become soft and retain their absorbency. Dryer sheets are not recyclable and cause a silicone buildup on towels which decreases absorbency.2) When you do use dryer sheets, save them after the drying cycle for polishing chrome plumbing fixtures. This will cut down on cleaning sprays and solutions.
-- Lenore Glanz, Chicago
Several years ago my clothes dryer broke down. I was broke as well so hauled out some wooden clothes dryers I had from long ago. These are large but arranged so they don't take up much floor space and can hold 1 to 1-1/2 loads of wash. Haven't used my dryer much since (did get it fixed though). An added benefit- the drying clothes add lots of humidity. The wooden clothes are easy to find in hardware stores that cater to the Amish.( Bremen, Nappanee, Shipshewana Indiana.)
-- Kathy Long
My wife decided to start hang drying almost all of our clothing. In addition to clothesline in the basement, we have two foldable standing racks. Hanging up clothes takes more effort but saves a lot of gas and electricity. It also puts some moisture into the air and reduces wear on the clothes.Anyone not willing to hang up lots of clothes might still consider air-drying bedding and other large items. They don't take long to hang up, and because of the way they get tangled up in the dryer they use a disproportionate amount of energy to dry.
We sometimes make exceptions for a load of small items like socks and underwear.
-- Tom, Chicago
Years ago, I heard that at rooming houses in England, guests always sat at the same place in the dining room and the cloth napkins were left in place from meal to meal. It seemed very quirky and slightly icky at the time, but over the years, thinking about it, it's made more and more sense.A few years ago, we adopted this practice at our home. Family members tend to always sit at the same place at the table, so it's a very easy thing to simply leave the cloth napkin. We replace the napkins once a week at laundry time. Because we have cats who tend to lounge all over, we cover the table with a clear vinyl sheet (shower curtain or furniture cover) to protect from cat hair.We've extended this for lunches at work as well. We bring a cloth napkin Monday, leave at work, reuse all week and bring home on Friday. For these napkins, I went to a resale shop and got some good cotton napkins for cheap since they don't have to match any tablecloth, placemats or china.
-- Michi Schulenberg, Chicago
When my parents purchased their home in 1956, they did not want a clothes dryer. My mother hung the laundry on the lines in the yard and in the in the winter it was hung on the basement. We didn't know anyone who lived without a dryer. Now that I am living in that same house, I wouldn't have it any other way and think that dryers are bad for fabrics, anyway. By the way, their Maytag washer, purchased in 1964, which I now have, is still running beautifully!
-- Irene-Aimee Depke
In addition to using cloth napkins, I follow Burt Wolf's advice on a PBC food show: In many European households, they fold the napkins after a meal so the stains on the inside. This way the napkins can be used for many meals - and laundered less often.
I don't think Burt recommended doing this for company!
-- Dennis and Carol Douglas
To wash diapers you need to use unfolded cotton diapers. When the diaper is wet just rinse it out in warm water and hang it up to dry. If it's soiled, flush as much as you can down the toilet and put the diaper in a pail of water with some Clorox (1/2 cup?) in it. The Clorox kills germs and keeps the diaper as white as new, the bucket never smells, and when you have several you can wash them in the washing machine with the other laundry. And perhaps best of all, the baby never gets diaper rash from such clean (and also detergent-free) diapers.
-- Janet Mezgolits
I chose to go with cloth diapers when I was pregnant with my oldest, now 3. This was much to the disappointment of both my husband and my mother. I now have three children under 3, and my husband was swayed a long time ago. Cloth diapers of today are not the cloth diapers of 30 and 40 years ago. I have found them as easy to use as disposables. I initially went with them for environmental reasons, but am now glad that we chose them for financial ones as well. Cloth diapers are a big investment up front. I would say that I have spent around $750 for the various sizes from birth to potty-training. A conservative estimate says that parents will spend $1500 in disposable diapers to diaper just one child from birth to potty training. Multiply that by as many children as there are in any given family. I spent half that for my first child and none for the 2 after that. In my years of cloth diapering, I have come across numerous articles on the hazards of disposables. I personally cannot justify that volume of waste going into our landfills. An article in Mothering Magazine stated that the U.S. would have no dependence on foreign oil whatsoever if everyone in the U.S. used cloth diapers. More petroleum goes into the production of disposable diapers in one year in the U.S. than ever goes into fueling our vehicles in one year.
From a practical perspective, my babies have only gotten diaper rash when wearing disposables on vacation. In addition, they potty-trained earlier than their peers in disposables. I have come to truly despise disposable diapers.
There are literally a million websites where you can purchase a variety of cloth diapers, and it's easy to get overwhelmed. A good place to start is diaperpin.com. Many of my friends say they want to cloth diaper, but...I'm here to say if I can do it, so can you. I LOVE cloth diapers!
I wash my own, but another good route to investigate is a diaper service.
I know I've gone on here, but I really would like to see this country return to cloth diapering. It would leave a much better world for the babies currently wearing the diapers.
-- Mindy Kreml, ElginCopyright © 2015, CT Now