How many loads of laundry do you do in a week?

| July 22, 2008

After my last post on one year of using homemade laundry detergent, I was lambasted for the amount of water I use for washing clothes.

Mark found my water usage “repulsive,” while Dee Dee couldn’t figure out, ” what are you washing so much of?

As I’ve said over and over again, living green is all about making choices one choice at a time. Part of my journey to green living is learning and incorporating new, greener habits. Converting from a top loading to a front loading washing machine not only cut down on my water usage, increased the laundry load size, but it also is an energy and detergent saver.

After seeing how other people are getting by with only four to six loads of laundry a week (for the life of me I don’t know how they do it), I decided to try an experiment. I’m going to do my best to reduce my laundry loads to four to six per week. I’m going in with an open mind and a closed nose.

I’ll turn my back on the mounting basketball practice and game jerseys. I’ll cover my nose at the football practice gear. I’ll also walk away from the pile of clothes dirtied from the construction job. All of the sweaty running gear will sit in a basket and wait until I’m ready to do the four to six loads. After all, what’s a little stink when you’re trying to live green?Dirty Laundry

Consider this post an open invitation for constructive tips on how to cut back on loads of laundry to a mere four to six times a week. Those four to six loads must incorporate all of the clothes, sheets, towels and any other washable items. I must stress, however, that I’m looking for constructive tips on how to accomplish this. Unfortunately, after viewing a few of yesterday’s posts which did not contribute to the discussion and brought nothing but unnecessary negativity and condemnation, I feel it’s necessary to request constructive and useful tips only.

I’m looking forward to your tips.

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Category: Cleaning, Conservation, laundry, Water

About the Author ()

Felicia is a bit of a tree hugger and likes to share ways to lighten the toxic burden on the environment.

Comments (6)

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  1. Felicia says:

    Jill, your comments are a treasure to read!

    This is totally off topic, but I’m going to say it anyway.

    When I wake up in the morning I check my e-mails to see what comments I have to moderate for my blogs. Usually when I get many comments at one time they’re all spam. When I saw a few comments for the blog I figured “Oh boy, here I go again.”

    Imagine my surprise when I read all of your comments. They are not only informative, humorous, but extremely welcomed.

    Thanks for stopping by. It’s a true pleasure to meet you!

    Felicia

  2. Jill says:

    The one thing that changed my life laundry wise – especially when I still had my teenage daughter at home – was to reduce the number of towels that I owned. I would occassionally find myself facing a Mount Washmore of just towels. Towering over my head as I used my pitons to scale the peaks and reach the towels at the top lest I pull one from below and cause and avalan…
    Oh, never mind the dramatics.
    I threw away. Yes THREW away. At the dump (take that you greenies!). I did not donate or recycle my fiber or turn them into quilt batting for a quilt top I made myself out of old clothes and sewed together with reused dental floss and thread pulled from worn garments. I pitched those suckers and I ENJOYED it! I kept the good, newer towels, and kept enough so that each person in the family had two towels of a color they had selected that was different from everyone else’s. I also kept my husband’s Army towels, and a few yucky ones to clean up dog and other messes. I threw away two garbage bags of towels that were cluttering my home. Towels my mother gave to me when they were 20 years old. Towels we had received for our wedding 18 years previously. Towels so thin you could read a newspaper through them.

    I would wash one towel of each color each week. If you did not pick up your towel off your bedroom floor after your shower and it was still damp the next day and had a funk, too bad for you. You’re not getting a fresh towel until next Monday. Suddenly, Mount Washmore became molehill Washless. Amazing. And sweeeeeeet!

  3. HTG says:

    hmmm…. we’re a family of 3 adults, 6 messy dogs and 2 of us wear scrubs to work. I do about 6 loads of laundy a week, 3 of those are for the dogs.

    My biggest trick is ‘rewearing’… no, not to the point of smelliness… but honestly, about half of what I wear doesn’t really get dirty. When I get home from work, I put on an old t-shirt. That can be reworn the next day, providing I don’t do anything too messy. Pajama’s can be worn for at least a couple days (I mean we don’t get very dirty just sleeping).

    We also use towels to mop up messes rather then paper towels. I find that as long as I can hang or spread them out to dry, they don’t smell.

    To conserve energy on the things I do wash, in my old toploading machine, I wash in cold water, full loads, but not crammed full, becuase then things don’t get clean, and I hang as much as I can out to dry. When I use the dryer, I dry as many loads back to back as possible, since the dryer is already warm and I do it all in the evenings, when power is less in demand (and cheaper).

    Nope, not perfect, but better then some, and most importantly, better then we used to be!

  4. Felicia says:

    Thank you guys!

    Thanks Karen and Dee Dee. I feel a little better. Although, I am truly looking into my number of loads. Let’s face it, doing laundry isn’t a hobby, it’s a necessity, but I’d sure love to do less of it.

    And by the way, Dee Dee, you were gracious in your post yesterday. You’re not the one I was talking about when I got lambasted. There were a few posts that I did not approve because they didn’t add to the conversation at all. As a matter of fact, they were detractions.

  5. On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog. Also, nobody can verify your laundry claims, especially when you’re an anonymous commenter. So I could *claim* I do one load of whites, one load of darks, and one load of everything else, once a week, in my bicycle-powered washing machine that uses a half-liter of rainwater collected from the runoff of our green roof in a barrel made of sustainably-grown bamboo, after which it’s organically filtered for the family’s drinking water – we used to use it to flush our extremely-low-flow toilet but now we compost *all* our waste, donchaknow. Wouldn’t make it so. Or else would leave out the part where everyone I meet can deduce most of the above… from the fug.

    Talk is cheap. Anonymous talk, cheaper yet.

    Seriously, though… we don’t even have the sports/work stuff you’ve got (white-collar geeks, represent!), but ain’t no way we’d get by on four to six loads a week either. At least, not without perpetuating the unwashed-geek stereotype.

    And in regards the dingey whites: I’ve noticed the same thing. I believe the problem is I’m not drying our whites in sunlight. I have sort of a problem with acting on this belief, however, considering the nature of most of the whites in question. Maybe if we put up a privacy fence.

  6. deedee says:

    not lambasting, just curious. and i think you answered the question. construction jobs make more laundry than computer programming. basketball and football make more laundry than running. pretty straightforward that there is just more for you to wash because of your family’s activities. my sister in law has 4 active kids between 5 and 13 and her washer is going constantly.

    you can still probably cut down on the number of loads, or do partial loads, but letting soggy dirty sweaty stuff fester for days doesn’t seem like it will help much. it doesn’t cut down on the amount you have to wash, it just changes when you wash it, with an added bonus grossness for your trouble. i’d say if you make sure you are only washing stuff that needs it (sounds like you are, but do enlist the help of the fam to make sure only the actually dirty stuff hits the hamper) and keeping an appropriate water level, and air drying what you should/can (synthetics!) you’re probably about as green as you’re going to get until everybody switches to chess for recreation.

    good luck!
    dd