Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cheap green tip: use (a lot!) less laundry detergent

I've been hanging my clothing to dry for about a year now, indoors when it's cold and wet, and outdoors during those glorious few Northwest months of summer. But I still occasionally dry laundry when some item is needed right away, or we have a big load of towels or jeans.

One of the challenges of air-drying heavy items such as towels and jeans is that they end up hard and stiff. I usually add a half cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle and shake these items out a few times while they're drying, and that helps. However, they still end up a little stiff.

One recommendation I've read is to add less detergent, because part of the stiffness is due to all the soap not completely rinsing out. I was skeptical about that because I already use half the recommended laundry soap detergent whenever I wash.

After my daughter's bubble party, we had all these wet towels that the kids had used to dry off after running through the sprinklers. My original plan was to wash them at home and dry them at the laundromat, but when the day turned out to be gloriously sunny, I switched tactics.

I washed the towels, not with half the scooper cup of detergent, but less than one-fourth, figuring that since the towels had only been used once, they weren't that dirty. I added vinegar to the rinse cycle, and then hung them over chairs on our deck to dry. They didn't end up quite as fluffy as towels dried in the dryer, but still, no stiffness! Once more, I'm a new believer!

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