Monthly Archives: August 2012

Laundry Line Savings: Money, Carbon, Planet.
Earth from space, 2015, courtesy NASA

We’ve talked in this space about the beauty and simplicity of drying clothes on a laundry line, rather than in a gas or electric clothes drying machine. On one hand there’s the elegance of carrying on an old-world tradition, still popular in much of the world (if often forgotten in the US); on the other, there’s the innate satisfaction that comes from adopting a practice that’s not only frugal, but also good for Mother Earth. 

Let’s look at the numbers. Most homes and apartments already have a gas or electric dryer in them, so the purchase cost is often overlooked in many cost comparisons. But it’s there, nonetheless: consider you’ll pay between $500-$1,600 per unit, depending on the bells and whistles of a particular model. Most manufacturers admit you can expect to need a new clothes dryer about every ten years, so if you spread out the cost you can estimate between $50 and $160 per year in purchase price. 
money

Operating costs vary depending on the local cost of your electricity or gas, but if you do about one load per day, a good estimate is about 15 to 20 cents daily for a gas dryer, and 30 to 40 cents for an electric one. That’s between $55 and $146 per year. So depending upon the kind of dryer you buy and your energy costs, drying on a line can save you between $105 and $306 each and every year. 

What’s more, consider the carbon footprint; the electricity required to dry each load also represents about 5 pounds of CO2 — 1,800 pounds annually. Even drying half your clothes on a line essentially keeps 900 pounds of CO2 from the air — surely a worthy goal! — as well as saving the money as outlined above.

Save money, lower your carbon footprint, and save the planet? Seems like a good deal, right? For more information about clothes drying, contact us!

Posted by Donald Schmit August 29, 2012 at 4:03 PM under Alternative Energy Environment Home Living Tips
No Back Yard? Here Are Some Perfect Solutions

The concept of line drying gives a mental picture of clothes waving outside on a sunny day.  If you don’t have a backyard, whether you live in an apartment, a small condo, or even a house with an HOA rule against outside clothes lines, you may be thinking you have no options for line drying your clothes.  The good news is, there are many options for drying your clothes.  No matter your situation, we’ve got some great solutions.  Here are 5 great options to suit your needs.

  1. Drying racks provide a great alternative, as they fold away when they’re not in use, providing an open area for everyday activities.  While there are some easy to use free standing racks, if you’re able to put a couple of holes in your wall, the QuikCloset Fold Away Clothes Dryer allows you to fold the unit up against the wall, making it super simple to place it out of the way.  It is also weather resistant, so it’s perfect for a balcony or a porch if you prefer drying your clothes outside.
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  3. Retractable clothes lines allow you to place your line virutally anywhere, as they are simply a very small wall mounted unit.  To use, you simply pull the strings and hang somewhere on the other side of the room.  You can purchase one line, like they have in some hotels for hanging bathing suits or wet towels over your tubs; or you can purchase units with up to five lines which allow you to dry an entire load.
  4. Swiss Made Stewimat 5-Line Retractable Clothesline

  5. Perhaps you like the umbrella style of drying rack, but you don’t have the soil to stick it in, or the space.  You can have the same features of the umbrella style in a wall mounted unit with the Brabantia Wallfix Rotary Clothes Dryer.
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  7. Maybe wall mounting isn’t for you.  The perfect fit might be a Honey Can Do Steel Gull Wing Clothes Airer.  Folds away for easy storage, it is slim, and has a very durable white paint finish, so it matches virtually any decor without staining your clothes.
  8. The Steel Gull Wing Clothes Airer is a rack that folds for storage

  9. For true drying capacity, you’ll want to consider the Stacker Gismo Ceiling Clothes Airer.  This one installs in your ceiling and has two layers, which frees up space while giving you ultimate capacity.  This clothes airer is perfect for the family, large and small.  It’s capable of holding up to 99 pounds, so there’s no need to worry about over loading it.

The Stacker Gismo Ceiling Clothes Airer is cast iron and wood
For more solutions to fit your unique needs, please contact us today!

Posted by Toby Dimmitt August 25, 2012 at 9:06 PM under Clotheslines and Laundry News and Events
An Outdoor Clothes Line Brings Benefits And Savings

brandenburg-50492_640Did you know that there are real benefits associated with drying your clothes on an outdoor clothesline?  Not only will you be able to have amazing smelling clothes but your clothes will last longer and save you money over time.  Line drying your clothes out in the fresh air and sunshine will ensure your clothes smell better then any scented laundry product on the market.  Of course, many of us live in small spaces without backyards so it is good to know that there are alternatives that will still mean savings for you.

Did you ever look at your lint trap on your dryer and wonder if you could make a sweater with that?  If the clothes were line dried you would never have to clean the lint trap again.  Have you had the experience of shredded unmentionables that were snagged on someone’s velcro? Line drying would mean an end to that!  The sun also naturally whitens clothes so you can give up caustic bleaching products.  You will not need to buy dryer sheets but you might still like a fabric softener added to the wash.  Just be sure to get the unscented brand if you will be drying in the sun.

When we think about the appliances that gobble the most electricity in our homes we always think of the dryer.  The heating element, the turning of the drum and, isn’t that prong for a “special” voltage?  Does that cost more?  By leaving the dryer off or set to cool we are also doing some of our part to reduce our carbon footprint.

Heavy duty wire clothesline and pulleys kitIt is important to invest in a high-quality clothesline, especially for outdoor use due to accelerated decomposition from exposure to the elements.  Your outdoor line needs to be able to be pulled taut but not be stretched too much when all the clothes are hung.  An indoor line will need to fit a specific space so size will be your main consideration.

If you are thinking about switching off the dryer, please contact us and we will be happy to help you solve your clothesline needs.  After all, it’s what we do.

Posted by Tobin Dimmitt August 23, 2012 at 9:07 AM under Clotheslines and Laundry
Cloth Diaper Laundry Basics

thirsties-diapers.jpg.644x0_q100_crop-smartPerhaps you’re just thinking about cloth diapering for financial or green reasons, but you’re not sure about how to wash your cloth diapers.  Or perhaps you’re in the midst of cloth diaper baby land, and you’re looking for better ways to thoroughly wash your diapers.  Either way, here are some basic tips to keeping your cloth diapers clean and smelling fresh.

  • Use Charlie’s Soap Detergent. This detergent is one of the best laundry soaps for cloth diapers as it contains no enzymes, no brighteners, no dyes, no fragrances, and no softeners—all of which can mean death to an otherwise perfect cloth diaper. You’ll want to wash once with the detergent on a cold cycle, and then once without detergent on a hot cycle. 
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  • Preserve your diapers using a laundry rack.  There are many varieties to choose from, but the concept is the same.  One of the most common cloth diaper frustrations is having the elastic wear out.  Replacing the elastic isn’t costly, but it is time consuming and if you make a mistake, you might ruin an entire diaper.  Such mistakes can be costly as cloth diapers average $18 per diaper, or more depending on your brand.
  • Dry your diapers outside.  The sun provides UV rays which act as a natural disinfectant as well as a natural bleach, getting out those tough stains.  Place your diapers color side down, leaving the inside portion of the diaper face up.  There is no need to use a pin with your diapers unless it is really windy outside.  Usually you can simply fold your diapers upside down on the clothes line, exposing the inner portion, to allow for the most efficient drying.
  • Consider investing in a portable washing machine.  The WonderWash will save water and time as it is designed for smaller loads.  Perfect for the cloth diapering parent, it allows you to wash your diapers daily to prevent them from becoming built up with the ammonia odor.  In addition, cloth diapers will pill less and decrease wear on the velcro and elastic when washed in smaller loads.
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  • If line drying leaves your diapers more rough than your child likes, you can try adding just 1/2 cup of vinegar to your wash cycle.  The vinegar, which also helps to alleviate smells, will help your diapers feel softer after they are line dried.  In addition, if you dry them in the early morning or late in the afternoon when the sun isn’t directly shining overhead, they will dry softer.

Taking good care of your cloth diapers will extend their use, and ensure they are clean and healthy for your child.  If you’re unsure which clothes line would be best for you and your cloth diapering needs, please contact us today for all your options!

Posted by Tobin Dimmitt August 16, 2012 at 10:26 AM under Home Living Tips
Eco Friendly Products: Clothes Lines and More

Increasingly we are hearing about more and more ways to become eco friendly.  Commercials tout the green benefits of cars, appliances, and even food packaging.  Making a ton of changes all at once can be overwhelming, but making those changes one at a time makes the process of becoming more green and environmentally friendly a lot more accomodating.  Here are some simple ways to go green with one simple category, your laundry:

  • Invest in a clothes line.  Obviously this option allows you to save money and the environment by not using your dryer, but in addition, using a clothes line to dry your clothes will prevent wear and tear on your clothes, which allows them to last longer.  It also prevents you from needing additional chemical laden products like dryer sheets, since line drying your clothes naturally prevents static cling and wrinkles. 

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  • Consider a portable washer, like the WonderWash.  This little appliance is small, convenient, and it uses less water than handwashing, so it’s the perfect companion for someone who has frequent small loads.  Instead of using a traditional sized washer, utilize this machine and save some water.
  • Line dry your clothes year round with The Laundry Dome.  While this product itself isn’t inherently eco friendly, it allows for you to have the benefits of line drying no matter the weather.  Many people line dry in the summer, but they feel defeated in the winter when it gets cold, so they end up using their dryer.  This prevents you from needing to even think about the weather so you’ll be able to dry your clothes any day, any time.
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  • Find a long lasting clothespin.  Traditional wooden pins have the benefit of being made of wood or eco friendly bamboo, a rust free metal component, and will last you for years.  While Moerman Soft Grip XL Premium European Clothespins is made of plastic, they will last you a long time, which will allow you to not have to purchase replacements as often.  In addition, these clothespins prevent denting your clothes, which will not only keep your clothes looking nice, but will also prevent the fibers from being stretched.
  • Utilize line drying for all your clothes, including sweaters, by using the Whitney Sweater Air Dryer Clothes Rack.  This rack allows you to air dry even your most fragile sweaters.  It will prevent pilling of the sweater fabric, and stretching and pulling, leaving your sweaters looking nicer and lasting longer.

Going green doesn’t have to be a long and complicated process, in fact, taking steps to make your life more eco friendly can by wonderfully liberating as you uncomplicate your life.  For more product ideas, please contact us today!

Posted by Tobin Dimmitt August 14, 2012 at 1:35 PM under Environment News and Events
How Green Is Your Laundry?

Laundry SetToday our focus continues to turn toward “green” solutions when trying to lessen our day-to-day carbon footprint.  We are constantly on the look out for way to save money while also reducing our impact on our fragile environment. When examining our home, the laundry rack room is a great place to start.

We have searched the internet and found some suggestions that will help you achieve those goals.

  • Don’t Overuse Detergent

Be sure and read your labels carefully because most detergents today have been concentrated so you do not need to use as much to get your clothes clean.  Some detergents are also available in single-use versions.  You might want to have another option, for smaller loads, on hand.  Both offer less packaging and lower water usage in manufacturing.  Follow directions to the letter to insure the best results and you will also stretch your dollar.

    eco friendly
  • Recycle!

Most laundry product packaging is recyclable and considering the waste generated, recycling is a smart choice.  The more we recycle, the less plastic that ends up in the landfill.  Check with your local recycler to find out how to prepare this plastic, ie: rinse the bottle of all soap, separate different plastics such as the bottle and the lid, etc.

  • Consider “Green” Dry Cleaning

A recent Wall St. Journal online article researched the new “green” dry cleaners that are popping up.  Is it really possible for dry cleaning to be environmentally friendly?  Apparently there are differences in how each operation (or franchise) practices green dry cleaning but, with some research, you should be able to find a cleaner who is doing all they can to protect the environment while still providing a high level of service. Some trial and error may be necessary.  One main concern would be with the use of certain chemicals such as “perc” (perchloroethylene), which is a hazardous air pollutant and possible human carcinogen.  Most cleaners are moving away from the use of this chemical, but check first.

These are just a few of the many ideas we found and more are being shared every day.  We pride ourselves in keeping up with the latest “green” practices in our industry.  Please contact us if you would like to learn more.

Posted by Tobin Dimmitt August 11, 2012 at 7:24 PM under Environment Home Living Tips
Staying Clean Around Campus: Laundry Tips for College Students

A lot of teenagers are packing up and moving out in the upcoming weeks, and their anxious families are wishing them well as they leave the nest and head off to college. With this new phase of a teen’s life comes a lot of new freedoms and responsibilities — including doing their own laundry, most likely for the first time.

The American Cleaning Institute has a web site full of advice that an incoming freshman should consider in order to keep their workspaces and themselves clean. They also suggest students “get personal” when it comes to the laundry room. Here are some selected tips:

  • Wash bed sheets at least every two weeks, more if you sweat a lot at night.
  • Wash underwear and socks after each wearing. Same goes for bathiing suits, T-shirts, tank tops and camisoles.
  • Bath towels should be hung out to dry between uses. [There are a lot of indoor clothes drying rack models perfect for a dorm room.] They should be washed after three or four normal uses — but more frequently if you do sports.
  • Bras can be worn up to three times between washes — but give your bra a rest day between wearings so it can regain its shape.
  • Jeans can be worn three times between washings, unless they’re obviously dirty.
  • Clean stained clothing as soon as possible. A prompt cleaning will extend the garment’s usefullness and is more environmentally-friendly than having to replace the item.

And most importantly, if you don’t know where the local washing machine is, find it!

Contact us for more ideas and advice when it comes to laundry and laundry products.

Posted by Donald Schmit August 10, 2012 at 12:47 PM under Home Living Tips