And While We’re on Topic…

Just because you can’t hang your clothes up to dry doesn’t mean you can’t still save money and the planet with your laundry practices.  No, I’m not talking about energy star rated appliances.  I mean, sure, they work, but not everybody has one, or wants to plunk down that kind of coin for one; I certainly don’t.  So what can one do?

For starters, you can combine loads, or wash only when needed, but even that isn’t what I’m talking about.  I’m actually talking about making sure your water level selection is correct, and that you use the proper amount of soap.  My washer has four settings: small, medium, large, and super, and I really do adjust the water level to the load.  Since I do laundry once a week, my loads vary from medium to super.  Just fill the washer without your load, and see how full it gets on each setting.  By adjusting the water level, I am saving water – lots of water.  But there is a catch, the soap.

You see, laundry soap can get you even if you never adjust your water level.  Most washers today are made to be at least somewhat efficient, and use less water than their predecessors.  Problem is, that many of our detergent bottles, haven’t really adjusted their measuring caps.  You think thats not such a big deal?  But not only are you wasting soap and money, but too much soap will gum up your machine, causing to no longer work.  Bet I’ve gotten your attention now.  You can test your soap usage with a simple, although a bit wasteful, test.  Simply throw a few clean towels into the washer, without any soap.  If you still see suds, then you’ve got soap left in your towels and left in your machine.  I’ve read reports where people had to send their towels through eight times to get them de-sudded.  With my soap cap, I just estimate how much soap I need.  If I’m using the “medium” load setting, then I fill the cap about 1/4 full.  If I’m doing “super,” then I fill it just about to the top, and rinse the cap out.  Sure, it’s not an exact science, but it does work.  You will just have to play around with your machine.

And don’t think this only applies to your washer.  Unfortunately, I found out the hard way that the dispenser cups on my dishwasher are way too big.  The dishes have been crusty with a calcium like residue for months, and only boiking water or CLR could get it off.  After having the repair guy come out, and replace the pump sump, I have been informed that I should use only one tablespoon of detergent.  My poor dishwasher was clogged with soap, a lot of soap.  Now I have to boil all my dishes to return them to their pre-soaped state.

Well, now we all know!  Good thing you read this blog, huh.

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3 Comments

Filed under Musings, Save my Wallet, Save the Earth

3 responses to “And While We’re on Topic…

  1. caedwin

    Well, you (or rather your dishwasher) have now verified what I recently read online: that you only need 1 tablespoon of DW detergent to get your dishes clean. Who knew too much would ruin your machine?!? I was cutting down on the amount of detergent I used in my machine after I read the article; but now I will let my husband know as well. Thanks for the tip!

  2. caedwin

    and here’s another interesting article on laundry detergent AND a recipe for making your own as well:
    http://finance.yahoo.com/family-home/article/109349/do-it-yourself-laundry-detergent

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