Make laundry a breeze

Make laundry a breeze

August can feel like the surface of the sun, which is perfect for solar ovens but not so great for us primates. Heat advisories bring on the lazy days of summer and make it seem impossible to keep up with a hectic life, let alone muster up the extra energy to create a better world. So why not pick something that already needs to get done, and alter the way we do it just enough to help the environment a little?

Like the tomatoes at this time of year, there are many low-hanging fruits for making a difference. You might buy a fair trade, organic or local product while grocery shopping (if the price isn’t an obstacle). Maybe you’d enjoy a break from cooking over a hot stove and decide to try a new vegan salad instead. Or maybe you want to focus on a chore you dislike, and make it more fun and sustainable simultaneously.

This looks different for everybody. Take laundry, for instance. Some people find that it’s more fun to hang clothes out to dry on a clothesline, especially if they would otherwise need to go to a laundromat. The emissions from driving to the laundromat as well as the hassle both count against that errand.

In Europe, only about half of all households even own a clothes dryer, compared to the majority of homes in the United States. So if it feels a little odd to hang your laundry out to dry for the first time, remember you’re not alone – in some places, it’s the norm. Green America explains that there are several good reasons to reduce or stop using the dryer.

“Air-drying your clothes can reduce the average household’s carbon footprint by a whopping 2,400 pounds a year.” Clotheslines also save money. The electricity bill increases when the energy-hungry dryer is used. A benefit of clotheslines is that items dry wrinkle-free and you don’t need to fold them immediately after waiting around for the dryer to finish. (Note: clothing must be hung up in the right way to get them dry without wrinkles or clothespin marks, and this may take practice).

Using a dryer instead of free wind also means that clothing is broken down faster, and needs to be replaced sooner. That’s why dryer vents get clogged with lint from fibers being worn out as they tumble around. This creates a fire hazard, and Green America notes that 15,000 house fires are caused by dryers every year.

Spending time outside while doing something productive can be a guiltless way to take a break from work and screen time. If the weather is bad, you can use a floor rack or a hanging one to dry laundry indoors. If that’s not your thing, there is bound to be something small in your daily routine that is unavoidable and can be tweaked to make a difference. Once you discover what it is, you may even find yourself having more fun!


Amanda Bancroft

Amanda Bancroft is a writer, artist, and naturalist living in an off-grid tiny house on Kessler Mountain. She and her husband Ryan blog about their adventures and offer tips to those wanting to make a difference at

Categories: Making Ripples