Five ways to save some money on laundry you might not have considered

I don’t know how it happened, but at some point my daughters started to expect their towels and pajamas to be pre-warmed for them in the dryer every night. So I take their Peppa ...

Tagged: Department of Energy, save energy, clothes dryer

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Five ways to save some money on laundry you might not have considered

Woman reaches in to dryer to retrieve clothes.

I’m pretty sure if the Energy Department knew I was using my clothes dryer to warm Annie’s footsie pajamas before bed, I’d make some sort of watch list.

Key Points

  • The Department of Energy has some new ideas for saving money on each load of laundry.
  • A couple options to save include using dryer balls and switching loads while the dryer is still warm.
  • It’s also a good idea to separate clothes by how heavy they are instead of just by color. Heavier clothes take longer to dry, so you might be using more energy than needed on the light stuff if they’re mixed together. 

I don’t know how it happened, but at some point my daughters started to expect their towels and pajamas to be pre-warmed for them in the dryer every night. So I take their Peppa Pig or Frozen themed flannels out of the drawers each evening, throw them into the dryer, and then present them for use at bedtime. This is then followed by back massages while I sing them personalized original songs highlighting the events of the day. #roughingit.

I know that this miiiiiight be a little extreme. But a recent article at energy.gov got me to thinking about just how much energy I’m wasting every night.

The article highlighted ways to save money on laundry. Some were expected, like wash with cold water, wash full loads, air dry, etc. But there were a few I hadn’t considered before, like these:

  • Use dryer balls. Wool or rubber dryer balls will help separate your clothes and get more air to them, cutting drying time. They can also reduce static so you don’t need dryer sheets. The wool balls are said to absorb some moisture, further cutting drying time.
  • Use the high-speed or extended spin cycle in the washer. This will remove as much moisture as possible before drying, reducing your drying time and the wear on your clothes from the high heat of the dryer.
  • Dry towels and heavier cottons separately from lighter-weight clothes. You’ll spend less time drying the lighter-weight clothes.
  • Switch loads while the dryer is warm. This will allow you to use the remaining heat inside the dryer for the next cycle.
  • Consider a natural gas dryer. Depending on gas and electric rates in your area, a gas dryer could cost less to operate, though it may cost a little more to purchase. Keep in mind a gas dryer does need a dedicated gas line.

I’m pretty sure if the Energy Department knew I was using my clothes dryer to warm Annie’s footsie pajamas before bed, I’d make some sort of watch list. These tips are a good reminder that I need to re-up my energy savings game.

First step: Start to throw the pajamas in at the end of a load of laundry that actually needs some drying.

Second step: Tell the girls that they might have to rough it with room-temperature pajamas from time to time. But don’t worry about them too much – we’ll keep the back massages and serenades in the routine.


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the entire world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned an M.A. in Political Science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the Governor’s Office as a policy analyst and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.

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The crazy new invention that will completely change your life

Breaking news. You can now purchase an Energy-Star-approved clothes dryer.

Wait, ...

Tagged: energy star, clothes dryer, Natural Gas, laundry

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The crazy new invention that will completely change your life

Mystery box

I thought Energy-Star rated all major appliances, but until recently they hadn’t found clothes dryers worthy of their seal of approval.

Key Points

  • Energy Star recently put its seal of approval on clothes dryers.
  • The approved ones use 20 percent less energy than conventional models.
  • Use settings like sensor drying and low heat to save even more energy. 

Breaking news. You can now purchase an Energy-Star-approved clothes dryer.

Wait, doesn’t that already exist? 

Surprising, right? I thought Energy-Star rated all major appliances, but until recently they hadn’t found clothes dryers worthy of their seal of approval.

Thanks to new features like moisture sensors that can turn the dryer off when your clothes are dry, the certified dryers use 20 percent less energy than conventional models. Considering that the average family in the U.S. does 300 loads of laundry a year, those savings can really add up. In my house, we do what must be at least 300 loads a week, so we’re sure to save a lot.

If you want to save even more, here are some tips from Energy Star:

  • Sensor Drying. Use sensor drying, not timed drying. Energy Star dryer models incorporate advanced moisture sensors to help you reduce your dryer’s energy use. This feature ensures that your dryer will automatically shut off when clothes are dry.
  • Low heat setting. Longer drying cycles on a low heat setting use less energy. When you purchase an Energy-Star-certified clothes dryer, look in the informational materials shipped with the product for which cycle was tested for certification and how the dryer’s other cycles or settings may use more or less energy.
  • Consider natural gas. Eighty percent of dryers in the U.S. are electric. If you have the option, consider using a natural gas dryer to save money and reduce your environmental impact.
  • Savings by the pair. An Energy-Star-certified washer/dryer pair will save even more energy and money while doing your laundry. Clothes washers that have earned the Energy Star logo incorporate advanced technology and functionality to get significantly more water out of your clothes in its final spin cycle than a conventional model. This makes it easier for clothing to dry in an Energy-Star-certified dryer using less heat. Less heat means energy savings and reduced wear and tear on your clothes caused by over-drying.

Bonus tip: Make sure to clean your lint filter after each use. The National Fire Protection Association says that the leading cause of washer and dryer fires is a failure to clean them. Plus, it takes longer for your appliance to dry clothes with a full filter, a big waste of energy. I personally love to clean our lint filter. Seeing a solid piece of pink lint laced with glitter makes me smile. #housefullofgirls


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the entire world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned an M.A.in Political Science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the Governor’s Office as a policy analyst, and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.

Did you like this article? Here are some other articles that include: energy star, clothes dryer, Natural Gas, laundry