Condo Blues: Three Basket Laundry Method Saves Time, Money, and Energy

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Three Basket Laundry Method Saves Time, Money, and Energy

When I first met Husband, he made laundry a one time only task by shoving everything he owned into one load in the washing machine – whites, darks, reds, every thing! Then he ran the washer on the hottest setting possible. What didn’t shrink, faded and all of his white t-shirts were gray

Husband has been banned from doing laundry.

For Husband separating your dirty clothes into whites, darks, and brightly colored loads mystifies him. He thinks that we would be doing several little loads of laundry a week instead of full loads of laundry that not only save time but also save energy.

That’s when I created the Three Laundry Hamper Method. We have three identical laundry hampers in our closet. Each hamper has a label.

  • White Clothes – All dirty white items should be deposited here for washing.
  • Dark and Red Clothes – All dirty dark and red items should be deposited here for washing.
  • Brightly Colored Clothes - All dirty brightly colored items should be deposited here for washing.

Each family member is responsible for putting his or her dirty items in the appropriate hamper. If I had small children, I’d color code the tags or draw pictures of the items so they can identify what goes where.

The three laundry baskets allow me to see when a hamper will make a full load of laundry.  To save even more electricity I wash all of my clothes in cold water. According to Treehugger

“Washing every load on the hot/warm cycle (in a top loading machine and an electric water heater) for a year is equivalent to burning about 182 gallons of gasoline in a car; in an average (19.8 miles per gallon) car, that'll get you around 3595 miles. So, wash in hot/warm, or drive almost 3600 miles -- same difference”

I’ve been washing in cold for years and my clothes get just as clean as they did when I used warm and hot water but without the fading! I credit my whites staying white and my bright colors staying bright because I wash them in cold water and add a bit of oxygen bleach when needed.

If you’re worried about killing dust mites or germs on your clothes, pop them in the dryer. A dryer heats your clothes hotter than washing machine water.

I sent A Gift of Green ecard   to my mom as a little reminder about her laundry situation.

You can still pledge and acts of green, which would be helpful since Cisco hasn’t met their goal of one million people completing at least one small act of green. 
What is your laundry tip or woe?

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Disclosure:  Rockfish Interactive, in partnership with  Cisco are compensating me for my considerable time on this project. However, my ideas, words, and opinions are my own and are not influenced by this compensation. See what the other ambassadors have to say about One Million Acts of Green: Crunchy Domestic Goddess, Green Your D├ęcor and Green and Clean Mom.


Kristin - The Goat said...

I remember the days when I had a whole load of red clothes each week or two. I went to the Laundromat because my washer broke and someone stole my whole red load. I was there the whole time, too! Not sure how I missed the thief.

Kristin - The Goat

Anonymous said...

We wash in cold and make our own detergent (Fels Naptha, borax, washing soda) and while it cleans really well, my teens object to the lack of good smelly stuff *ack* I've added essential oils to the mix and it smells good while washing and then is gone once dry. We do not use the dryer - 99% of clothes/towels are hung up to dry; sheets go to the dryer (too big for the racks).

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

Kirby3131 - That's awful! :(

Annette - I make my own detergent too. I've never cared one way or the other about how a detergent smells as long as my clothes come out clean :) Now that I make my own (I use Zote because I can't always find Fels Naptha) everything else seems super smelly. I like my not smelly stuff better now.

Robj98168 said...

Personally, I go down to the creek and bang my clothes on a rock.


Mary said...

Does anyone know if Fels Naptha is
still made with petro chemicals?

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

Mary - I checked the Fels-Naptha web site, here's what's listed for ingredients: "Soap (sodium tallowate*, sodium cocoate* (or) sodium palmate kernelate*, and sodium palmate*), water, talc, cocnut acid*, palm acid*, tallow acid*, PEG-6 methyl ether, glycerin, sorbitol, sodium chloride, pentasodium pentetate and/or tetrasodium etidronate, titatium dioxide, fragrance, Acid Orange (CI 20170), Acid yellow 73 (ci43350)

*contains one or more of these ingredients"

Anonymous said...

Oh Mary - I never thought about checking for petroleum nastiness. Thank you, Condoblues, for posting the ingredients - I know what petrolatum is; unfamiliar with some of the others. =( Makes me sad now.

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

@Mary, @Annette - I'm not sure what all of the ingredients are either but I'm sure our friend Google would have the answers!

Laina L said...

Hi everyone, I've been using soap nuts to wash my laundry for over 2 years now and I'll never go back to detergent. the only problem is that sometimes they leave beige spots on your whites from the spin cycle, but just rinse these off in cold water in the sink before drying and it comes right out. They just smell fresh, too, no chemical odors.

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

@Liana - Do soap nuts work in an HE washing machine? That's what I have and why I make my own laundry detergent.

Anonymous said...

You can make the laundry detergent without the soap and it cleans just as well (borax and washing soda only) or you can substitute another non-petro soap. I use a liquid soap from the health food store (Peppermint smells great!)

Anonymous said...

Hey Ananymous - what proportions do you use?

Lori aka Groovy Green Livin said...

I have been washing in cold water for years-works great. I am like your husband-I just throw in whatever is ready to wash. Sometimes the outcome is not pretty.Love all the ideas for making your own detergent-might have to give it a try. The three basket idea is great. Thanks for the suggestion.

Laina L said...

Lisa, the soap nuts do work in HE machines, that is what I have. They do not make a lot of suds, so are perfect for HE machines. I'll never look back. I do use a tiny bit of liquid detergent (like dish soap) directly on the stain if I have a grease stain, but other wise, have had no problems. Good luck.

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