Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Many times during my life, I haven’t owned a dryer.  Right now, I’m glad I do.  Working full time, with 4 adults and a toddler in the house, it makes my life easier.  But off and on through-out my life I’ve used a handy-dandy solar powered dryer, a.k.a a clothesline.  I consider this no big deal, when I have time to line-dry my clothing I actually prefer to do so.  Many weekends I hang out my sheets and blankets, and I have a rack in my hallway where I always hang my work clothing to dry.  I don’t have a lot of disposable income to constantly replace my wardrobe, so I take good care of it.  What do you think all that lint is?  It’s bits of your clothing!  That you wad up and throw away every week!  I’m hard to fit anyway, so when I find nice work outfits that look good and feel good, I want to keep them as long as possible.  Line drying extends their life and that makes me, and my savings account, happy.   

I’ve never understood people’s aversion to doing laundry.  So many of my friends and acquaintances say they dislike doing laundry.  I won’t say I enjoy it, but I rarely consider it drudgery, a chore I have to force myself to do.  Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of chores I despise, but laundry is not one of them.  You throw some stuff into the washer, add detergent and other accoutrements, and turn it on.  Then walk away.  You come back later and they’re clean, so you put them in a dryer.  Maybe add a dryer sheet, then turn it on.  Walk away.  It’s not like we have to haul them down to the river and beat them on rocks.  We have a machine to do the work for us.  Did you get that, people?  We have a MACHINE.  To do the work FOR US.  How blessed are we?

And from what I’ve read, most of the things we do to get our laundry “right” are actually unnecessary and even counterproductive.  Studies have shown that using too much detergent breaks down the fibers faster and leaves residue in the fabric, which in turn attracts grime more quickly.  Fabric softeners leave a film on fibers to make them feel soft but in reality, they reduce absorption.  Want a nice soft, fluffy towel?  It might feel nice after using softener and running it thru the dryer but it’ll wear out more quickly and be less absorbent.

 Nature provides a fabric softener that has no side effects.  Add vinegar to your rinse cycle, it will help soften and deodorize fabrics.  But vinegar stinks, you say!  Once it dries, you won’t notice a smell.  No vinegar smell, and also no chemical smell that softener always leaves behind.  It’s also hypoallergenic.  I’ve never heard of anyone who is allergic to vinegar.  They might exist, but I’ve never heard of them.  However, stories of people with chemical sensitivities are common.  You hear it on the news, on the internet, people you might speak to on the street.  Some are mild, some are life-threatening.  I have first-hand experience in this area, since I have a comparatively mild chemical sensitivity.  Certain household cleaners and most perfumes and colognes affect my breathing.  Some make me feel a mild choking sensation.  Others make me break out an asthma inhaler, praying I will live long enough to get to fresh air.  Don’t believe me?  Ask my mother about the Pine Sol incident!  Yes, I’ve forgiven her.  She’s my mother, after all.

What does all this have to do with me saving money?  Maybe nothing.  I already use a concentrated all natural detergent bought in bulk and I don’t use softener, so I can’t get much cheaper on the washing of clothes unless I start making my own detergent, which I’ve done in the past.  And I’ve already said I appreciate the dryer being there for me in my current situation.  But it never hurts to re-evaluate what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and if what you’re doing still fits your current needs.  I might get so into the habit of putting my clothes in the dryer that if my circumstances changed, I’d keep doing it even if I had time to line-dry.  It might not be a huge savings but those small amounts do add up, so it’s a good idea to stop and consider, from time to time, if your current methods are working for you.  This applies in ALL areas of your life, not just laundry!

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