My friend finds ironing relaxing. I find it a chore, especially in the hot climate of the Middle East. And according to the Consumer Energy Center, operating an electric iron uses one kilowatt hour an hour, almost twice as much as a washing machine. Irons need to be replaced frequently, and they make your home harder to cool in the summer. Fortunately, people dress casually in the Middle East and most people think wrinkles aren’t a big deal. But if creases make you cross, follow these tips to cut down on ironing:
- Choose clothes that require a minimum of care. Dark colors need to be washed less often, and they hide wrinkles. Test fabrics by pinching them to see if they hold a crease. Pick fabrics similar to easy-care items you already own. The label may also give a clue: Clothes with labels that say “Use warm iron” are best avoided.
- Do less laundry. To cut down on washing, drying and ironing, change out of work or dress clothes as soon as you get home. Then hang or fold them. Teach kids to inspect clothes before throwing them in the hamper and to use smocks or aprons.
- Sort dirty clothes by fabric weight as well as color. Button-down shirts wrinkle less when washed separately from cotton knits.
- Place each item loosely into the washing machine. With a front-loader, you can fill to the top, but don’t stuff items in. A top-loader requires more extra space, especially for delicates.
- Use a delicate cycle and cold water whenever possible. Set the spin cycle lower if you can, keeping in mind that the clothes will then take longer to dry. For items that wrinkle a lot, take them out before the spin cycle and drip dry.
- Shake or “snap” each item as you take it out of the machine. Check that legs, sleeves, and collars aren’t caught.
- Hang button-down shirts on a clothes hanger on the shower rod. Hang the rest on a clothesline as soon as you can.
- When hanging clothes, make sure sleeves and collars are in place. To save space on the line, fold tablecloths and sheets in quarters or eighths before hanging. Freshly washed bottom sheets can go directly onto the bed.
- Judicious use of a dryer for only a few minutes can save you ironing, as it removes creases in some fabrics, especially men’s shirts.
- Hang or fold clothes immediately after laundering, and whenever you aren’t wearing them.
More green laundry and clothing tips from Green Prophet:
Hannah Katsman writes a blog on energy-efficient cooking, Cooking Manager.