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Lessen Your Laundry Load

February 2, 2009


The Laundry SNIFFER is On Duty!, originally uploaded by Joe Frank.

How much laundry do you do each week or month? I would say we average 1 load a week although we’ll sometimes wait and do all the laundry for the month in a single day. I thought this was close to the average for two people but now I wonder…

I was reading this article about the average amount of laundry for a family of two.

These two paragraphs in particular stuck out:

“2. How many clothes does an average person wear in a seven day period?

Obviously, this number varies based on the person. However, I was curious about how much clothing I dirty in a week. So, I abandoned my normal twice-weekly washing routine and weighed all of my dirty clothes at the end of the week. Turns out, I wore 16 pounds of clothing last week. My husband’s clothing came in at 17.5 pounds. Honestly, I was blown away that we dirty so much clothing in a single week. But, since we both started working out every day in 2009, we now dirty at least two sets of clothes a day. Between the two of us, we had three loads of clothing in a week (well, actually four because I had a delicates load).

3. How many towels and sheets does an average person go through in a seven day period?

Again, this number will vary based on personal preference. In our house, my husband and I combined go through 1 set of queen sheets, six washcloths, two kitchen towels, four bath towels, and two hand towels per week. This turns out to be less than 12 pounds, but unfortunately all of it won’t physically fit in a single load in our washing machine. So, the sheets get their own load and the towels get another. If you’re keeping track, this means that our family of two generates five or six loads of laundry most weeks.”

Four loads a week on clothes alone! Bleck, I dislike doing laundry so no way would I want to spend that much time on laundry every week. J. and I will wear almost all our clothes multiple times before washing. I’ll even rewear work out clothes as long as they were aired out and not balled up in a gym bag or locker. Honestly, if clothes aren’t dirty or smelly why wash them? I can wear my work clothes 4 or 5 times because I take them off as soon as I get home.

The linen is a bit different. We’ll use our towels and washcloths for a week or two and change our sheets every couple weeks. We have a pretty large supply of dish towels so while we may dirty two towels a week we don’t need to wash them every week. We don’t use hand towels but cloth napkins will get washed every couple weeks (again we have a largish supply for the two of us).

Not only is that a lot of time per week (2 hours per load if your using a dryer times 6 loads is 12 hours) but it’s a lot of water, a lot of electricity and or gas, and finally a lot of detergent. Setting aside dirty work out clothes if you wore each outfit twice before washing you could almost cut all that in half. You’d save yourself a lot of money and personal time. You could also air dry your clothes, even one or two loads could start to make a difference. And honestly your delicates would be better off air dried anyway. Finally try using a homemade detergent such as borax, washing soda and grated soap and you’ll save even more money and keep some plastic out of a landfill.

So what do you think? Is 5-6 even average for two people? How much do you generate?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. February 2, 2009 1:33 pm

    We average 2 loads a week and that includes towels & all the other things. We usually do 1 load of clothes each week and one load of other things (like sheets, rags, etc). We both work from home though, so we don’t have to dirty up too many clothes. We also try to keep all of our clothes in the same color range so that we only have to wash 1 large load of darks instead of 2 smaller loads of darks & lights.

  2. February 2, 2009 6:45 pm

    Like Chiot’s we do two loads per week, DH wears cotton work clothes, so we can get by with lights and darks. If our clothes are really dirty, I reset the cycle to agitate twice, and that seems to do the job. We wear our clothes multiple times too, to cut down on unnecessary washings.

    We can air dry most of our clothes too, with the exception on his chambray work shirts, which I do dry in the dryer.

    Still, if I could get away with doing less laundry, I would!

    I have been buying a laundry soap, called BioKleen and it only takes a small amount to clean even our dirtiest clothes. I don’t know if it is available in your area though…
    http://biokleenhome.com/products/household/laundry

  3. Red Fern permalink
    February 3, 2009 12:11 am

    The scent of laundry must be in the air… I just commented on another blog that I’m readying myself to purchase a little Wonder Washer, the small, tank-style, non-electric pressurized washer, and an electric spin dryer. The cost for those two appliances will be just over $200 and we should re-coup the cost in about 6 mos. by not using the laundry. (We live in an apartment where there are no washer/dryer hook-ups.)

    My husband and I both work from home and virtually have uniforms (which can be worn several times between washings) for daily wear, so we don’t generate much laundry beyond linens, towels and undergarments. I do the wash every two weeks, usually 3 loads, or 4 if we’ve had guests and I have two sets of linens to do. It’s usually linens & lights, darks, and towels.

  4. knutty knitter permalink
    February 3, 2009 2:44 am

    Two loads a week is average round here and there are 4 of us. Every week one of us gets clean bedding. One towel a week each unless we went to the beach or something. Two or three hand towels and a collection of flannels from the kitchen. Regular undies but outer wear only as necessary. Wipes from the toilet and thats about it.

    I don’t own a dryer (but thats normal round here) and I use about a third of the recommended soap powder.

    viv in nz

  5. February 3, 2009 10:45 am

    We do between 3-5 loads a week for a family of four.

  6. February 3, 2009 7:43 pm

    My husband and I generate about 3 loads a week, but one week a month it’s four. He works outside and has uniforms. These can’t be worn twice as they are VERY disgusting every day. And now that it’s cold, he’s in an unheated warehouse half the day so he wears layers. Plus, I work outside the home. Even though I change as soon as I get home and wear things multiple times before washing, it still adds up. I wish I could get it down to two loads. Congratulations to those of you that do.

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