Sew For a Change – May

Another month has passed, bith in the real world and in Sew For A Change. The focus for May was laundry and I must admit that I wasn’t very committed to this challenge.

  • Estimate the amount of laundry your household produces during a normal month (and make it official), then try to reduce that amount by 20% during this month. This means, if you usually do 10 loads during the month you should try to do only 8 (or less).

Husband and I estimated that we do about 2-3 loads a week, accumulating to about 10 per month. Our loads are usually pretty full and we wear clothes several times before washing them (unless they’re smelly and/or stained). We saw no reward in trying to push this further down. We also have two kids who need their clothes was and while they have clothes to get by, they don’t have enormous amounts (trying to reduce shopping as well leads to having to wash more) and the clothes needs regular washing. We do, however try to fill the machine with what’s in the laundry pile. (Being grumpy, I’m not a big fan of relative goals. We would need to get from 10 to 8 to pass this goal, whereas someone who washes 20 loads needed to get down to 16. Their reduction is larger, but over the course of a year with our ten we’d wash 120 loads and they’d wash 192. Which saves the environment more?)

  • Only wash full loads.

As I mentioned above we try to fully load the machine every time, filling up with sheets, towels or other things in the right colour and temperature. It pained me that I needed to wash an almost empty machine towards the end of the month, but unfortunately it could not be helped. I had washed my judo gi on the weekend, filling up with other whites, but on the Tuesday class I got a lot of blood on it (not mine) and it needed to be washed immediately so the blood didn’t set. And since it was recently washed I had nothing to fill up the load with.

  • Change to a earth friendly detergent – make sure it’s free from phosphates, zeolites and EDTA.

We bought a new machine last summer and with it we got plenty of boxes with detergent, bound to last at least this year out. So we’re sticking to that for now.

  • Do not use fabric softener! If you must use something, use vinegar instead. 

My husband is a softener addict, I don’t use it. Except for my judo gi (that thing is a laundry environmental hazard in itself) because it is so heavy and stiff that it actually hurts to train in it un-softened.

  • Avoid dry cleaning.

I can’t recall using a dry cleaner. Ever.

  • Check the water hardness and make sure you don’t overdose the detergent.

I’m bad at this, I just wing it. We do have pretty hard water where I live and I haven’t been bothered to check it. We have our own well, so I don’t really know how I’d go about testing it. I do think it’s pretty hard (my FIL has said that he need to rinse his shampoo a lot longer at our place than at his home)

  • Avoid using the dryer and instead air dry the laundry inside or outside. Get set up with line and pegs!

The dryer that came with the house broke a few years ago and we haven’t even bothered replacing it, there was no need for us.

Some good things, some bad. We could change to a more environmental friendly detergent, but it would be after using up what we already have. As for dosing we could probably do better but I do think we have quite hard water so I don’t think it would differ much.

Now, let’s get to those numbers:

Ingoing points: 75.125p

Blue fabric:      -4,05 p    (2.7 m of 1.6m wide organic cotton)

Star challenge: 0p

Outgoing: 71.125p

This month it’s focus on food, I probably won’t get the 10 extra points, but I will work on the challenge bits anyway.


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