Spring is finally here in Colorado! The flowering trees decorate the streets in creams and mauves, the leaves on the trees are getting a little bigger and a little greener every day, and the lawn almost needs to be mowed. The warmer weather means that the kids and I are spending more and more time in our backyard and this is a blessing since we have a small house. I’d much prefer to have the kids bouncing on the trampoline than the couch and swinging on the rope swing rather than from the chandelier!
What else does spring bring? Weather warm enough to start drying some of my laundry outdoors–including my Thirsties Cloth Diapers! Though I’ve asked my husband several times (ahem–hint, hint) he’s yet to get around to putting up a clothes line for me. So instead, I end up draping clothes and sheets over the play structure, the wood pile and on the backs of the lounge chairs. But my favorite place to dry my Thirsties? In the hammock. The rope hammock makes the perfect place to spread out my diapers and wipes and let them dry evenly on both sides. I’ve been turning my All-In-Ones inside out at first and then turning them right side out again after a while. I also do this with my Duo Fab Fitteds and am sure to put the stained ones in the most direct sunlight.
Hanging clothes out to dry IS a bit more work than transferring them directly to the dryer and pushing a button, but as cloth diapering moms, we’re already committed to doing a little extra work for the good of the environment and our wallets, right? So how much money can we save by line-drying our laundry? Well, let’s see…by doing a quick online search I found a very cool website that can tell you approximately how much money you save with each load of clothes that you don’t put into the dryer. You’ll need to look at your electricity bill and find out how much you pay per kWh (kilowatt hour “a unit of energy equal to 1000 watts”).
When I put my Thirsties in the dryer, I usually have to dry my diapers for almost an hour. This is because my current stash is made up completely of Duo Fab FItteds and AIOs. My size one stash was made up of half Duo Fab Fitteds and half Duo Diapers. The Duos dried much more quickly. To dry about 16 diaper or half my stash, it takes about an hour in my dryer. To help them dry more quickly I turn them inside out and make sure to unsnap the adjustable snap risers on the front. When I put my diapers outside to dry, I also turn them inside out.
I do an average of 11 loads of laundry a week–8 loads of clothes, sheets and towels and two to three loads of cloth diapers. Wow, that seems like a lot and I don’t even wash my husband’s work clothes–they go to the dry cleaners! I found out how much we pay in our city for kWH (price per kilowatt) and plugged it in to the calculator on the website. Then I plugged in the average number of loads of laundry I do per week and how long my average drying time is. Clothes and towels take 40 minutes and diapers take an hour. This means that every time I hang a load of clothes, sheets or towels, I am saving 32 cents a load. Every time I hang a load of cloth diapers, I save about 48 cents a load. Just line drying my diapers would save me $76 a year. Line drying all of my clothes would save me approximately $231 dollars a year. This means a savings of $20 a month.
Now that I’ve learned all of this–and I am glad I have, I have to say $20 a month doesn’t seem like much money to me. But there are other reasons that line drying is a good thing to do–it’s gentler on your clothes and cloth diapers and it reduces your carbon footprint. Combine that with the hundreds of diapers that aren’t getting thrown in the landfill and I feel like it makes a small difference. I can’t change the world alone but if more and more others start making their own small differences, we can have an impact on our planet.