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Saving Water & Energy + a Little Spring Cleaning

Happy Spring!

Is this scenario familiar to you? You put two socks into the washer and dryer and get only one back? As you can see below, our buddy system doesn’t seem to be working!

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A few years ago, we replaced all our kitchen appliances with ENERGY STAR™ appliances from IKEA and are reaping the benefits of energy savings. However, we still have a set of washing machines that my grandmother purchased for me over 20 years ago when I was single. Given the sentimental value, and the fact that they’re still going strong, I don’t have the heart to replace them yet. Unfortunately, they are energy guzzlers; my 1990s electric clothes dryer, for instance, use at least 17 percent more energy than those produced today. Since air drying our laundry will save on energy costs, we couldn’t wait to try our MULIG drying rack.

When we renovated our basement and built a brand new laundry room, it gave us the perfect space to set up our MULIG drying rack so we could lay our clothing out to dry. It’s even great for small items like socks!

But it’s just as great for larger things like sheets, duvet covers and our KARLSTAD sofa slipcover (note that we forgot to extend the MULIG fully before we snapped the picture below, but it really does accommodate larger items!).

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The best thing about the MULIG is that it folds neatly away until its needed again.We have the perfect spot beside the PAX wardrobe in my craft studio – just a stone’s throw from the laundry room (and beside my collection of antique irons).

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Another way we’re saving energy in the laundry room is by economizing on the number of times we wash our KARLSTAD sofa cover. Our sofa came with a white slipcover a number of years ago, but it shows the dirt pretty quickly. Luckily it’s removable and washable, but we wanted to find a way to wash it less often to cut back on energy and water usage and to also keep the rest of the sofa clean while the slipcover was air drying when we did wash it.

Here are two tricks we use:

1. Alternate using the BASTIS roller with vacuuming

One way to keep a slipcover clean between washings, and save on electricity, is by using the BASTIS lint roller every few days instead of lugging out the vacuum.

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When you do take out your vacuum to do your regular weekly chores it’s handy to have an upholstery attachment to go over all exposed areas of the slipcover and under the seat and back cushions to get as much dust off between washings.

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The upholstery attachment has a nubby strip that catches all the dust and lint:

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When it’s time to wash the slipcover, we do it right after it has been vacuumed. Since it doesn’t go into the dryer, it helps to remove the dust first or the majority of it will still be there when it comes out of the wash and remain as the slipcover air dries.

To save water and electricity, we only launder the seat and back cushion covers when needed and remove the back and armrests (which means we have to take the entire couch apart to get it all off) about once a year. The outer parts of the slipcover on the sofa (at least in our household) stay cleaner than the rest, so we can get by with using the BASTIS lint roller and upholstery attachment to freshen it up.

2. ‘Slipcover’ the KARLSTAD sofa with a full-sized fitted sheet while it’s air drying!

The washing instructions for the KARLSTAD slipcover indicate not to put it the dryer, but it takes up to a full day to dry. What happens when the cover is in the wash and you don’t have a spare in the interim? Our solution is a vintage full-sized fitted bed sheet; the kind with the elasticized corners like the one shown below. It fits perfectly in a pinch while the slipcover dries!

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Our interim ‘slip cover’ allows us to continue to use our sofa while the cover is air drying – and it’s a great re-purpose of a spare full-fitted sheet!

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When all the slipcovers are off, we take the opportunity to remove the seat and back cushions to vacuum underneath and in all the crevices along the back and sides:

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Then we put all the cushions back on the sofa and throw on the fitted sheet. It was a stroke of luck that the full fitted sheet was perfectly sized in both the width and length with plenty of extra to tuck it all in!

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When we take apart the couch to wash the entire slip cover on a yearly basis, we add in a few regular pillows with matching pillow cases, as shown below, so we can protect the arms of the sofa as the slipcover is drying.

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If you don’t happen to have a fitted sheet, Ikea sells single fitted sheets at a few different price points (DVALA and SOMNTUTA). We recently picked up a white SOMNTUTA sheet as a spare and it looks so good on our sofa as a slipcover, we can use it for everyday use and then take it off for company – which extends time between washings and saves EVEN MORE water.

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When our sofa slipcover comes out of the cold water wash, sometimes we still have to get creative finding a place to dry it when we are using the MULIG drying rack for other items. In that case, we use the shower rod in one of our bathrooms and our RIGGA clothes rack to drape it as it dries:

We prefer to iron any wrinkles in the slipcover (on the wrong side) while it is still a bit damp. To finish it off, we touch it up with the BASTIS lint roller, on the right side, to get off any remaining traces of lint. Then it’s ready to go back on the sofa!

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A clothes dryer uses up about 12% of electricity used in an average household. Simply changing a few habits by washing items less frequently, washing them in cold water (instead of heating up water) and air drying can reduce energy usage – and they’ll last longer too. Using our MULIG drying rack during the winter added some much needed humidity to help combat dry winter air, which allowed us to turn the thermostat down a degree or two (saving 4% on energy costs for every degree we lowered our thermostat).

Hydro One has an appliance calculator you can use if you’re interested in estimating what your current clothes dryer costs are. Even though there’s only two of us in our household, given the age of our dryer, we estimated that air drying our clothes could save us up to $125 a year, which is better off in our pockets!

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