Scientists shake it off, shake it off, for savings

I, I shake it off, I shake it off.

Imagine a bunch of scientists in white coats jamming out to Taylor Swift in the lab while working on ground-breaking research.

Clearly, ...

Tagged: laundry, Energy Efficiency

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Scientists shake it off, shake it off, for savings

Woman juggles laundry

Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are using vibrations to dry clothes. No heat needed. No lint left behind. And it is up to five times more energy efficient. Oh, and it cuts the drying time in half.

Key Points

  • A new dryer scientists developed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory shakes the water out of your clothes.
  • Eliminating the need for heat, these new dryers are up to five times more efficient than traditional models.
  • They also take half the time to dry clothes and leave little lint behind. 

I, I shake it off, I shake it off.

Imagine a bunch of scientists in white coats jamming out to Taylor Swift in the lab while working on ground-breaking research.

Clearly, only Taylor could inspire researchers to come up with a way to revolutionize dryers to shake the water out of clothes.

Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are using vibrations to dry clothes. No heat needed. No lint left behind. And it is up to five times more energy efficient. Oh, and it cuts the drying time in half. 

If these new dryers make it to a store near you, investing in one could help you save energy and money.

Check out the new dryer in action:

In the meantime, here are some tips from the Department of Energy to keep your old dryer safe and efficient:

  • Wash and dry full loads. If you’re washing a small load, use the appropriate water-level setting.
  • Dry towels and heavier cottons in a separate load from lighter-weight clothes.
  • Don't over-dry your clothes. If your machine has a moisture sensor, use it.
  • Clean the lint screen in the dryer after every load to improve air circulation and prevent fire hazards.
  • Periodically, use the long nozzle tip on your vacuum cleaner to remove the lint that collects below the lint screen in the lint screen slot of your clothes dryer.
  • Use the cool-down cycle to allow the clothes to finish drying with the heat remaining in the dryer.
  • Periodically inspect your dryer vent to make sure it’s not blocked. This will save energy and may prevent a fire. Manufacturers recommend using rigid venting material — not plastic vents that may collapse and cause blockages.
  • Consider air-drying clothes on clothes lines or drying racks. Air drying is recommended by clothing manufacturers for some fabrics.

Now back to those dancing scientists. Remember that the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, but I, for one, am very impressed with your work. Keep it up.


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned a degree in political science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the governor’s office as a policy analyst and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.

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Laundry jargon guide

You might be doing your laundry all wrong.

Choosing the incorrect setting on your washer and dryer isn’t only bad for your clothes; it could be wasting energy.

For ...

Tagged: laundry, save energy, washing machine, save money

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Laundry jargon guide

Washer and dryer

Choosing the incorrect setting on your washer and dryer isn’t only bad for your clothes; it could be wasting energy.

Key Points

  • Choose the right settings on your washer and dryer to save your clothes and some energy.
  • Run full loads to save water.
  • Turn down your water heater thermostat to save on the cost of running your washing machine.

You might be doing your laundry all wrong.

Choosing the incorrect setting on your washer and dryer isn’t only bad for your clothes; it could be wasting energy.

For instance, choosing the “delicates” setting on your dryer might be a less energy-efficient option because it uses low heat, leading to a longer drying time.

Thankfully, the good folks over at Southern California Edison are taking the guess work out of all those settings. Here’s a handy infographic from SCE to help you save your clothes and some energy



Washer Settings

Hot Water (120-140°F) - Use for white cotton items; the higher temp helps kill more bacteria and keep whites bright.

Warm Water (85-105°F) – Use for synthetic fabrics (such as nylon, polyester or spandex) and colors to help prevent color fading and damage.

Cold Water (65-75°F) – Use for dark items and delicate fabrics to help prevent color fading.

Regular/Normal – This setting uses hot water and fast agitation, which is how much the center device shakes or spins your clothes. It’s good for washing white clothes. Washing darker colors in this setting could cause fading.

Permanent Press – This setting uses warm water, cool rinse and mild agitation. It’s good for colored clothing. 

Delicates – This setting uses cold water and light agitation. It’s good for more delicate or stretchable fabrics.

Dryer Settings

Automatic Dry – This setting is more energy-efficient than timed dry because it automatically adjusts the length of the cycle based on the level of moisture in the fabric. It also helps prevent damage to your clothes due to over-drying.

Regular/Heavy – This is the fastest and hottest setting and is best for drying white or light-colored clothes; however, keep in mind that washing in hot water and drying on Regulary/Heavy will shrink fabrics.

Permanent Press – This setting uses medium heat and is best for colored fabrics. Avoid drying delicate fabrics in this setting because they can get damaged.

Delicates – This setting uses low heat, so the drying time will be longer. It is best for delicate fabrics.

Air Fluff – This setting is not used to dry clothes, because it does not use heat. It instead draws in room temperature air, and should be used to “fluff” out your clothes and make them less stiff.

Other laundry energy-saving tips include washing only full loads, which could save over 3,400 gallons of water each year, or turning down your water heater thermostat to 120°F, which could allow you to save up to 20% on the cost of running your washing machine.


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the entire world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned an M.A.in Political Science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the Governor’s Office as a policy analyst and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.

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The crazy new invention that will completely change your life

Breaking news. You can now purchase an Energy-Star-approved clothes dryer.

Wait, ...

Tagged: energy star, clothes dryer, Natural Gas, laundry

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The crazy new invention that will completely change your life

Mystery box

I thought Energy-Star rated all major appliances, but until recently they hadn’t found clothes dryers worthy of their seal of approval.

Key Points

  • Energy Star recently put its seal of approval on clothes dryers.
  • The approved ones use 20 percent less energy than conventional models.
  • Use settings like sensor drying and low heat to save even more energy. 

Breaking news. You can now purchase an Energy-Star-approved clothes dryer.

Wait, doesn’t that already exist? 

Surprising, right? I thought Energy-Star rated all major appliances, but until recently they hadn’t found clothes dryers worthy of their seal of approval.

Thanks to new features like moisture sensors that can turn the dryer off when your clothes are dry, the certified dryers use 20 percent less energy than conventional models. Considering that the average family in the U.S. does 300 loads of laundry a year, those savings can really add up. In my house, we do what must be at least 300 loads a week, so we’re sure to save a lot.

If you want to save even more, here are some tips from Energy Star:

  • Sensor Drying. Use sensor drying, not timed drying. Energy Star dryer models incorporate advanced moisture sensors to help you reduce your dryer’s energy use. This feature ensures that your dryer will automatically shut off when clothes are dry.
  • Low heat setting. Longer drying cycles on a low heat setting use less energy. When you purchase an Energy-Star-certified clothes dryer, look in the informational materials shipped with the product for which cycle was tested for certification and how the dryer’s other cycles or settings may use more or less energy.
  • Consider natural gas. Eighty percent of dryers in the U.S. are electric. If you have the option, consider using a natural gas dryer to save money and reduce your environmental impact.
  • Savings by the pair. An Energy-Star-certified washer/dryer pair will save even more energy and money while doing your laundry. Clothes washers that have earned the Energy Star logo incorporate advanced technology and functionality to get significantly more water out of your clothes in its final spin cycle than a conventional model. This makes it easier for clothing to dry in an Energy-Star-certified dryer using less heat. Less heat means energy savings and reduced wear and tear on your clothes caused by over-drying.

Bonus tip: Make sure to clean your lint filter after each use. The National Fire Protection Association says that the leading cause of washer and dryer fires is a failure to clean them. Plus, it takes longer for your appliance to dry clothes with a full filter, a big waste of energy. I personally love to clean our lint filter. Seeing a solid piece of pink lint laced with glitter makes me smile. #housefullofgirls


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the entire world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned an M.A.in Political Science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the Governor’s Office as a policy analyst, and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.

Did you like this article? Here are some other articles that include: energy star, clothes dryer, Natural Gas, laundry