I purchased a couple of manual cleaning gadgets recently that I absolutely love, and are actually more effective than their electric equivalents.
It wasn't until we started looking at ways to reduce our bills that I realised these gadgets were perfect for saving energy when cleaning the house.
So, in my post today I am going to reveal what those little manual gadgets are and how you can use much less electricity when you clean your house, and even do it for free!
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Hand wash dishes
It has to be said that a dishwasher can actually be cheaper to run than hand washing dishes, in the long run.
That's why I suggest that you switch to cold water. If you do that, hand washing is always going to be cheaper than running the dishwasher.
It turns out that hot water kills fewer bacteria than you think.
You could never get the water hot enough to kill everything without scalding your hands. So, you are not losing much by switching to cold.
Fairy now makes dish soap designed for cold water, so it looks like this might catch on!
I wrote a post here - how to wash your dishes in cold water, that details exactly how I do that.
Use a manual carpet sweeper
I recently bought a Bissell floor sweeper and love it. I bought it because it is great at picking up dog hair on my carpets. It's actually more effective than my electric vacuum cleaner.
It is fully manual. I just push it around and then empty the dust and hair straight into the bin.
Now I've realized how good it is, I use it very regularly instead of getting out my vacuum cleaner.
Use a dry mop on hard floors
Another thing I bought to deal with dog hair, and which turned out to be a fantastic energy saver, was a Swiffer floor mop. I use mine with a microfiber cloth.
The cloth grabs the dust and hair as I sweep. So, there is no need to get the vacuum out.
In fact, it does a better job than the vacuum because it can clean up the sticky dust that my vacuum doesn't touch.
It can also be used with disposable dry cloths. I have some of them too, but I find my microfiber cloths work brilliantly on the floor, and, of course, I can wash them and reuse.
As I said, I like to use my Bissell floor sweeper for my carpets and my Swiffer mop for sweeping the hard floors.
This means I don't have to get out the vacuum so often, but when I do, it is often my cordless Shark Duoclean because it is efficient to run.
If I've recently cleaned with the manual tools, it's pretty quick to go over again and vacuum dust that didn't get picked up earlier.
When the battery needs charging. I can see on from the meter that it isn't drawing nearly as much power as the big vacuum would have done.
Wash clothes less
If you think about it, we probably wash our clothes far too much.
Maybe we could wear those jeans one more day?
I always use the smell test for my boys' laundry.
Often they would wear something once and then toss it in the laundry (but mostly the floor).
So, I would do what I call, 'pre-laundry', where things get a sniff first. If they don't smell and aren't visibly dirty, they go back in the cupboard!
Wash laundry on cold
All my laundry gets washed on cold now, without exception. I even wash my whites on cold and they have all stayed white and stain-free.
Washing on cold saves a lot of electricity because you only pay for the machine's motor run.
Washing on cold is pretty simple. All it takes is a few tiny tweaks to your normal routine, and you can get perfectly clean and stain-free results.
Here are the changes I made to my normal washing routine:
- Make up a spray bottle of your normal detergent diluted with water and use it to pre-treat stains.
- Set your washer to a normal or intensive cold cycle. Quick washes don't work so well on cold.
- Pick a good quality detergent designed for cold water use. Liquid is best. Use a small amount and boost the wash with one or two tablespoons of washing soda crystals.
- Add distilled white vinegar to the rinse cycle. This kills bacteria and softens fabrics.
- Run a hot maintenance wash once a month to keep your machine clean and sanitary.
For a maintenance wash, I simply add one or two cups of washing soda crystals directly to the drum and run a hot wash.
Here's more on how to do your laundry (almost) for free.
Line dry your laundry
If you have an outside line, I recommend using it as much as you can.
We have a lot of rain here in the UK, but when the weather is fine, my washing goes out throughout the year.
It was -3c here a couple of days ago, but we had sunshine, and my washing dried!
If you look closely, you can see steam rising!
Reduce tumble drying time
On days when line drying isn't possible, there are tweaks you can make to your tumble dryer to reduce drying times and save electricity.
Here are some tips:
- Run a second spin cycle on your washing machine.
- Check and clear the filter on your tumble dryer. A clogged filter can extend drying times.
- Add a dry fluffy towel, or some wool dryer balls to reduce drying times by up to 25%.
- Half-dry and then finish off on your indoor airer.
Always avoid drying laundry directly on a radiator because you will find your heating bills go up instead.