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Thursday, 18 March 2010

Clothes Washing

One of the myriad conveniences we enjoy in the US is simpler and quicker clothes washing.

In London our washing machine took about 2 hours to complete a wash cycle, and the dryer about the same. That made starting a wash before work unlikely, and staring one after arriving home from work an evening long event. If we could we'd hang clothes out to dry in the garden, but often in the winter months they'd come in wetter than they went out and have to go through the dryer anyway.

The other London inconvenience was that both machines lived in the kitchen, which was not separated from the dining and living areas even by a door, and the machines were noisy. It made watching TV or even just being in the room a less than satisfying event.

In the apartment we have a toploading washer that does a load in about 45 minutes. The dryer has a setting for "optimum dry" and we just set that and wait for it to stop automatically. The machines are in the bathroom, and have their own separating doors, so we can have two closed doors between us and the machines to cut down the noise.

For the new house we've invested in a high efficiency washer that uses less water and electricity than the one in the apartment, but the system will be much the same. The house has a laundry chute on the landing so we can just dump dirty clothes straight down the chute into the utility room, where they will land in a basket on top of the dryer. There we will sort into darks, colors and whites, and do cycles as appropriate. The utility room is again separated from the kitchen by a door, but the machines are also supposed to be quieter than standard.

One cost of drying everything electrically is lint. Every load builds up wodge of lint in the lint trap, which comprises all the fibre particles knocked out of the clothes, so the clothes are wearing out faster. We may try a clothes line, but the convenience of the dryer will probably keep me using it as much as possible. There is also a vent hose to the fresh air, and we know that the finer lint particles get through the trap and escape to land near the house in a fluffy pile.

Like many things in America there are conveniences, and an associated cost. Our feelign is the convenience outweighs the cost.

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