Dirty laundry

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

I’m in efficiency mode. I, like most of you, have taken a real financial hit from these high fuel costs. It’s simple. When I drive my gas-guzzling SUV every day (and I don’t, I drive my motorcycle half the time, a luxury most people don’t have), I burn a tank of gas a week. Even at that, that’s $75 a week, 26 weeks a year, a total of $1,950 a year. Many home items—food, cleaning supplies, etc.— have gone up 25 percent. Bottom line: I have less money in my pocket than I had three years ago. That’s not to mention the increasing costs of putting out a newspaper. That’s not a textbook definition of inflation, but it’s a hell of a lot more than a “mental” recession.

So, anyway, I’m trying to dry most of my laundry on the line. As you’ve seen mentioned in the past in this newspaper’s pages, the dryer is one of the most expensive appliances to run in the house. I know many people are in the same boat as I am, and I was thinking this morning that maybe some newbies could use some tips. So here are a few things I’ve learned.

Drying tip No. 1: Treat stains, then turn the clothing inside out before you drop it in the washing machine. There are two reasons for this. (1) When you wash clothing, you get lint, which the dryer takes off the clothes. That lint will collect on the inside of the clothes instead of the outside. (2) You want to turn your clothing inside out anyway before you hang it because the sun bleaches stuff.

Drying tip No. 2: Hang your clothes in the evening, and leave them out overnight. Even jeans will be dry in the morning, and you won’t have to worry about that bleaching effect. I dry my whites during the day while I’m at work, when the sun’s free bleach is a bonus.

Drying tip No. 3: Put a cup of vinegar in the wash, as it prevents that stiffening effect.