Parents do a TON of laundry. Besides professional mud wrestlers and the people who clean up elephant crap at the circus, I’m willing to bet parents do more laundry than anyone else on earth. When ENERGY STAR asked me to partner with them to promote new certified energy saving dryers, I realized how much energy we as a community could actually save the planet.
Last week, I asked my fans on facebook what age their kids were and what contributed most to their abundance of laundry. Then I broke down all the responses to explain the stages of parenthood, from newborns to college kids, one load of laundry at a time, to show just how big an impact parents using ENERGY STAR certified dryers could make.
The Newborn Stage:
Laundry in this phase is due mostly to your tiny pooping spit-up machine that dirties onesies on the regular. Not only is cleaning dirty clothes a prerogative, you are in that germ-free bubble of hand sanitizer and organic bathroom cleaner where perfectly pristine baby clothes must be washed before they even have the honor of being placed on your newborn’s body. Who knows where that crisp white tiny undershirt just ripped from the package has BEEN?! Also, you’ve got regular visitors who need to see the baby in his/her finest attire, a myriad of naps that require pajamas and at least three blowouts a day, so your baby is making more wardrobe changes than Beyonce on a concert tour. Does your newborn have acid reflux? That can double your dirty laundry with regular spit-up stains, not just on your newborn but yourself. Speaking of yourself, don’t you love those yellow milk stains on your nursing bras? And you’ve only got two comfortable nursing bras in rotation so they must be washed over and over and over again until they practically disintegrate. Have we talked about crib sheets and bath towels and burp clothes? You are probably using one burp cloth every ten minutes— thank god they come in packs of ten! You cycle through 20 a day and need every one of them clean and on hand for tomorrow. Do you use cloth diapers? Oh, you poor dear. Let’s double your laundry again.
The 6-12 Month Phase:
Your baby is still pooping and spitting up but now we’re going to add a plethora of drool to the mix. DAMN TEETHING! Yes, that’s right— your baby drools on you, your spouse, your other kids, himself. He is one big saliva fountain with no on/off switch. You are still washing the burp rags and the nursing bras once a day, but you can also add your back-to-work wardrobe to the load. That’s two outfits a day since your baby always spits up all over your first outfit right before you walk out the door, causing you to go back to your room and change. You’ve also got the pumping bra to deal with. You know the strapless monstrosity that zips up the front and is starting to turn a vile lemon yellow around the nipples? Your little whippersnapper has also moved onto solid foods meaning some of that spit-up might resemble actual vomit. Have you dealt with projectile vomit yet? YOU WILL. Self-feeding leads to even more issues as a plethora of once adorable bibs pile up in your hamper. And what are the bibs really for anyway? Especially when cereal and yogurt (SO MUCH YOGURT!) can find its way through the collar and the sleeves. Oh, and the crawling! You got any stain stick for those knees? Let’s throw those leggings in the wash ONE MORE TIME to see if the grass stain FINALLY comes out.
The Toddler Phase:
Did I mention all the @#$$@$* yogurt?! SO MUCH YOGURT. Although now your toddler hates those bibs and rips them right off leaving his clothing completely exposed. You know what else your toddler loves? Spaghetti. Covered in tomato sauce. NO OUTFIT IS SAFE! Your toddler is also mobile, so who knows what mess they will stumble upon— from a bottle of syrup to a tube of lipstick. Have we talked about the great outdoors yet? Your child is running out in the world on dirty sidewalks and even dirtier playgrounds. We call our local playground sandbox “The Filthiest Place on Earth”. And that blankie he has become so attached to? The one you swore would never leave the crib but now here he is dragging it outside on the ground everywhere he goes? That rag must be washed daily. There’s also boogers. Wet ones, dry ones, white ones, green ones, all making their home on the shoulder of your favorite shirt. And someone, for the love of god— EXPLAIN TO MY CHILD THAT HIS SLEEVE IS NOT A NAPKIN!!!
The Preschooler Phase:
This is a lovely time when you finally expose your child to all the germs that exist in the classroom. You’ve had a stomach bug sweep through your house at least five times since the beginning of the school year and the laundry to prove it. Your child is becoming more independent, which is great, except for her insistence on breaking up with her sippy cup. Yep, she holds a regular cup now, but VERY POORLY. Spills, spills, everywhere. And who knew apples made such a mess? Did I mention she hates when things get on her clothes? Even a small drop of ketchup results in a titanic-sized tantrum until the whole outfit is changed. With preschool comes craft time and finger painting and glue stick and pretty much anything that claims to be “washable”. Are you potty training? Probably. That means wet sheets and multiple underwear changes throughout the day. Except if your child prefers that one pair of Frozen undies and refuses to wear anything else. And your whole potty training success depends on having them clean and ready to go every morning. I don’t envy you, Frozen Panties Mom.
The Big Kid Phase:
This phase starts in kindergarten and ends at around 13. This is the phase where kids really learn to care about their clothes, but also destroy everything they wear, posing quite the laundry challenge. Maybe you have a child who likes to change multiple times before school or only wants to wear one of two pink dresses every day or likes to change into their summer clothes as soon as she gets home, even though it’s -20 degrees. There’s also the kids that try five things on, pick one and put the rest of the clothes in the hamper as if the act of being on their body for .5 seconds renders that clothing dirty. Your kid is still wetting the bed occasionally and wiping her nose with her sleeve, but now she’s also jumping in puddles and sliding feet first in the mud. School comes with more paint, markers, glue, play-doh, and unidentifiable substances. Also, GLITTER. Lots and lots of glitter. And how come kids get so much pen on their clothing? What is up with that? Cleaning a plethora of uniforms is no fun either. Have I mentioned sports? So many sports. Played on dirt. Sometimes in the rain. Meaning MUD. Also, CAMP. Nothing makes a kid filthier than camp.
The Teenager Phase:
A lot of the behavior from the kid phase continues but now in a more advanced fashion, ensuring even more laundry than ever before. For instance, certain divas like to change their clothes 564,145 times a day. And clever teenagers like to avoid folding and putting their clean clothes away but just dumping them back into the dirty hamper. I bet you had fun discovering that one! After-school activities and sports are at an all time high, with practices every day of the week and clothes smellier than you ever imagined. WOW, do teenage boys smell. Also, if you’ve got a swimmer, I hear the towel situation is out of control. Although non-swimming teens like towels too. Teenage girls, for instance, like to use a towel for their hair, a towel for their body and then throw the towels on the bathroom floor instead of hanging them up to dry so they need new towels with every shower. WHY CAN’T TEENAGERS LEARN TO HANG UP A TOWEL??? And there are SO MANY SHOWERS. There are also snacks that used to be off-limits, like Cheetos and Doritos with their lovely orange residue that gets wiped across shirt fronts on the daily. And make-up experimentation with lipsticks left unknowingly in the pocket of a favorite pair of jeans. Do we need to talk about the various socks and wash clothes left suspiciously close to the bed? No. No, we do not. Also if you never put your clean clothes away, they get instantly dirty when the dog makes his bed on them on the floor.
The College kid Phase:
I have little to say about this phase except if kids today are anything like I was back in college, they are saving all their dirty clothes for vacations back home so you will have the pleasure of doing a semester worth of laundry all at once. MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Well, there you have it. Can you imagine how much energy parents waste each year doing an insane amount of laundry?
Washing machines have actually seen a 70% drop in energy use since 1990 when companies started to create more efficient machines, but dryers have remained largely inefficient, until now.
For the first time ever, ENERGY STAR certified clothes dryers are widely available nationwide, for the same cost as a standard dryer, making it an easy choice to save energy, save money and help protect the climate. If you are one of the five million Americans who’s looking to purchase a new dryer this year, this is a great opportunity for savings.
If all clothes dryers sold in the US were ENERGY STAR certified, Americans could save $1.5 billion each year in energy costs and prevent 21 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions, equal to those of more than 2 million vehicles, every year.
Now that’s a lot of savings PLUS you can probably feel pretty good knowing your new dryer is way better for the planet your kids will one day inherit, right?
I have an idea. Tell me how many loads of laundry you do a week in the comments and I’ll add up all the responses, send the figure to ENERGY STAR and have them estimate how much just the Mommy Shorts readers could save in a year.
So. How many loads of laundry do you do a week?
Update: ENERGY STAR calculated how much money Mommy Shorts readers would save collectively if they all replaced their dryers with the new ENERGY STAR certified dryers and it came out to over $130 million dollars. Energy-wise we’d save more than 2 billion pounds of CO2. Yikes!!!
This post was sponsored by ENERGY STAR, but all thoughts, opinions and loads of laundry are my own.
It depends on the season. During football season (game uniforms and practice uniforms (x2) covered with grass stains, mud, gatorade, GOOSE POOP – oh my GOD – so gross and hard to remove) I probably do about 10-12 loads a week. During our regular scheduled programming probably about 8-10. That is with me jamming the washer full of the kids clothes (all colors) and washing it on cold.
can I get a “HELL YEAH” for school uniforms….?
If your teenager is creating that much laundry, it is time for them to do their own, no excuses. Just don’t do it – they’ll learn.
“Frozen Panties Mom” is the worst super hero name I’ve ever heard.
I do probably about 7-8 loads a week. But hang it all to dry since that is standard practice here (New Zealand) so our only cost is the washing machine power (water is free).
So Who loves a good crunchy towel?
Yeah.. I guess there are down sides to hanging too..
With two parents and one toddler, we are holding steady at 4 loads a week.
We have three adults and three and six year old boys. We do an easy 8-10 loads per week!
2 adults,14 yr old girl,almost 4 yr old boy,13 month old girl. Probably around 10 loads a week.
We do cloth diapers so that ensures at least one load per day. So a minimum of 12 loads per week for two adults and our 16 month old daughter.
We do 4-5 loads a week. Depending on if I feel like washing sheets and or towels 🙂
It isn’t the washing I mind, it’s the folding and putting away!
About 12 loads a week, and they’re big loads, my washer and dryer easily handle my king size bedding (I understand most people take their king size bedding to the laundromat or dry cleaners), and I stuff those suckers to capacity each time i run a load!
I would say we average about 10 loads a week in our 4 person household.
I average about five loads a week, although it would be more if I had not sought out the washer and dryer with the largest capacity on the market at the time. And while I love the idea of energy efficient dryers, I do air dry/hang dry about 1/3 of our stuff.
At least 6-7 for the three of us. I never thought all my clothes would need so much washing but my shoulders are forever stained with whatever the kid was eating. Fun!
There are four of us (two adults, a 9-year-old soccer playing boy, and a 4-year-old thinks-pants-are-a-napkin boy). Between the school uniforms, work clothes, play clothes, and nighttime accidents, we do at least 12 loads a week. It’s a LOT. And we got an energy efficient washer and dryer last year – what a difference!!
With one costume-changing girl (6yo), one super-stinky boy (13yo), a landscaping/outdoor-loving husband, and keeping my virus laden scrubs as far away from my family as possible, we wash 15 loads of laundry a week.
Two adults, a 6 yr old boy who thinks he’s doing me a favour when he wears his pjs 2 nights in a row and has a school uniform with a magnetic pull for whiteboard marker that does not wash out, a 4yr old girl who is actually pretty clean unless she’s “helping” me bake which is more often than it should be, and a 15 month old baby who uses his sleepsuit as a breakfast napkin and my clothes as a face tissue for any snot/other meal debris/the compulsory yogurt. At least 8 loads a week. But no dryer. The apartment we rent out has a great washer dryer, we just have a washer and laundry hanging everywhere… hmmmmmm.
With an 18 month old an 3 year old I do about 6-10 loads a week.
8 loads a week and 1 of those is cloth diapers. 1 load for each for the 2 kids (3 and 10 months), 1 load of towels, 1 for sheets, 2 loads of “darks, 1 load of whites, 1 load of cloth diapers. Large capacity washer and dryer….best decision ever.
I have two boys, 4 and 18 months. With their clothes, my husband’s and my clothes, and various linens, I would say we average 10 loads a week.
On average? 10. I am not positive though bc it feels like a never ending week.
Shortly after we got married, my husband told me that one of the best things about being married was that he didn’t have to do any more laundry. I knew I was in trouble! I hate laundry but now with 2 toddlers I do about 12 loads a week. And, since both my husband and I work full time in real offices, I feel compelled to wear clean presentable clothes to keep that professional vibe going. It’s a Sisyphean task for sure!!
Four adults and one messy potty training 4 year old boy with autism means 15-20 loads a week, depending on the season. At least 5 loads are towels and potty messes. A good 3-4 are bedding from potty messes. If the flu comes, it means 3-4 a day. 3 a week are hubby’s uniforms. Ridiculous, I know, but at least the water is free and we make our own laundry soap.
We used cloth diapers, but now that my son is potty trained that eliminated 2 loads per week. With 2 adults and one three year old we’re usually doing 7 loads per week. I always think I’m getting ahead of the hampers, and then find several crumpled items of my son’s that he’s taken off and tossed around the house. Plus I always forget about the sheets until I think I’m done…
We do around 7-8 loads a week, which includes washing our toddler’s cloth diapers. We’ve switched him to disposables for overnight, which helps a lot.
Two adults, with a 3-yr old and a 17-month old, both of whom are in cloth diapers (this summer is PT Boot Camp). Let’s see… I wash diapers every 2-3 days depending on the poop situation. The boys’ clothes get washed in one load once a week (I absolutely put them back into clothes that aren’t visibly dirty and don’t smell). The adult clothes get washed in 3 loads, including towels. Sheets are done in two loads, but only every other week. So I would say 8-10 loads per week, depending on the diapers and sheets. Thankfully, we inherited Energy Star washer and dryer when we bought our house three months ago; they’re about 10 years old, but still!
We only have two adults and one toddler here so I average about 4 loads a week right now.
2 adults, a preschooler and a cloth diapered toddler.
Between towels, diapers, clothes – something like 10-12 loads a week. So much poop and spaghetti sauce. Seriously.
Maybe like 15, if you count bedsheets.
Two parents and a toddler in cloth diapers here. I usually do around eight loads per week.
How many loads of laundry a week?? Every week it’s a solid 8. 5 people in my house, 1 load per person, 1 load of whites, 2 loads of towels, then add the linens every once in a while!
6 loads weekly for 2 adults, 1 4 yo, and 1 15 mo.
Congratulations! You just got a PHD in laundry.
10 loads a week. And thats mostly because I have an 4 year old SPD son that has to change ANYTIME he get dirty or it results in an epic meltdown. My husband also changes from dress clothes to shorts every day when he gets home. And they wonder why I live in yoga pants 😉
I do around 8 loads a week with one 6 month old at home. After I go back to work I can see that going up to 9-10 loads as I’ll have to throw my work clothes into the mix (living in leggings these days is wonderful!) and the future mobile baby will be picking up the dust bunnies and filth that the dog drags in from outside with her knees!
At minimum 10 per week for 5 people (2 big & 3 little – 7, 4, 2). One load of clothes gets done everyday then sheets & towels get added to the mix on the weekend.
I actually don’t have a washer or dryer and do it at my mom’s (currently saving for a set now). It’s is HORRIBLE to say the least. I do one load a week and when I bring laundry to her, it’s in no less than three large containers. Sometimes 4-5. I have three people (both boys are divas and go through clothes like crazy). I’m actually excited about being able to do my own laundry, however much that may be.
If I am just washing clothing, I do between 5 to 7 loads a week. If I wash towels and sheers that week, then we are up to 10. Add in my mom’s laundry… 12. One sick and one incontinent dog…..so much more. I do hang dry most of my personal clothing, but use the dryer on just about everything else.
Our family averages about 5 loads per week. Two active adults (professional clothes, plus work out clothes) and two toddlers.
Well between the two working adults, my 1 year old, and my 6 year old we do 3 loads of laundry a day! PLUS our dryer absolutely sucks and requires 2 runs through no matter how little or much you put in it to get anything dry! So my washer gets 3 loads per day and the dryer gets the equivalent of 6 loads. Can someone please get me a working dryer!?!
3 kids, (2 who play various sports and 1 toddler) I do 10-12 loads a week. THE NEVER ENDING STORY, with no sense of accomplishment. Ever.
I have a husband that changes 3x/day and two boys aged 4 years and 20 months. I do laundry EVERY DAY! At least one load and this last Friday, before I left on a business trip….3 loads (because I would be gone for two days and didn’t want to get behind.
We have 7 people in our house, so somewhere between 25 and 45 loads per week depending on things like the season, ages of children, how many are sick and puking, etc.
I feel like my life is made up of laundry. With a husband who works and has to have uniforms clean (but only has four. Not five-FOUR. What?!?!) and a toddler who spent a year with the worst acid reflux known to mankind, all I do all week is laundry. And most of it isn’t even mine since I wear the same leggings for the entire week!! The injustice! Coupled with the fact that my dryer is the noisiest appliance on the planet…help me, Mommy Shorts…you’re the only one who can…
When my mom figured it was time to do our own laundry, she poured bleach on my favorite jeans and did the same to my sister’s favorite shirt. Acted like it was an accident, but it was not. She then told us that she was tired and if we helped with a load of laundry now and then, it would reduce accidents. I’ve done my own laundry since.