With three adults and a baby in the house, it sometimes feels like we’re doing laundry all the time! Financially, it can add up really quickly. Obviously, this means that I am always looking for tips for saving money on laundry. I want to take good care of our clothing and linens because I want to get the most out of them. At the same time though, I want to do it as frugally as I possibly can.
TIPS FOR SAVING MONEY ON LAUNDRY
Wash with cold water.
There are a few occasions when I use the hot setting but they are very few and far between. Because of our allergies and asthma, I do wash our bed linens in hot water because that is the only way to kill dust mites and animal dander. Other than that though, I use cold water for everything else. Using warm water instead of hot can reduce the energy used in that load of laundry by half. Using cold water saves you even more.
Try less expensive brands of detergent.
I have even heard of some people making their own detergent. Confession time. I use a name brand of detergent (my preference is Tide Free and Gentle Pods). I’ve tried others, including making my own, and nothing works as well for us. However, I have used store brand detergents in the past with great success. It seemed to depend on the washing machine, the water in the place I lived, and other such factors. I think it’s worth experimenting.
Use less detergent.
If you can, try cutting your laundry detergent usage in half. I’ll be honest – sometimes we have loads of really stinky or soiled clothing and I find that they need the full recommended amount of detergent. But it’s not necessary for every load. If you can’t cut back, at least be sure to measure out the amount of detergent carefully. Eyeballing it usually leads to waste.
Wash full loads.
Your washing machine uses about the same amount of energy no matter what size the load is. It would cost you much more to run 3 small loads than 1 large one, so wait until you have enough to make a full load if you can.
Hang your clothing to dry.
Here comes another confession. I won’t hang my laundry up outside to dry. I don’t like that stiff feeling it gets and even more so, it comes back in covered with pollen. As a family of allergy sufferers, it’s not worth the cost savings to endure the allergy/asthma attacks. But if you can, definitely take advantage of the free drying power of the great outdoors. We do have folding laundry racks and places to hang up clothing on hangers to dry within our home though.
Shake out clothes before putting them in the dryer.
This not only helps prevent wrinkles, it also helps ensure that the warm air in the dryer can reach every part of the clothing and it will dry faster.
Don’t overload your dryer.
For the items that are being put into the dryer, don’t make the loads too big. This makes it difficult for the clothes to move around. They tend to clump together and don’t dry evenly.
Use dryer balls.
I have a set of wool dryer balls that I use. These help to separate your laundry (see “they tend to clump together” above) and allow more of the warm air of the dryer to reach all parts of the load. Are you ready for yet another confession? I have read many times that these balls also eliminate the need for dryer sheets as they also get rid of static. Unfortunately, I have not found that to be true for me. I still put half a dryer sheet in with the dryer balls and that seems to do the trick.
Use the longer spin cycle on your washing machine.
By doing this, you can remove even more of the moisture from your load of laundry. This actually cuts down on drying time and uses less energy.
Use the lowest heat setting on your dryer possible.
You might have to experiment a bit to find the right balance. But, even if you have to run the dryer a bit longer at this lower temperature, it will use less energy and save money.
If you can, switch loads while the dryer is still warm.
Your second load can take advantage of the remaining dryer heat and dry faster.
CLEAN YOUR DRYER’S LINT FILTER.
Oh, sorry for shouting but this one is really important! Your dryer runs so much more efficiently with an empty lint filter. And even more so, that lint can be a fire hazard. If you use dryer sheets, it’s also important to clean the filter every month to reduce the film that builds up. Use a toothbrush to scrub it.
Pay attention to the time of use electricity rates if you have them in your area.
Here in London, Ontario, the different rates are 13.2 cents per kWh during On Peak times, 9.4 cents per kWh for Mid Peak, and 6.5 cents per kWh during off peak. This can really add up so paying attention to the time of day can really make a difference.
Dry heavier laundry like jeans and towels separately from the lighter weight stuff.
The lighter weight stuff takes less time to dry.
Hand wash any items that you can.
Things like your bras and other delicates can easily be hand washed. In fact, it may just prolong the life of the garment!
Clean your washer and dryer from time to time.
Wear your clothing more than once wherever possible.
We generally wear our pajamas several nights in a row. Unless we get dirty or sweaty, we also wear daytime outfits more than once too. Wearing an apron can help to protect your clothing while you cook or do other messy work. Wearing your clothing more than once helps to extend the life of your clothing as well as save you money on laundry!
Once your clothing is clean, put it away immediately.
Does this sound familiar? You pull a load of laundry out of the dryer and it lives in the laundry basket for ages. Or, around our house, I ask for the basket (to put more laundry in!) so the laundry gets dumped out on the bed. BUT THEN, it’s bedtime and who feels like putting laundry away when you’re ready for bed? So, it gets shoved off the bed onto the floor and before you know it, it’s dirty again.
Pre-treat any stains.
I’ve asked my family to give me stained clothing right away and separately from the rest of the laundry. This way, I can start the stain treatment process before it starts to set. And, a little bit of stain treatment often means the clothing doesn’t have to be washed more than once to come perfectly clean.
It’s a long list but these really are simple tips to implement and they can really save you quite a bit of money on laundry!