Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cutting Laundry Costs In Half!

Homemade laundry detergent is a topic that comes up every once in a while on a yahoo group that I help run. Detergent is so expensive these days, when it can cost $10 just to wash 20 loads of laundry, on top of the cost of water, electricity, and gas to run the washer & dryer.

Laundry is expensive business!

I have not yet made my own detergent, but I do plan to try it out soon. In the mean time, I wanted to share my tips on cutting down your laundry costs.

  1. Ditch the liquid fabric softener, and use white vinegar instead. Really! First off, the liquid fabric softener can build up in clothing, which causes them to wear out faster. It also makes clothing less absorbent. Take towels, for instance- an item you want to be absorbent. Washing towels with a fabric softener will make them less absorbent, which means they are less useful. Vinegar will naturally deodorize your fabrics, and will not leave any residue behind. That residue from the softener is also staying behind in your washer!
  2. Ditch the fabric softener sheets. Instead, use a wet wash cloth, and make a mixture of water & your left over liquid softener. Spritz the wash cloth with it, and put it in the dryer. It will do the same as the sheets, at a fraction of the cost. Do not use it with towel loads!
  3. If you still have sheets to use, cut them in half. Your laundry will come out the same, at half the dryer sheet cost.
  4. If you have space in your laundry room, basement, or backyard, rig up a clothing line. In cold months, or when it's raining out, use an indoor line. Line dry your clothing. Some fabrics feel stiff after line drying- toss them in the dryer for 5 minutes, and they'll feel softer, and cost you less in electricity or gas bills.
  5. Re-wear items! Yes, you really can! If you spilled something on it, or it smells from body order, or where you work, then set it in the wash. Otherwise, re-wear items 2-3 times between washings. Jeans especially can go several wearings between washings. Shirts I recommend wearing twice between washings. They tend to get dirty faster- spills usually hit shirts more, plus body odor, etc.
  6. Make sure your water load is set to the right amount. If you are only washing a few things, set the water load to small. If you have a full load, set it to large. Otherwise, you are wasting water!
  7. It's ok to set your washer to cold. You don't need special detergents to do this, despite what commercials will tell you. Using the water on hot or warm means you are paying to heat the water. Running a hot load costs more than running a cold load.
  8. Use less detergent. Most detergents will tell you on the front how many loads the bottle will wash. Yet, when you open them, and look in the cap, it has a line showing where to fill it to, right? If you go by that line, you'll get about half the recommended loads from that bottle. Your clothing needs very little detergent to get it clean. In fact, over use of detergent can lead to rashes, and clothing that has a buildup of detergent in them. Cut the amount in half first, and see how it goes. If that works fine, try cutting it in half once more. When you find an amount that still cleans, but takes less, mark it on the lid in permanent marker, so you know where to fill it to.
Laundry is such a hassle, and a huge chore, especially when you have a larger family. These are my tips to help you get the laundry done for less money.

Here is a link to a website that shows not 1, not 2, but 10 homemade laundry detergent recipes. There are both liquids and powdered recipes, as well as tips about making them.

1 comment:

FrugalMom said...

These are really great tips Heather. I do all of them, and yes my clothes really gets just as clean on the cold cycle as on the warm.