While we can’t eliminate laundry from your list of necessary housework items, we can help you save money on laundry with these frugal laundry tips.
Laundry can be as expensive or as inexpensive as you want it to be, depending on what measures you take to cut the costs. Not all tips are right for every family; just choose the ones you can work into your current system today and enjoy lower utility and laundry supply bills!
Here are 13 different ways to save on the cost of doing laundry, ranging from quick and easy to long-term solutions.
13 Ways to Save Money on Laundry Costs
1. Buy Energy Star rated appliances. That Energy Star emblem means they use less energy in a more efficient manner and will cost you less to use. When replacing old or worn out appliances, check first for the Energy Star on your replacement choices.
2. Cut dryer sheets in half. One box lasts twice as long when you cut the sheets in half. As soon as you open the box, break out the scissors and enjoy cutting your dryer sheet expenses by 50%!
3. Dilute laundry detergent in the bottle with water. Save your empty laundry detergent bottles. When you open a fresh one, pour half into the empty bottle. You now have 2 bottles half full of detergent waiting to be filled with water. You can fill water all the way to the top or 2/3 full, depending on the savings you want. Diluted detergent will get your clothing just as clean, and if you’re used to filling the cap (or your family members are), this trick will save you. Most of us use more detergent than recommended or necessary anyway.
4. Use less detergent and liquid fabric softener. Are you strong enough to skip the diluting and just use less? More power to you!
5. Clean the lint trap before every load of laundry. A clean lint trap lets your dryer work more efficiently and dry clothes faster. Spend the extra 20 seconds and empty it before you start the dryer. Plus, a clean lint trap cuts down the risk of a dryer fire – how about that!
6. Line dry your clothes. String up a line, buy some cheap wooden clothes pins, and you’re in business. Zero energy use and it costs exactly $0 to use.
7. Create a hybrid drying routine. Maybe you don’t like line drying because of the possible clothing stiffness. Maybe you can’t use a clothesline because of space limitations, like living in an apartment with no yard. If you can’t convert wholly to the clothesline method for whatever reason, create a hybrid routine that still has you using your electric dryer, but only half as much. Hang items to dry over shower curtain rods, hang from ceiling fans, or clotheslines for part of the time, dryer for the rest. Get soft clothes with half the energy use.
8. Do less laundry. Wear jeans more than once, use bath towels more than once. Sweaters and jackets can also be worn more than once if you wear them layered with a shirt underneath. Make sure you hang up clothes that can be worn again so that they’re not washed by mistake.
9. Double up 1/2 loads of laundry and only dry full loads. Put your half load of washed whites in the dryer and let them wait until your next half load is complete. Dry as one full load and cut the energy cost in half.
10. Dry loads back to back if possible to keep the dryer from heating up again (save time and energy).
11. Double spin clothes in the washer. After your washing machine is done, turn the knob to “Spin only” and spin the clothes a second time. The centrifugal motion (spinning) helps to get extra water out of the clothes, which in turn take less time to dry in the dryer.
12. Use vinegar in the wash instead of fabric softener (1/4 cup). Smaller loads need smaller amounts, unless you want to smell vinegar on your clean clothes! This cheap alternative to liquid fabric softener will save money on your laundry supply budget for certain.
13. Wash in the coldest temperature recommended for your clothes. Save your water heater from firing up to heat the water when possible. Cold wash temperatures will also help to preserve the fibers in the material of your clothing, meaning it won’t wear out as fast.
Frugal challenge: Choose a few of these great money-saving frugal laundry tips today, and see how much you can drive down your laundry expenses! Subscribe today to get more money-saving articles delivered to your for free.
Originally published June 26, 2008. Photos courtesy of MorgueFile.