Saturday, April 28, 2018

Saving Money on Laundry

Laundry is one of those things that everyone has to do sooner or later. Let's discuss ways to save money while doing our own laundry. has a really neat laundry costs calculator located here: 

Laundry Costs Calculator

According to this website, in our home, it costs us 44¢ to do one load of laundry in the washer and 33¢ for 45 minutes in the dryer. We are on a well and do not pay anything for water, but our house is all electric, so we do pay to pump the water into the house. 

Make It Yourself

There are multiple ways to make your own laundry detergent. I don't make my own laundry detergent because we have enough laundry detergent, bought on sale and with coupons, to last us for a long time. 

I also don't make my own laundry detergent because of this article, Why you Should Stop Using Homemade Laundry Detergent. I read the article a long time ago and thought about this and realized how true it was. 

A bar of soap will leave soap scum in your bathtub and in order to be removed your tub will need to be cleaned and or scrubbed. 

The homemade laundry detergents made with soap will do that same thing to the insides of your washing machines and hoses and there is no way for you to get inside those hoses and clean that soap scum. This is why I steer clear of homemade laundry detergent. 

You can also save money by making your own homemade fabric softener and vinegar also makes a frugal fabric softener. We used to make and use the homemade softener, but don't use anything these days as it makes the cloth pads less absorbent. 

You can save money by making your own stain remover using one part Dawn dish washing detergent to two parts hydrogen peroxide along with some baking soda. This has gotten old stains out for me, so I keep it under the sink with a toothbrush for stubborn stains. 

Treating stains before washing helps to ensure the stain is removed and multiple washings are not necessary. 

There is also the stain remover recipe in The Tightwad Gazette you can use. 

Also, the University of Illinois had a stain solution guide on their website that can help with those stubborn stains. 

Other Ways to $ave on Washing

Take your clothes out of the washer right away. Letting clothes sit in the washer until you end up having to rewash them is a waste of time, energy, and water. Steer clear of this bad habit. 

Do your clothes need to be washed after every wearing? Check them and see if they can be worn more then once. Oftentimes, items like jeans and pajamas can go longer between washings. 

Hang your towel after bathing and showering, so it will dry and you can use it multiple times before needing to wash it again. 

Protect your clothing. Use cloth napkins and wear an apron when you're cooking in order to avoid any splashes on your good clothing. 

Back when I was growing up our neighbor was a great seamstress. She made herself a beautiful apron to wear over her good work clothes since she usually always started cooking the minute she came in from work. 

Use Less Everything

Always measure your detergent as it is too easy to overuse detergent. And, use less detergent than the laundry detergents experts call for and see how clean your clothes become. 

If you can get away with even less try that and see how low you can get it before you can tell the difference and then bump it back up again. Also, cut fabric softener sheets in half and they can be used more then once.

Wash Only Full Loads

Common sense tells us to wash only full loads of laundry to save the most money. If you have one or two items that need washing before laundry day, consider hand washing them and hanging them to dry. 

Wash in Cold Water

According to the U.S. Dept. of Energy, the hot water used to wash your clothes uses 90% of the electricity while only 10% of the energy is used to operate the washing machine motor. 

Switching to cold water can save the average person anywhere from $30 to $40 per year while washing full loads and can save more than 3,400 gallons of water per year. 

Dryer Savings

The best way to save money on drying clothes is to NOT use the dryer. 

Now I know that is impractical for some people, but one time I did state that  If my dryer broke down again I was not going to replace it. But, for those of us who do use a dryer, here are a few ways to save. Again most of these are common sense. 

Use the dryer less or for a short time to remove wrinkles and then hang your clothes on clothes hangers to finish drying.  

Use an outdoor clothes line or a shower rod indoors or a homemade drying rack. 

Laundry drying racks can be expensive unless you find them inexpensively. My solution until then is to use homemade drying racks like the one I made here using the backs of two chairs and two broom handles: 

If you do use the dryer to dry clothes and your machine has a moisture sensor use it to automatically turn your machine off when the clothes are dry. 

Make sure to clean your lint trap after each and every load. Your lint trap can be an important energy saver. If your lint trap is not clean it will take longer to dry your clothes, which will use more energy and cost your more money on your electric bill. 

Do you have other ways that help you save money on your laundry? Please share your tips and suggestions in the comment section, so we can all learn from each other. 
~ Living within our Means ~


  1. A great post. The only thing I'd add is be sure to include proper vacuuming/cleaning out of the dryer's exhaust vent which should be smooth sheet metal and never,ever those plastic "slinky" hoses sold. Yes, they are cheap-it's a case of buyer beware and know what you are buying. Lint gathers in all of the interior nooks/crannies and often is a source of dryer fires. At our last rental, the laundry was located on the top floor in a hall closet. I don't think the dryer vent was ever cleaned since it was installed in 2005. The dryer was original to the condo and took forever to dry. even though a natural gas run appliance, I found it to be pricey. I used clothes racks, opened the back sliders on nice days as HOA restricted outdoor laundry. @@ I happily own a clothes lines, in fact, there are 2 loads out there as I type!

    1. That is a great tip about the dryer exhaust vent, Carol. Thank you for adding it. That is one of those jobs that can be difficult to do (pulling the dryer out and getting to the hose, etc.) but is so necessary. That's great you have laundry already drying. We are doing ours today too.

  2. I live in an apt. building and pay for both the washer & dryer in the communal laundry room - and just this week the cost of both went up. I have already thought of a couple of ways that I'll be combining certain items in order to cut down on individual loads. My folding drying rack that I stand in my bathtub has more than paid for itself - I now only use the dryer for sheets & towels. At the moment the drying rack is full and I have a number of shirts & sweaters hanging over the shower bar on coat hangers - I'll iron things later today.
    When I do use the dryer I get 50 minutes for $1.50 and then each additional quarter gives me an extra 7 minutes - I juggle the laundry loads so that I can get 2 or 3 loads through the dryer for about $3.00 total. I look on it as a challenge!

    1. You've found a great solution to deal with and save money on your laundry, Margie. Way to go. :)

  3. In Phoenix we have to be careful with time of use or electricity charges are wild (3pm-8pm weekdays). Hardly anyone has gas here so I use the electric dryer and hot water as little as possible as you suggest. For most loads I put the clothes in the dryer on high for 10 min. with a dry, very old towel that doesn't shed lint. Then I hang everything on multiclip hangers on a closet pole in my small laundry room. We have very dry air here year round so even jeans get completely dry overnight, and nothing gets crunchy thanks to the short spin in the dryer (I don't use fabric softener). I use about 2Tbsp of powdered industrial detergent from Costco, lasts forever and will clean even red clay off baseball pants if you soak them for 48 hours.

    1. That's a great way to do laundry, All Day Mom. I would love to have clothes dry like that overnight. We live in the humid south, so it can take a while for things to line dry.

  4. Using dryer sheets or liquid fabric softener lessen absorbency of anything. Despite the harassment from others, I will not make my own detergent. I use 1/8 the amount that ALL suggests and things get very clean. I use pants hangers and regular hangers to hang all panties, pants, and tops in doorways. It's a good thing I live alone. I have a clothesline and a dryer. I use the dryer sparingly, usually. During allergy season, I ignore the clothesline completely.

    1. We do not hang our laundry out to dry either, Linda, due to allergies. We live in the middle of a forest on 40 acres and it's too hard on my daughter to hang it outside. Indoors is fine. I like how you hang yours in the doorways, that works great. Glad your use of ALL works for you, that's great.

  5. Today I did two loads of laundry and used the dryer for heavy items. I have a clothes rack that I keep in the shower stall.
    Thanks for the link to homemade laundry liquid , Belinda. I have been using homemade liquid for some of my clothes, because I'm very sensitive to the scent of storebought detergent. I don't want to ruin my clothes with accumulated soap scrum and dirt. Ugh! I think I have to find a completely unscented detergent.

    1. Best of luck on your search, Nil. I hope you can find something that works for you. I know what you mean about the scent of store bought detergent. It's very strong sometimes.

  6. The links you shared are keepers. Thanks.

    1. You're welcome, Anna. Aren't they great? I have a lot more reading to do on those. :)


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