Are you letting money go down the drain with every load of laundry? Do you want to learn about 5 ways to cut the cost of doing laundry (and help clothing last longer)? Here’s how to cut laundry costs while also helping your clothes look better and last longer.
How to cut the cost of doing laundry
- Wash in Cold Water
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, up to 90 percent of the energy it takes to do a load of laundry is used to heat the water. Rinsing in hot or warm water doesn’t get clothes any cleaner—it just increases your monthly utility bills. Switching to cold water is the simplest way to save money.
There was a time when hot water was needed to dissolve powdered detergent, but then along came liquid laundry detergents. Today’s liquid laundry detergents are even more technologically advanced to get clothes just as clean in cold water as hot while reducing your utility bill. Plus, washing in cold water is gentler on fabrics and helps to prevent fading and shrinkage. However, did you know that all of the laundry soap recipes here on The Thrifty Couple site – powder or liquid, work well in an HE washer and work well in cold water? So save money on the detergent too by making your own!
- Recipe for sensitive laundry powder HERE
- Recipe for 5-minute liquid laundry soap HERE
- Recipe for powdered laundry soap with scent like Tide HERE
If you prefer to buy it, look for specially formulated cold water detergents. Don’t use more detergent than needed, especially in a high-efficiency (HE) washing machine, as it will cause over-sudsing.
- Select the Right Wash Settings
Size matters. Do full loads as much as possible to conserve energy. If you need to do smaller loads, select the smallest load setting for your load size to conserve water and decrease your water bill. When you’re washing lightly soiled clothing, choose the shortest wash setting.
- Don’t Over-Wash Clothing
Socks, underwear and workout clothes should be washed after every wearing. The same goes for clothes with food stains. But if you throw everything into the laundry hamper after wearing it just once, you’re wasting time, energy and money.
You’re also wearing out your clothes with too-frequent washings. Allow clothing to air, then put it away for another day. Re-wearing garments even once between washings will extend their life.
- Pre-Treat Stains
Taking the time to treat stains properly can mean the difference between getting an item clean the first time or having to re-wash it.
Most liquid detergents are effective at breaking up stains even in cold water. That said, it’s a good practice to pre-treat stains. You don’t need to buy a special pre-treater—just add a few drops of detergent to the stain, work it into the fabric and wash as usual. If you need something more than this, checkout this effective homemade stain remover spray.
For tough stains, such as grease or grass, dissolve an oxygenated stain remover with warm water, submerge the item in the mix and allow it to soak for an hour or more before washing. Let the item air dry after washing, as the concentrated heat of the dryer will set any residual stain.
- Don’t Over-Dry Clothing
To ensure peak performance of your dryer, make sure the dryer lint filter is clean before starting each load. If you use dryer sheets, wipe the lint filter clean with the used sheet when you empty the dryer. If you do use dryer sheets, get the most mileage you can by using your used dryer sheets for one of these 35 Ways to Reuse Dryer Sheets.
If your dryer is running hot or taking longer than usual to dry clothes, check and clean the dryer exhaust vent, hose and lint filter trap.
If your washer has an extra spin cycle, using it will decrease the amount of drying time (and energy) needed. Dry lightweight clothing on the permanent press or delicate setting. If you have the option, select sensor dry instead of timed dry to avoid over-drying.
Of course, the best way to avoid the expense of machine drying is to harness the energy of the sun and the wind by line drying. Your wallet and your clothes will thank you!
See more Frugal Living Tips
Guest post by Award-winning organizing and cleaning expert Donna Smallin Kuper is the author of a dozen best-selling books on uncluttering, organizing, cleaning and simplifying life. Currently writing for Home Depot, Donna is often quoted by the media and has been featured in Better Homes & Gardens, Real Simple and Woman’s Day. A variety of washers and dryers can be found online at Home Depot.