Laundry. It’s a fact of life. Between detergent, fabric softener, electricity, water and maybe even some additional products you’ve bought, laundry costs can really add up. Here are the ways I personally save money on laundry.
The Smart and Frugal Path is an affiliate of eBay, which means if you decide to buy something from my link I will get a small commission for the referral, at no additional cost to you. This helps pay for the cost of keeping this site running. Links in bold are my recommendations. Those not in bold are eBay’s suggestions, not necessarily mine.
Make DIY Laundry Detergent.
This is HUGE savings! I’ve been making my own laundry soap for about a year and a half or more and I don’t think I’ll ever go back to buying it.
I make a very easy recipe that doesn’t involve grating soap or standing over a hot stove boiling water. You can find the recipe at One Good Thing by Jillie.
You simply combine Mule Team Borax and Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda,water and Dawn Dishwashing Liquid Original Scent Simply Clean (Non-Ultra Version). It is important to use Original Blue Dawn and NOT Ultra Dawn.
I use empty gallon milk jugs and make four or more at a time. I stick them all in my kitchen sink and use a funnel to measure each ingredient into the jugs. While I’m doing that I’m heating up the water in the microwave.
It’s super easy and quick! I can make four gallons in about 15 minutes, with most of that time spent waiting on water to get hot in the microwave.
Our laundry gets just as clean as it did when I used regular laundry detergent. It is also fine to use in HE washers as it is extremely low suds.
I like the fact I know what I’m putting into this detergent. Borax and the Super Washing Soda are both all natural, phosphate and fragrance free. Dawn is approved to clean wildlife in oil spills, so I figure it must be pretty safe also.
The best part is the savings! For around $30 you will have enough to keep you supplied for well over a year. I’m still using my first box of Borax and Super Washing Soda and am only on my second little bottle of Dawn. I’ve been doing this at least a year and a half and there are three of us making laundry, so it lasts a really long time. It’s literally pennies per load.
I could go on and on about this stuff, I love it so much!
Wash in Cold Water
The more hot water you use for laundry the more your hot water heater has to work, which shows up on your utility bill. I use cold water for everything except my load of underwear, socks, and towels. I use warm water on those. Your clothes will still get clean and your colors will stay bright longer. A simple switch that will save you.
Stop Buying Fabric Softeners
Fabric softener sheets are not good for your dryer or clothes and liquids just mean more chemicals. You really don’t need them. There are several options here.
- Don’t use anything. I often don’t use any softener at all. Depending on the season, you may or may not have some static.
- Use vinegar . I add 1/4 cup of vinegar in place of softener in the dispenser. Your clothes may smell a little like vinegar when you take them out of the wash, but by the time they are dry, they don’t smell like vinegar at all. Vinegar is cheaper than softeners.
- Make your own fabric softener. If you really like the fragrance in softeners you can make your own and save money. I used to do this before I realized I really didn’t need it. You simply combine 1 1/2 cups vinegar, 3 cups water and somewhere between 1/4 cup to 1 cup of your favorite scented inexpensive hair conditioner. The recipe I originally used called for 1 cup of conditioner, but I reduced mine and didn’t measure.
Make Your Own Dryer Balls
These will further eliminate the need for fabric softeners. They won’t damage your clothes as I’ve heard the ones with the little knobs on them can. I like the fact I was able to use my sons old socks. They’re not pretty, but they work. It’s been over a year since I made them and they’re still good as new with no signs of wear.
I used the instructions from this post on A Back To Basics Lifestyle.
They definitely help to reduce static and fluff things in the dryer. I pinned safety pins on to one of them as the metal discharges the static in the dryer. How cool is that?
A word of caution though. Make sure your safety pins have a tight closure and you go through as many layers as you can in the sock ball. I didn’t the first time and they came undone and were swallowed by the dryer. I’ll probably find them them when I take the vent hose off the back to clean it.
Clean Your Lint Trap After Every Load
Make sure you clean your lint trap after EVERY load in the dryer. Doing this will extend its life because it won’t have to work so hard. When you don’t clean the lint trap it also takes longer for your clothes to dry, which uses more energy. . . which costs you money. You should also give your lint trap screen a wash in the sink now and then for the same reason.
Hang Your Laundry To Dry
There’s something about using the sun to dry clothes on a line I just love. It’s natural and uses no energy plus it saves so much money! Last year my old clothes line finally broke and I had to replace all four lines. I thought I’d save money and buy cotton lines at Walmart on the cheap. BAD IDEA. They stretched and made the clothes hang low and broke within a month. I did some research and found this plastic coated wire clothesline and love it. It was super easy to bend and hang even though the wire is fairly heavy and strong. I also bought these clothesline cable tighteners to easily tighten it up when needed. It was also easy to figure out how to put them on the line.
This may not work if you live in a neighborhood that forbids it or you don’t have an outdoor space at all. That being said, I do know people that hang their clothes to dry in their garage even in winter. You could also hang it to dry in the house. String up clothes line wherever you can find the space.
While the initial cost of the clothes line and tighteners were about $50 for me, since I have four lines, after figuring out the savings, I knew it was worth it.
Currently, I hang our clothes in the spring and summer, but I’d be willing to experiment with doing it indoors year round. I have seen estimates this saves over $1.00 per load in electricity. We average 5 large loads of laundry a week. At $1.00 per load savings, we’d save $260 a year. Figured at $1.50 savings, $390. Even if I only hang our clothes six months out of the year, it is still over $100 in savings figured with the low estimate and these lines should last for years.
Wash Full Loads
It takes just as much electricity to run a small load as a large, so wait until you have a full load before washing if you can. If you pay for your water use, make sure you change the load size on your washer to reflect the actual amount of clothes you are washing. It’s easy to forget and then you’ve just washed a few things with more water than necessary.
Use Low Heat In The Dryer
If you can’t hang your clothes to dry and are going to use a dryer, use the low heat setting. Longer drying cycles on a low setting use less energy than high settings. It’s also easier on your clothes so they’ll last longer and there’s less risk of shrinkage.
Bonus: Tip #9
If you haven’t already, try to avoid ironing as much as possible. Sure, it might save a little money on energy costs, but more importantly, it’ll save you time! I’d much rather spend a few minutes hanging clothes to dry and making my own laundry soap than ironing. Yuck.
Don’t forget to subscribe if you haven’t already so you’ll get my new posts delivered to your email. That way you don’t have to remember to check back on your own.
I hope you’ll give some of these ideas a try. Let me know how they work for you.
What do you do to save on laundry costs? Drop me a line in the comments!