Frugal Living 

5 Ways to Slash Your Laundry Costs

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LaundryWhile laundry is much easier to do now than it was 100 years ago, the modern conveniences like a washer and dryer and commercial detergent can add up over time. If you have a large family or live in an apartment and have to use the Laundromat, you will see your costs increase even more. However, just a few easy changes to your routine can add up to significant savings over the course of a year.

Make Your Own Laundry Detergent—This sounds more difficult than it is. If you are going for an easy recipe, try making your own powdered laundry detergent. A simple recipe is 2 cups finely grated soap (Fels Naptha or Ivory soap), 1 cup washing soda and 1 cup Borax. Mix together and use 2 tbsp. per laundry use; this makes enough for 64 loads. Using this recipe, you are looking at paying less than .03 cents per load.

If you would like to make liquid laundry soap instead, it is a bit more work but still easy enough. The Duggars, parents of 19 children, certainly have experience with washing a lot of laundry, and I imagine they make their own laundry detergent. While the cooking process may be a bit messy, you don’t have to do it that often if you make a large batch of the laundry detergent.

Hang dry your laundry. Years ago, everyone used to dry their clothing outside. That is forbidden in many cities now, but there are still ways you can dry your laundry. Because we live in an apartment and pay $1 per wash load and $1 per dryer load, hang drying our laundry cuts our laundry machine costs in half. We invested in a sturdy laundry drying rack and have it in our basement; our clothes dry within a matter of hours in the summer and in about 12 hours in the winter.

Find alternatives to the dry cleaner. Dry cleaning costs can add up quickly. There are many strategies you can utilize to cut these costs including buying clothing that doesn’t require dry cleaning and using home dry cleaning systems that you can use in your dryer. I used those home kits when I had to wear professional clothes and never had a problem.

Buy an energy efficient washer and dryer. When the time comes to replace your current washer and dryer, switch to a more energy efficient model. Many families run at least a load of laundry a day; using an energy efficient model that uses less electricity and water can lead to real savings over the course of a year.

Wash clothing on cold.  Wash on cold, and your water heater won’t have to expel energy to heat the water. Washing on hot can also set stains in your clothing; if you miss a stain and run the garment through the load on cold, you can always treat it and wash again; that is not likely to help if you ran the load on hot.

There is no way to get around some laundry expense, but that can be reduced dramatically with just a few strategies. Best of all, many of these strategies are also better for the environment.

What are your favorite tips to save money on laundry?

(Photo: mysza)

{ 14 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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14 Responses to “5 Ways to Slash Your Laundry Costs”

  1. cvargo says:

    when buying a box of dryer sheets that has 500 I cut the box in half and presto i now have 1000 dryer sheets.

    • Lei Lani says:

      And the dryer sheets, after they are used in the dryer, can be used to clean the tub and sink (really good for removing soap scum).

    • Melissa says:

      We always do this too because we still do dry things like towels. The box lasts forever!

  2. elloo says:

    Don’t use dryer sheets except for towels. Just fluff clothes on air dry. You can moisten them a bit to reduce wrinkles.

  3. lostAnnfound says:

    I take the used dryer sheets and put them in the bottom of trash cans and also stuff them under the couch & chair cushions for a little freshening up.

  4. lostAnnfound says:

    Also in wintertime we put the drying rack in the family room near the pellet stove to dry them and also to put some moisture back into the house.

  5. I usually run the dryer for about 10 minutes and then hang everything but towels and boxers. It’s amazing how fast things dry in my hist garage!

    A little toss helps things get less wrinkles and not end up as stiff!

  6. Manoj says:

    It is really good instruction

  7. Shirley says:

    Because I was curious about making liquid laundry detergent i found the Duggar recipe mentioned in this post.

  8. Debra Pratt says:

    I have also used soapberries. soapberries, or soapnuts, are an ecologically sound, Earth friendly alternative for cleaning your laundry. Chemical and fragrance free,soapberries are a natural form of laundry detergent. They are actual berries from trees that grow in India and contain saponin. Saponin is a cleaning agent.

  9. Bev says:

    I have made the liquid soap using the Duggar’s recipe. It works very well and the cost is very small–it made approximately $80 worth of soap for under $4. I still have ingredients left from the first batch so the second batch will only cost $2.

  10. huskervolleyball1 says:

    There is a $1.99 per piece dry cleaner–big savings. But to make it even sweeter I found an unlimited coupon for $1.59 per item. Wowsa!

  11. Great ideas. Of course the old stand by is to wait till the load is full and read the label to use ONLY the amount of detergent recommended.

  12. leon says:

    when hanging clothes in the baement on the dryer rack or clothes lines try putting a fan in front of the clothes a good fan is one that rotates from left to right it will cover a larger area, aslo the air movement wil help take wrinkes out it works and saves a lot on the dryer,and your electric bill remember the hot dryer will shrink some clohing

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