Frugal Living 

Five Tips to Save Money on Your Laundry

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Holiday Coin LaundromatMy husband and I don’t usually embrace ultra-frugality for the sake of saving a buck or two.  But we will change our habits if the changes are easy or we can save a significant amount of money over time.  When we realized we were doing more than 5 loads of laundry a week for two people, we decided to try out a few things (homemade laundry detergent did not make the cut).  Some suggestions worked very well but others were complete flops.  Here are a few tips we have come up with to save some money and time on laundry.

Laundry Tip #1 – Use Cold Water

I didn’t think that using cold water instead of hot water would change anything at all, but I was surprised.  We have an all-electric house, which means our water heater is electric too.  When we switched from doing all of our laundry with hot water to doing 90% of it with cold water instead, we saw our bills drop $5 – $10 a month.  It apparently does take more energy than I would have expected to heat all of that water up.  And a big bonus is that my shirts and towels don’t seem to be fading as quickly either!

Laundry Tip #2 – Do Full Loads

Most washers and dryers use about the same amount of energy running a small load of laundry as they do running the larger ones.  Given that, it stands to reason that you can save money on energy by consistently combining small loads into one larger load or waiting until you have a large load to run.  I’ve done this for as long as I can remember out of sheer laziness, so I am glad it helps save us money too.

Laundry Tip #3 – Re-wear Certain Clothes

No, please do not re-wear your stinky undergarments, but why wash a pair of pants that you only wore for a few hours while sitting around?  Unless I am doing something other than sitting in my cubicle or computer all day, I wear my outer layers of clothing several times before bothering to wash them.  This goes completely unnoticed by myself and others (I hang out with guys that would love to tell me if I was stinky).  It easily saves me the time and money of doing an extra load of laundry every week.

Laundry Tip #4 – Reuse a Towel

I was astounded to hear that a few of my friends use a new towel every, single day.  I thought that only hotels did stuff like that.  I was raised to use the same towel multiple times or you would get yelled at for causing more work!  Unless you get a ton of personal satisfaction from that new towel “feel”, I would highly suggest using the same one for at least 3-5 days before moving on.  That would lead to way less laundry and you will get that fresh towel scent the entire time.

Laundry Tip #5 – Avoid Dry-Clean-Only

It seems like common sense, but I was not in the habit of checking my clothing labels before buying something until I started doing my own laundry as a teenager.  Now, I stick with solely machine-washable daily wear that is wrinkle free out of the dryer as well.  Not only do I save a ton of fees from dry cleaners, but I also have never used an iron for anything other than making grilled cheese sandwiches in college.

Looking over my list, I realize I sound like a classic guy.  But take it from a late-twenties lady, these laundry tips may not make you a millionaire, but they are easy to do and save you time to boot.  Saving a few bucks every month is just a big bonus in my opinion.

What other laundry tips do you have to help save time and money?

(Photo: springfieldhomer)

{ 25 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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25 Responses to “Five Tips to Save Money on Your Laundry”

  1. Daniel says:

    I also recently found out that some people don’t reuse towels! In my family that’s unheard of. Now, I swap once a week on average.

  2. Jeremy Olexa says:

    I can’t believe “hang dry clothes” was not on here. I never use the dryer machine.

  3. zapeta says:

    We air dry a lot of clothes, especially in the summer. No need to have the air conditioner and dryer fighting each other.

  4. daenyll says:

    I have used drying racks and even been known to jury rig a clothesline from doors in apartments ever since college. I always hated freshman year throwing stuff in the coin laundry downstairs and coming back an hour later to find that I wasted over a buck on a broken dryer (or some jerk opened it up and wasted the money for me on a machine that did work)

  5. Wilma says:

    I was taught to use your towel for at least a week. Your clean when you get out of the shower. I also take a quick rinse off type shower before bed to save me from having to wash my bed sheets so often. I never use the dryer for clothes. Drying racks for indoors and clothes lines for outside in nice weather. Rewearing certain clothes is also a good saver. Although I haven’t been converted to cold water washing. I go for warm wash/cold rinse. Haven’t tried the homemade laundry soap yet.

  6. Rusty Kean says:

    Keep that dryer vent CLEAN,,the cleaner, the easier it is on energy. ALWAYS clean the duct work leading outside for the same reason.

  7. Jared says:

    One more tip I’ll add. Use less detergent! It sounds odd, according to this WSJ article, most Americans use too much per load. Counterintuitively, too much detergent can leave your clothes more dirty, and it causes more wear & tear on the washing machine.

    • ziglet19 says:

      Yes! I always use less than the recommended amount, and my clothes come out clean. I don’t like when my hubby does the laundry, because he uses abougt twice as much soap as needed (ughhh). Good tip though, it works well for me!

  8. Jim says:

    Another tip I did not see listed – use less laundry soap than what is recommended. Will not add up to a lot of money, but it will save some.

    I use 1/2 to 1/3 of what is suggested and my wash is just as clean.

    • skylog says:

      it is also a good point that the suggested amount of soap is simply too much. the soap does not completely come out with the rinse cycle.

  9. govenar says:

    I use the same bath towel for a week or so. (I switch hand towels more often though, since they tend to get too wet to be useful, vs. bath towels that have all day to dry before their next use.)
    And I wear the same pants for at least a week.

  10. Shirley says:

    Towels tend to be scratchy or hard rather than soft and fluffy when they are hung outside to dry. I put them in the dryer for just 5 minutes and then hang them out and the scratchiness is gone.

    In the winter I hang them folded in half lengthwise over a coat hanger in an inside doorway after the dryer treatment. Bonus here: when dry they are already halfway folded. (grin)

  11. jb says:

    Dermatologists recommend changing your towel every day to reduce breakouts – bacteria grow in a damp towel, and you spread that over your body when toweling off.

    At least my Dermatologist recommends that to her patients, YMMV.

  12. Amy Saves says:

    wow, people use a new towel every single day? crazy! I reuse my towels and I don’t wash my jeans till they are dirty. At least a few weeks!

  13. BlogShag says:

    I started using a towel every single day when I moved out on my own, My towels get smelly after three days, so I won’t use towels any longer than that. And if you think about what gets on towels from normal use, it’s pretty disgusting

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