The average family washes 5 loads of laundry a week for a total of 50 pounds of laundry weekly. When you consider the amount of water, energy, and supplies it takes to wash that much laundry, it’s no surprise that laundry is one of the costliest chores around the house.
If you’re like most people, it’s also your least favorite chore, making it even worse that it’s so costly.
Fortunately, with a few simple steps, you can cut down your laundry costs which may help you hate the chore just a little less.
1. Stop Using Hot Water
90% of the energy costs you pay to run the washer are to heat the water, but today it’s unnecessary. Today’s detergents work better in cold water, making it unnecessary to use hot water, which means lowering your utility costs for running the washing machine.
Read the label on your laundry detergent. Most today recommend NOT using hot water unless the item is highly greasy or soiled.
2. Use Less Detergent
We’re all programmed to load up on the laundry detergent because that’s what gets our clothes clean, right?
You could be doing more harm than good to your clothes AND you’re wasting money. Read the label on your laundry detergent. You might be surprised to see the recommendations are much less than what you’ve been using.
If you aren’t convinced, run some clothes in the washer with no detergent. If you see suds, your clothes have soap residue which means you’re using too much soap.
3. Try Generic Laundry Detergent
Did you know that most generic products are the same product as the name brands just with a different label?
If you don’t want to just pay for a label, try generic laundry detergent. This may take a little trial and error until you find a store brand you like, but chances are they will clean just as well as the name brand.
If you have extra stinky clothing or want a laundry booster, add ½ cup of baking soda to your loads. It costs only pennies to do and still allows you to use generic laundry detergent.
4. Use Different Settings on your Dryer
Don’t assume you must use the preset settings on your dryer for every load. You might be drying your clothes for longer than necessary, aka wasting money.
Play with the settings to find the least amount of time you can dry your clothes. On many dryers, the timed setting is best because you can set it for the least amount of time needed to dry your clothes.
You can also do a combination of air drying and finishing off the clothes in the dryer for the last few minutes to get them perfectly dry and to get rid of any wrinkles.
5. Hang Clean Clothes up Right Away
It’s probably the one part of laundry people hate the most, but not hanging clean clothes right away can cost you money. As you go on with your week, the lines between clean and dirty laundry become blurred and before you know it you’re washing clothes that you never wore but you aren’t sure if they are clean or dirty.
Set a time each week to put all the laundry away that you washed and enlist the family’s help too. This way you only pass what’s truly dirty and save money.
6. Set your Washing Machine on the Shortest Cycle
Don’t assume you have to wash your clothes on the longest cycle. Typically the shortest cycle is plenty unless you have soiled clothes. You’ll save money on water and you’ll have to dry the clothes for less time because they won’t be as soaked, saving you money on your energy bills too.
7. Don’t Wash Just a Few Items
It can be tempting to throw just one thing that you need into the wash, but you’re wasting money. The washing machine and dryer use the same amount of energy whether you run a full load or one piece of clothing.
Instead of washing one or two things, wait until you have a full load. Try doing laundry on the same day each week so you have enough time to accumulate a full load and make the most of your energy and water use as well as your time.
8. Use Dryer Balls
Wool dryer balls can take the place of dryer sheets. Like dryer sheets, they reduce static cling, but they also cut down drying time, which saves you money on your laundry. Wool dryer balls separate your laundry, giving the air more room to circulate which means shorter drying time.
You can buy a pack of dryer balls for around $10 and reuse them for several months. Read the directions on the dryer balls you purchase to see how often they should be replaced or how many you should use in your dryer.
If you’re worried about having a fresh, clean scent, you can add your favorite essential oils to your dryer balls too.
9. Switch Laundry Fast
If you’re doing multiple loads of laundry, don’t let too much time pass between loads. If you switch wet clothes to a warm dryer, they will dry faster, reducing the energy you use when drying your clothes.
Set a timer so you don’t forget and switch loads as quickly as possible to reuse the energy and avoid excessive energy bills.
10. Make your Laundry Detergent
If you don’t like what’s in commercial laundry detergent or you just want to save money on laundry, make your detergent.
With just a few ingredients, you can make detergent that is just as effective as the store-bought version but is safer for you and your family and costs less.
11. Do Laundry during ‘Non-Peak’ Hours
Find out from your electric and gas company when the non-peak hours are in your area. In most cases, non-peak hours are early in the morning during the summer and at night in the winter.
Make it a habit to do your laundry during these times to keep your utility bills down.
12. Use the Spin Cycle on your Washer
If your washing machine has an extra spin cycle, use it. While it will take a little longer to finish the cycle, you’ll have dryer clothes to throw into the dryer. It’s more expensive to run the dryer for longer periods than it is to run an extra spin cycle on your washer.
13. Shake out your Clothes and Towels
Before you throw your clothes and towels into the dryer, shake them out. This eliminates any excess moisture and reduces the time they need to be in the dryer.
14. Air Dry your Clothes
If you have the time, skip the dryer altogether and air dry your clothes. Set up a clothesline in your basement, outside, or even if your laundry room if it’s large enough and hang your clothes to dry.
15. Keep your Washer and Dryer Clean
Once a week, clean your washing machine with vinegar. You’ll just run a normal cycle without clothes in it and no detergent. The vinegar will kill any germs inside the washing machine and make it work more efficiently.
Also, make sure to clean out the lint trap on your dryer. Don’t just take the lint screen out and brush it off, get a lint cleaning brush and get down into the trap to remove all the lint. Not only will this make your clothes dry faster but it will reduce the risk of starting a fire too.
FAQs – How to Save Money on Laundry
When should I do laundry to save money?
Typically early morning at night is the best time to do laundry to save money but check with your utility companies. Depending on where you live, the energy costs are higher at different times of the day. Using non-peak hours to do your laundry can save you quite a bit of money each year.
What is the most efficient way to do laundry?
Always wait for a full load, never run just a partial load. Wash the clothes in the coolest setting allowed and add an extra spin cycle to reduce the moisture. Hang dry the clothes if you can. If not, dry them on the lowest setting possible and for the least amount of time. Remove the clothes from the dryer immediately and put them away so they don’t get mixed up with dirty laundry without getting worn.
How often should you wash your clothes?
Most people, in general, wash their clothes too often. This not only racks up your energy bills but also puts more wear and tear on your clothing. As a general rule, wash your shirts after 2 wears, pants after 3 and you might even get 4 or 5 wears out of denim jeans before they need to be washed.
Should I turn the clothes inside out before I wash them?
If you have dark clothing or clothing that’s prone to fading, turning them inside out may make them last longer. While this might not save you money on laundry, it will save you money on clothing since you won’t have to replace your clothing as often.
Final Thoughts – Surprising Laundry Saving Tips
It’s possible to save money on laundry and even make it easier on yourself. Consolidate your loads, do them only during non-peak hours and enlist the help of the family to get the laundry put away immediately.
These tips and playing around with the type of detergent you use, the amount you use, and using more natural ways to dry your clothes can help keep your laundry costs down.