How to reduce laundry costs is not something that is at the forefront of someone’s mind when they think about saving money, but let’s break it down. Every time you do a load of laundry, you’re paying for the energy to run the washer and dryer, you’re paying to heat the water, you’re paying for the amount of water used, you’re paying for the detergent, and you’re paying for any additional products used such as fabric softener, dryer sheets, etc. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average American family goes through 400 or more loads of laundry per year, which means you could be spending up to $600 a year just on keeping your clothes and linens clean.
So how can you easily slash those expenses? Here’s some surefire ways that you can start implementing today:
Use High-Efficiency Appliances
I’m gonna go ahead and get this one out of the way, because I know most of us aren’t in a position to rush out and buy new fancy high-efficiency appliances. But if you’re furnishing a new home or are already in the market for a new washer and dryer, the savings you’ll accumulate from using a higher efficiency model are significant, from around 20 cents per load (cold water and inexpensive detergent) to up to $1.20 per load (hot water and more expensive detergent).
Wash Clothes During Off-Peak Hours
Many utility companies will offer lower rates on energy usage for off-peak hours. Since large appliances like washers and dryers can use a significant amount of energy, this can lower your monthly bill. Check with your utility company to confirm what they consider to be on-peak and off-peak hours and try to schedule your laundry times accordingly.
Use Cold Water
Unless I’ve got some heavy duty stains going on – things like caked on food, mud, grass stains, or potty accidents from my children – I always use cold water to wash our clothes. It gets the job done just fine and you’ll save money without having to have your water heater chug along to warm up all of that water.
Wash Only Full Loads
I try to only do laundry when I can fill the washing machine with clothes. I use a sectioned laundry hamper like this one so I can keep things sorted the week goes on and easily see when I have enough clothes to do a full load. Washing full loads means less water usage and less electricity usage.
Use The Shortest Cycle
This has the double benefit of being easier on your clothing fabrics and also saving energy… time, too! Again, with clothing that isn’t heavily soiled, short cycles do just fine.
Make Your Own Detergent
Blogger Liz Marie shares a stupid easy recipe for DIY laundry detergent that costs around $13 and a single batch will last you up to a year! If you think about how much you spend on laundry detergent per month, especially if you have a lot of people and/or kiddos in your home, making your own detergent can add up to big savings!
Use Vinegar Instead of Fabric Softener
Yep, it’s true! You can use vinegar in place of fabric softener and save yourself the expense of buying the store bought kind. Vinegar will remove detergent residue from the clothes, soften the fabric, and it’s great if you have any sensitivities to scents or deodorants used in most commercial softeners. Oh, and don’t worry, it won’t leave your clothes smelling like vinegar. Here’s how to do it!
Dry Your Clothes By Hanging Them
This is another tip that I know just isn’t feasible for everyone. It’s just not realistic for me to be able to hang all of our clothes to dry because A: we have two kids that create mountains of laundry, B: I have nowhere that makes sense to hang a clothesline, and C: I live in an area that’s crazy humid in the summer and that gets a lot of rain. What I try to do instead is use indoor folding clothing racks, like this one, to dry my more delicate clothes.
Clean The Lint Filter… a lot.
So if you can’t hang up your clothing to dry, there are a few things you can do to make sure your dryer is operating at its most efficient level. Always clean out the dryer filter before every single load that you dry so that your dryer can get your clothes dry in a shorter amount of time. Also, most people don’t know that you should also check the external dryer vent on the outside of our home. Make sure that there’s nothing obstructing the vent (like weeds) and that there is no lint or anything else built up inside of it.
Shake Out Your Clothes Before Drying
If you’re like most people, you probably take the wrinkled up balls of wet clothes out of your washer and chuck them straight into the dryer. At least that’s what I used to do. But by shaking out the clothes first, you increase the surface area so that more air comes into contact with the fabric and helps them dry faster.
Remove Clothes Before They Are Totally Dry
Over drying your clothes not only wastes energy but also causes additional shrinkage and unnecessary wear and tear on your clothes. Many dryers have moisture sensors in them and allow you to select the level of moisture to allow in the clothes before shutting off. I like to take my clothes out when there’s just a perceptible amount of dampness to them when I feel them, but not enough to cause wrinkling or mildew problems.
How many loads of laundry do you do per week? Have you ever thought about making small changes like these to save money on laundry?