Many things about doing laundry have changed over the years, from high-efficiency washers to highly concentrated laundry detergent. By following some simple tips not only will you save money when doing laundry but you’ll also prolong the life of your clothes and your washer and dryer. Here are 15 ways to save money on laundry.
- It seems obvious but only wash clothes that are dirty. If you only wore something a few hours hang it up again and re-wear it. If you wore a sweater over a shirt don’t wash the sweater. It’s still clean.
- Hang your towels up properly so they can be reused for several days.
- Read the label on your laundry detergent and use the correct amount. Laundry detergent is highly concentrated now so the amount you use is greatly reduced. I measured out, per the instructions for my detergent, and for a small load (which I never run) it is only 2 tablespoons. If you have a high efficiency, front-loading washer and you see suds when your clothes are washing you are using too much soap. Or as a test throw in a load of dirty clothes with no soap. If you see any suds, your clothes are coated with soap residue, and you have been using too much soap. Read the label and check the cap measurements.
- Read the labels on your clothes and follow the instructions. Many things should only be washed in cold water. Unless you’re dealing with oily stains, the warm or cold water setting on your machine will generally do a good job of cleaning your clothes. Switching your temperature setting from hot to warm can cut a load’s energy use in half. Also by following the instructions your clothing will last longer.
- Wash anything with a design, whether embroidered, an applique, beading etc. inside out. The design will last longer.
- Read the instructions for your washer and dryer. This equipment is much more complicated than it used to be so you want to be familiar with all the settings. Also you should know how and when to clean it.
- Leave the door open on your front-loader after every load so it can dry. Clean the lint traps after every load and vacuum the dryer vent regularly.
- Run full loads but don’t overload the machine. It may be irritating that a few things on one color have been sitting around for a while but don’t be tempted to wash them alone. Wear some items in the same color family and then do a load.
- Use the correct soap for your machine. If you use regular detergent in a high efficiency washer not only will your clothes be coated with soap residue but you are overworking your machine.
- Wash your clothes for less time. Many machines now have “quick” load settings. Unless your clothes are really dirty they don’t need to be washed for 55 minutes.
- If it is at all practical line dry some or all of your clothes, whether with drying racks, hangers hung on the shower curtain rod or an old fashioned clothes line.
- Shake out your clothes, sheets, towels etc. before you put them in the dryer. If they’re all balled up it will take longer to dry them. Also check the dryer and shake them out during the cycle as they can become balled up again.
- Don’t over dry your clothes. All the lint in the trap is your clothing fibers. Check the dryer to see if it’s dry during the cycle.
- Skip the dryer sheets. They just coat everything with wax.
- When you replace your machines look for ENERGY STAR® and EnergyGuide labels. Per the Federal Government, “ENERGY STAR clothes washers clean clothes using 35% less water and 20% less energy than standard washers. ENERGY STAR clothes dryers use 20% less energy than conventional models. When shopping for a new clothes dryer, look for one with a moisture sensor that automatically shuts off the machine when your clothes are dry.”
One caveat to saving money on laundry: In some jurisdictions electric rates are lower outside of peak use times, such as overnight. Do not run your washing machine (or dishwasher) while you are sleeping. In the event there is a malfunction, by the time you wake up and discover it it may be too late and could negate any electric use savings many thousands of times over.