Friday, August 26, 2011

Laundry on the Cheap

I love finding new ways to save money, even if its not something I can see at a register when I'm checking out. Laundry is one household chore I have learned a few tricks to bring down my cost per load. Keep reading to find out how!

1. I try not to pay more than $1.50 for a 50 load jug of detergent (that's 3 cents per load listed on the jug). And have even gotten it for cheaper when I'm lucky! My dad also makes lye soap. I'm not sure how much it costs to make and what that comes down to per load, but I plan to write up a post about it soon!

2. Use half the "recommended" amount of detergent. My clothes still come out just as clean and fresh smelling. If you want them to smell even fresher, look into Downy Unstopables. I'm not sure that it is in the stores yet or how much it costs, but I was lucky enough to review it and loved using it on my towels.

3. Only do full loads of laundry. This saves on the energy used to run your machine. If you're running two "small" loads, you're using twice the energy that you would use to run one "large" load.

4. Use cold water whenever possible. The tags on the clothes may say "machine wash warm" or "hot," but they can still be washed in cold. It saves on your gas bill when your water heater has less water to use and heat. *One note: While you can wash "warm/hot" clothes in "cold" I would not recommend doing it the other way around. Hot water is typically harder on clothes and colors than cold water is.*

5. Air dry your clothes. If you have a home with a yard where you can put up a clothes line, go for it! (Though in states like Minnesota, you won't be able to use it year-round, but you'll still reap the savings!) If you live in an apartment or townhouse (like us) get a clothes drying rack. They're collapsible and can fit behind a door out of the way when not in use. There are so many benefits to air drying that I'm not sure where to start...

a. You save money on your electric bill. I would highly, highly recommend air drying in the summer. If you have the air conditioner running, then turn on the dryer, you will not only be using energy to run the dryer, but then the air conditioner will be working harder to keep the house cool. That's bringing up your electric bill!

b. You get that "fresh off the line" smell! If you're using a drying rack indoors, I often will set up a fan blowing on the laundry (costs less to run than the dryer), and it will make the whole house smell laundry fresh!

c. It can save you time. I will put the hubbs' shirts on hangers that would normally get hung up anyway. I hang them in the doorway, and when they're dry, he can put them away! :) I'm only handling his clothes once then instead of twice. *Note for those of you that want to try this: It helps to gently remind him that his clothes are dry and ready to be put away.

Do I have you convinced yet to go buy a clothes drying rack? I love mine and rarely use the dryer anymore (only when the hubbs tells me he needs something clean and dry to wear right away do I use the dryer). Before we got married, I read reviews of different clothes drying racks to find one to register for. I wanted one big enough to fit an entire load of laundry (like when I was bedding), collapsible (most are), and sturdy. I read a lot of reviews that said the store-bought ones weren't very sturdy and the bars would break or whatnot. Then my mom told me that my Godmother's husband makes and sells sturdy wooden ones. She suggested I ask her about it, and guess what we got for a wedding gift! If you are interested in one, they charge $75. Just leave your email* as a comment to this post, and I will contact you. Or if we are friends on Facebook, you can send me a message there. Otherwise, on Amazon they range from around $20 for a small plastic one to $50 for a slightly larger, part wood, part plastic type.

*To avoid spam leave it in the form "name (at) gmail (dot) com"


Denise said...

This might be a good place to leave the directions for making home made laundry soap.

Sarah Gibson said...

I was hoping to post that as another blog post at some point... but I don't have grandpa's & now dad's secret directions! ;)