Either I am really, really dirty – or really, really clean – because I am constantly washing clothes, linens and bedding! So I’m always looking for ways to reduce laundry costs.
A few years ago, my old washing machine finally bit the dust – followed closely by the electric dryer. They had done their jobs well over the years, but each had a fairly small load capacity. One of the things I really hated was going to the laundromat to wash king-sized comforters, blankets and the throw rugs that wouldn’t fit in my own washer and dryer.
Get a decent washer and dryer
I ended up getting a front-loading Bosch washing machine, followed by the matching Bosch electric dryer. I had thought about a gas dryer, but it was going to be complicated to get it installed, so I stayed with electric.
The two machines were bought on sale (shop around, because these are not cheap machines!) and I absolutely love them. These are both Energy Star rated; the washer senses how much water is needed for the weight of the clothes; and the dryer has a moisture sensor that shuts off the machine when it detects they are dry.
Both have huge capacities, which means no more laundromat trips! King-sized comforters, blankets and throw rugs all fit. When I bought the washer, the salesperson said that it could easily wash 15 pairs of jeans in one load. (not that I have 15 pairs of jeans, but it gives you an idea of the capacity.)
Two great features on the washer are the hand wash setting and the wool setting. This means that I can wash all my delicates, wool sweaters, scarves, gloves and hand-knits in the washing machine. No more dry cleaner for those items! Once washed, I dry knit items on large, mesh sweater drying racks.
Use a cold water wash
Another way I reduce laundry costs is to wash everything in cold water. I have experimented a lot with this, and you know what? I see no difference between a warm and cold wash. So I might as well use the least expensive method, and wash in cold water.
Cheap soap powder works great!
When it comes to soap powder, my go-to is the store brand detergent from the grocery store. It has a very faint lemon scent (I don’t like perfumey smelling soap) and for $11, it comes in a 22 lb. bucket. And bonus – plastic bucket for gardening!
Also, when using the soap powder, I never use a full scoop of soap. Experiment for yourself by reducing the amount of soap you use little by little, and see when you notice a difference. I’m at 2/3 scoop of soap for a full load of clothes.
Use a clothesline
Now that the clothes are washed, I save a ton of money by using a clothesline. Seriously, once I started using one, I couldn’t believe the huge dip in my electric bill!
The clothesline I bought is an umbrella style, since I don’t want long rows of rope lines running across my back yard like my Mom had. I can fit sheets, towels, pillowcases, and all the laundry on it at once – about 3 loads.
To set up the clothesline, I didn’t want to dig a hole in the yard as recommended. Here’s what I did:
I have a 60″ large, round patio table with the hole in the middle for an umbrella (which I never use). I slid the aluminum pole that holds the clothesline through the hole in the table, into the umbrella holder under the table, then secured the pole into the sand-filled umbrella base under the table. Boom! Done! And now I also can use the patio table for folding clothes as I take them off the line, and to hold the basket of clothespins.
TIP: do not buy clothespins at the dollar store. Get good sturdy ones with decent spring clips. The cheap ones don’t hold clothes onto the line and the spring clips fall out.
In the winter, the clothesline is folded up (just like an umbrella!) and stored in the garage. I have to use the dryer for the larger items like sheets and drapes during the winter months, but the money I saved from using the clothesline from March/April to late November was so substantial, that I don’t mind. And since I wear a lot of wool sweaters in the winter, they are all being “hand washed” in the washing machine and dried flat on the racks.
I also have one fairly long clothesline in the basement laundry room that I use for comforters, towels and fabric yardage when I am prepping for a sewing project. This helps a little with cutting down on the dryer usage.
A clothes-drying rack is also in the basement for hand towels, cloth napkins and other small items. The rack works great for anything that isn’t a knit fabric, so T-shirts, sweatshirts and other knits go into the dryer – otherwise, they dry all stiff and crunchy.
Dry clean only clothes
I haven’t been to the dry cleaner in years! It’s SO expensive. For garments that are dry clean only, I use special dry cleaning sheets that are used in the clothes dryer. They work great and I save hundreds of dollars a year by cleaning those garments at home. Plus they smell a LOT better. Ugh. I hate that chemical smell from the commercial dry cleaner.
How do you reduce laundry costs?
Have you ever made your own laundry detergent? I have a few “recipes” saved in Pinterest, but haven’t tried it yet.