How to Save Money Doing Laundry

by Guest Contributor · 7 comments

Some people have a love hate relationship with Laundry. On the one hand there is something very satisfying about looking at a pile of sweet smelling clothing all folded up and put away; on the other hand, it never seems to end. Doing laundry is a regular endeavor for most people, teenagers aside, but the expense can eat into your budget. Here are some simple suggestions to help you cut costs, but still get the job done right.

Sort, Fill and Chill

Just because you wore something doesn’t necessarily mean it needs washing, so sort the clean from the dirty. When I grew up, we had school clothes and play clothes, and school clothes didn’t get washed much. Today, with the convenience of a washing machine in every home we think we need to wash something just because it was worn.

Jeans and blouses, barring hot weather or food stains, can surely be worn twice. Sweatshirts are usually worn over something else; they don’t need a trip through the machine each time. Things like socks and underwear should be washed after every wear, but bras can usually go a couple of days.

Fill you machine each time you use it. Front loading machines use less water and power, but even they should be truly full before run. While many people prefer to spend less money on detergent by purchasing store brands, some brands do a much better job than others. Check out the consumer rankings and pick one of the better soaps. Better soaps translate into fewer re-washings. Any brand of bleach is fine.

Use cold water whenever possible. I only use hot when I am washing sheets and towels. Pre-treat stains at least 30 minutes in advance of washing. These solutions help break down oils so they wash out better. You can also try adding half a cup of white vinegar to your wash for improved softness.

Drying Out Expenses

Running an electric dryer is expensive and uses a lot of energy. The sun and air are free. Spend a few dollars to purchase a drying rack and hang dry most of your clothes. Keep the dryer for large items like sheets and towels, and, if you really can’t stand the feel of air dried undies, toss them in as well. You can also try adding half a cup of white vinegar to your wash for improved softness.

If you can, incorporate a standard hanging pole in your laundry area. Use plastic hangers to avoid rust and wood stains and hang up your shirts and pants. This makes for less ironing, if you are the ironing type.

Dryer sheets are pricey and you can make your own. Pour liquid fabric softener into a spray bottle and spray 4-5 times on a damp piece of flannel or washcloth and toss it in with your clothes; much cheaper and still effective.

The best thing about cold washing and air drying your clothes, by the way, is the fact that they stay new looking for much longer. The heat and abuse clothing takes in the process of being laundered accounts for a significant portion of their wear and tear. By saving money while doing laundry, you also reduce the quantity of clothing you need to replace.

How About You

What tips and tricks do you have to save money on laundry?

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  • Dominic says:

    Keeping the lint tray in the dryer clear has really helped save money per month. Of course, getting the kids to do it every time has been a challenge.

  • Roxie says:

    I bought two plastic balls for $5 at Walmart several months ago. They work wonderfully as softeners. I only have to use dryer sheets when I dry large objects such as sheets. Even then, I only use a quarter sheet.

    When the weather is warm, I dry everything possible on the clothesline. Turn dark clothes inside out to prevent fading.

  • Joe says:

    Your idea about the sun and air being free is a great one… with one exception – many municipalities have restrictions of such “eye sores” being present on one’s property. And if you live in a neighborhood with a home-owner’s association, you have very little chance of setting up clothes line or hanger… 🙁

  • Cd Phi says:

    Right- I don’t exactly need to wash a jacket that I wear for a couple hours every single time. Instead, I’ll wear it twice and then wash it. Also, certain things really don’t require being dried in the dryer so I do like to hang my things to dry as well.

  • Lulu says:

    I use ammonia in my wash water instead of vinegar…. I have a drying rack (live in an apartment) and just hang the clothes up on that. I also hang my shirts and blouses on plastic hangers to cut the need for ironing. Excellent post.

  • Lilly Spencer says:

    Thanks for sharing these tips on saving money. Even doing some jobs yourself can save a lot of money. I have found some more tips on saving money at

  • Jane Spain says:

    Did you know that black coffee removes stains from dark clothing? My Mom taught me this. If you have grease stains, use butter on the stain, for some reason this will remove or affect the grease stain and then will launder out easily.

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