Almost everyone looks for ways to save money around the house after the bills get paid. Some bills stay the same every month, but others change depending on what needed to get done that month. The electricity bill is a major player that can be hard to estimate before it arrives. Want to know a big way to save money without cranking your thermostat up to 80 degrees this summer? Be more frugal with your laundry habits.
Changing how you do laundry will save you money up front in the store and in the long run with your bills. Read on to learn some easy tips you can use to change how you do laundry, starting today.
1. Wait for Bigger Loads
How big are your current laundry loads? You may think it’s smarter to do small loads to conserve on the length of each machine cycle, but that’s not necessarily true. If you wait to do the biggest loads possible, you’ll minimize how often you use your machine each week. That conserves detergent, energy and water.
2. Use Cold Water
When you’re washing sheets after one of your kids is sick, it’s a good idea to use hot water to kill any remaining germs. Any other time you’re doing laundry, you should stick to using cold water. Setting your washing machine to only use cold water will cut its energy consumption in half. Get the most out of this temperature by looking into detergents that are made specifically to wash clothes in cold water.
3. Make Your Own Dryer Balls
Many people buy laundry sheets regularly to give their clothes that extra freshness once they’re done in the dryer, but the cost for laundry sheets adds up. Save money instead by making your own dryer balls. They’ll last a lot longer than a sheet you can only use one time. They also won’t have any of the chemicals in them that mass-produced dryer sheets will. Saving yourself money and limiting the chemicals that are allowed in your home? That’s a double win.
4. Share Utility Drains
If your laundry room is located near a sink, you can make your sink and washing machine drain into the same pipe. This minimizes potential plumbing problems by narrowing down which plumbing is used most often. After you combine both drainage pipes, just keep an eye out for when the sink gets backed up while the washing machine drains. If this happens, a plumber can quickly fix the problem, instead of having to charge double to check both drainage pipes.
5. Buy a Laundry Rack
The washing machine and dryer probably run often if you have a large family, and you may catch yourself wishing that you didn’t have to use them so often. Buying a laundry rack will make that wish would come true. Take clothes out of the washing machine and hang what you can on the rack, so they get naturally dried. You’ll spend less time stressing about how many times you’ve run the dryer and what each load adds up to.
6. Skip the Dryer or Dry Cleaner
Looking to make a huge cut in your bills? Skip the dryer altogether. Dryers consume up to 5000 watts of energy with each cycle, potentially costing $10 per load. For those who use their dryer continuously, that’s some major money you could save by choosing not to use your dryer. Instead, hang clothes on multiple racks or a laundry line. Depending on what type of clothes you are working with, you may even want to follow this 3 step de-wrinkling guide for your finer fabrics like suits or more formal options. They’ll take a bit longer to dry, but it’ll be completely free.
7. Purchase Generic Brands
People tend to buy the same products that they’ve used for a long period of time. They trust that the product will get the job done, but the generic brands can wash your laundry just as well. Name brand products charge more because they extensively market their products. They’re investing in consumer brand loyalty, but that doesn’t mean they’re your only option.
The next time you’re at the store, compare the brand you like with a generic brand of the same product. Take a look at their ingredient lists and you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that they’ll use the exact same ingredients to produce detergent. Save an extra couple bucks by buying generic. You won’t be able to tell a difference in your finished laundry because you won’t miss out on quality.
8. Make Your Own Detergent
You might walk away from comparing detergent ingredients with an uneasy feeling. There aren’t many recognizable ingredients in those lists, but you can always switch to a homemade detergent if you’d rather not buy those products again. Making your own laundry detergent gives you the power to choose what actually cleans your clothes. You can switch scents whenever you want and give your clothes a uniquely clean smell that no store-bought detergent will provide. Make a large amount in one sitting and you won’t have to worry about replacing your detergent for a long while.
9. Replace Fabric Softener with Vinegar
Fabric softener is another big drain on the budget when it comes to laundry. There’s no denying the difference in your laundry when fabric softener is used, so thankfully there’s a way to save money on this too. Distilled white vinegar has acetic acid in it, which whitens, softens and freshens your clothes just like fabric softener. It’s also great because it’s hypoallergenic, so family members with allergies or skin sensitivities don’t have to worry if you add vinegar to your laundry loads.
Think Outside the Box
The best way you can save money in your laundry routine is to sit down and analyze it. Is fabric softener something you could never see yourself without? Do you value the feeling of laundry straight out of the dryer, or could you live with air drying each load?
How you change your laundry routine to save money will be unique to what you care about most. If you give yourself time to think about it and even do a little math to truly understand where you can save money, you’ll know which frugal tips the best for you are to keep up in the long run.