Laundry happens. In fact it happens over, and over, and over again. And whenever something is such a regular part of our lives it’s always good to take a closer look and see if we’re doing it in a way that’s efficient so that we’re not draining our money away. Because I’ve found that the “make your own” crowd is often a frugal crowd too, I thought I would share a few of the strategies I use that help us save money on laundry. Some of these might be familiar strategies, but maybe you’ll find something on the list that will trigger a new idea for you. Let’s take a closer look:
1. Try Reusables (Washer Balls and Dryer Balls)
A tried and true way for saving money is by using things that can be used many, many times before needing to be replaced. There are options in this category for laundry too. One of my most recent discoveries are Washer Balls (I bought these washer balls and they are the blue and pink balls pictured below) I’ve been using these Washer Balls several months now with good results. These balls are filled with ceramic beads that increase the ph level of the water and reduce negative ions which in turn help to clean clothes. I don’t claim to totally understand the science but I do know that I’ve been using them and my clothes are getting clean. A set of two washer balls currently cost about $15 to $20 dollars and can be used for 1,500 loads so they can definitely save you money.
You can give reusable Dryer Balls a try too. These go in the dryer with a load of clothes and help to separate the clothing so the hot air can flow around the clothing more efficiently. You can try making your own dryer balls too.
2. Make your own!
Well you knew I was going to say this, right? Over the years I’ve saved lots of money on laundry detergent and other laundry supplies by making homemade versions. These can be made with items that are easy to find at larger grocery stores and many only take a few minutes to stir together. Some of my favorites are:
If you’re unsure of this strategy, I’ve got some trial size recipes for DIY laundry soap so you don’t have to commit to a large batch. For more ideas you can check out my page of homemade laundry recipes.
3. Try using less
Manufacturers want you to use a lot of their product. They helpfully put a measuring line on the cap of the laundry soap telling you to how much to use per load. I usually ignore it! Any time I’m using store bought detergent I’ve always found that I can use a lot less and still get good results. When I used to use dryer sheets I always cut them in half too (but now I make my own dryer sheets). If you want to try this strategy, just start using a little bit less, and then even little less, and see how far you can back down and still have things come out satisfactorily. I think you’ll find that you can use much less than you may have originally thought.
4. Designate a place for half-worn clothing
Many times clothing doesn’t have to be washed after only one wearing, or a wearing of only a few hours. Jeans can be worn several times as well as things like fleeces or sweaters that are a “top layer” over something else. For years I worked in an office setting and would come home and change out of my work clothes and put on my comfy pants and a cozy fleece. But those comfy clothes were just worn for a few hours and usually while I was just sitting in front of TV for a while before bed. I always wore them for a few days before washing them.
BUT – here’s the key. You need a designated place to put those half worn clothes. That half worn pair of comfy pants or jeans needs to be nicely folded and put in a dedicated spot so it’s easy to put on again and doesn’t feel like wrinkled or dirty clothing from the floor. I have a little table in my bedroom that serves this purpose. When my kids were younger I had hooks in their closets. (very handy for pajamas to be worn again). Sometimes we would just use the corner of a dresser.
If you’re not washing as many clothes, you’ll save money. The way to avoid washing too many clothes is to wear them again if possible and to keep them folded or hung in a specific place until the time does come to wash them.
5. Look for the most efficient settings
If you want to save money on laundry it’s good to get yourself well acquainted with all the settings available on your washer and dryer. Take some time to look through the owner’s manual (or find a manual online for your make and model). Many of those settings can be rather mysterious. For instance my washer has a setting for “Casual”. Umm, all my stuff is pretty casual, what does that even mean?? But when I checked out the manual it turned out this setting had only a low spin setting, something I would have never figured out from the word Casual on the dial.
So when you dig a little deeper and explore all the settings available, see if you can find the most efficient ones that will still give you good cleaning. Is there a shorter timed washing load that still gives you good cleaning? Do you have a high spin setting to get more water out of the clothing and reduce drying time? Does the dryer have a low temperature setting that might work in the same amount of time as the high setting? Don’t be afraid to turn those dials around to find the best money-saving settings.
And remember that always doing full loads is the most efficient way to use your machine too!
6. Use a clothesline
Finally, if you want to reduce the cost of running your dryer, you might want to use the option of hanging your clothing to dry instead. During weather-appropriate times of the year you can hang things outdoors, but sometimes a space in a basement or laundry room could work for hanging a few things too. Even if you don’t hang every load, something simple like just hanging the sheets outdoors could still save money. We’ve always used this type of umbrella clothesline which has been a nice option for our smaller suburban backyard and it’s always given me the ability to hang things outdoors if I get the frugal urge.
So those are a few of the ways we save money on laundry. Do some of these resonate with you too? Feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts, ideas, and strategies for saving money when it comes to laundry!
More Frugal Ideas: