If you have babies or young children, you know they leak in quite a few different ways. This leads to load after load of laundry all out of proportion to their size. This doesn’t have to blow up your budget. You can easily take simple steps to save money on laundry.
The costs to do laundry come from energy to run the washer and dryer, energy to heat the water, the water itself (or sewer bill), and detergent. Squeeze each of these separately, and keep in mind that you may need to adjust other parts of the process to get your laundry as clean as possible.
Reduce the Need
Start at the beginning. Wear your clothes a couple of times before you wash them. Reduce your laundry in half. This doesn’t work for snappy t-shirts covered in spit up or baby jeans after a leaky diaper, but some clothes can be worn multiple times.
Wash on Cold
By far the largest proportion of the cost of home laundry goes to the energy to heat the water. So, don’t heat the water. If you use cold water, though, you will save yourself from clothes covered with residue that holds on to stink if you use detergents formulated for cold. You need more agitation or longer rinse if you remove heat from the washing equation. If you are washing diapers, be extra careful to avoid residue build up.
Run Full Loads
A full load saves money because you end up with fewer loads total, but a full load also provides one of the essential parts of the laundry equation: agitation. The clothes need to rub against one another to get clean. If you put a couple of items in a full load, you are just sending them for a nice swim. They will be cleaner than when they started, but they won’t get clean. Adjust the water level to your load for effectiveness and water conservation, but hold on to that small load and wait for more clothes for cost savings on energy.
Use an Efficient Washer
This takes an investment up front, but you will save in the long run if your washer is the most energy efficient washer on the market.
Buy Powdered Laundry Detergent
Liquid detergent rinses easily, but you end up paying for bottled water. You can get the best of both by dissolving the correct amount of your powdered detergent before you wash. It takes more time, but it saves money. It’s all a matter of adjusting to which you have more of.
Make Your Own Laundry Detergent
High Efficiency washing machines require less detergent, so that is a start. You can also make your on laundry detergent and other laundry additives with a few basic and mostly natural ingredients.
But, be careful what you choose to use. If you are washing cloth diapers, make sure the ingredients you use don’t cause a residue build up on your diapers that will cause leaks. Just do research before you head off into the wild west of homemade cleaning supplies.
Use the Air to Dry
Don’t use extra energy to dry your clothes. Dry on a line. Without bumping against one another in the dryer, they end up a little bit more stiff, but you can roll them around in your hands to loosen them up. I also just saw this week a cool new contraption, Dryerpods, that essential puts a closed drying rack over your forced-air heating vent. Obviously, this would only work if you have forced-air heating (I do) and in the seasons when the heat is on, but it is a clever device to use what is already there more efficiently
Not a lot of money goes into laundry, but you can save by making the process more efficient.