It seems like I am constantly washing clothes, linens and bedding! Here are some easy ways I have found to reduce laundry costs.
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A few years ago, my old washing machine finally died – 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.
Plus, the laundromat is SO expensive!!
Start with the right equipment
When the time came to buy new machines, I ended up getting a front-loading Bosch washing machine, followed by the matching Bosch dryer.
Technology that saves money
The two machines were bought on sale (shop around, because these are not cheap machines!) and I absolutely love them. The washer has a sensor that determines 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. How cool is that?
Both machines 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. Who has 15 pairs of jeans? But it does give you an idea of the capacity.
Settings that save cash
Two great features on the washer are the hand wash setting and the wool setting. This means that all delicates, wool sweaters, scarves, gloves and hand-knits in the washing machine. Even my cashmere cardigan goes in the washing machine. And my down jackets and duvet.
No more dry cleaner for those items! Once washed, knit items are laid flat to dry on large, mesh sweater drying racks.
Cold, warm or hot?
Another way to 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 save your money and use the least expensive method by washing in cold water.
Go for the cheap suds
When it comes to soap powder, my go-to was the store brand detergent. It had a very faint lemon scent, cost only $11, and came in a 22 lb. bucket! And bonus – plastic buckets for gardening! Unfortunately, the store no longer carries that detergent, so I have switched to Arm & Hammer liquid.
When using the soap powder, I never used 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 was at 1/2 of a scoop of soap for a full load of clothes.
I never use the recommended amount for the liquid detergent either. Again, start by cutting back a little and keep cutting back until you notice a difference. I’m using about 1/3 of the recommended amount, and everything comes out clean and fresh.
Use the FREE clothes dryers
Now that the clothes are washed, you can save a ton of money by drying almost everything outside (weather permitting) 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. It can fit sheets, towels, pillowcases – about three full loads will fit on it, and it doesn’t take up much space at all.
Easy clothesline set-up
To set up the clothesline, I didn’t want to dig a hole in the yard and pour concrete to set up the pole, so 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 slide the aluminum pole that holds the clothesline through the hole in the table, into the umbrella holder under the table, then secure 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.
It’s also easy to take down and store when the patio table is needed for summer parties too!
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 springs fall out.
In the winter, the clothesline is folded up (just like an umbrella!) and stored in the garage.
Indoor clothes drying – for free
I have one fairly long clothesline in the basement laundry room that is used for comforters, towels and fabric yardage when I am prepping for a sewing project. This helps cut down on 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 at home
Dry cleaning is SO expensive. For garments that are dry clean only, try these special dry cleaning sheets that you put in the clothes dryer.
They work great and you can save hundreds of dollars a year by “dry cleaning” at home. Plus they smell a LOT better. Ugh. No more chemical smell from the commercial dry cleaner.
Other easy ways to reduce your laundry costs
- be sure to clean the lint out of the dryer filter
- and the duct that goes outside
- use plastic or wool dryer balls instead of dryer sheets. These are great to use when drying down jackets and duvets.
- if you are going to use the clothes dryer, it’s more cost-effective to dry consecutive loads rather that doing one load one day, and another a day later. Once the dryer is warmed up, it takes less energy to get it back up to temperature.
How will you reduce laundry costs?