There are many ways to save money on laundry, whether you’re doing it yourself or paying someone else to do it for you. Whether you’re cutting down on detergent, switching to more efficient washers and dryers, or spending less time and effort on laundry, you can save big bucks by following these 10 tips to save money on laundry.
1) Add these laundry products
Buy all-natural laundry products, like Green Works (the detergent and softener is biodegradable). Don’t use fabric softener: Fabric softeners coat clothes in chemicals that prevent odor from getting out. In other words, they prevent your clothing from smelling fresher longer. Don’t use dryer sheets: They leave behind a layer of coating that repels water and makes it harder for your clothes to get clean.
2) Wash at a higher temperature
Most people wash their clothes in a low-temperature cycle, but that can cause clothing fibers to break down more quickly. Instead, you should wash your laundry at a higher temperature—at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit for most fabrics. This will kill germs and keep stains from setting as deeply into fabric fibers. It will also save energy (and therefore money) because washing at a higher temperature won’t require as much water or detergent. For items that can take a beating, it may even be possible to push up to 160 degrees F without any negative effects. Consult your clothes’ tag for specific instructions about when you can wash at high temperatures safely.
3) Use this stain remover
If you want your clothes to come out of a wash stain-free, use a good spot remover or detergent that contains enzymes. Enzymes can help dissolve stains, so they may save you from using more time and money treating stains by hand. Look for a product with these active ingredients: natural enzymes (e.g., papain from papaya fruit) or protease (an enzyme that breaks down protein). These products are great at removing blood, food, wine and coffee stains—anything you’re likely to encounter on your child’s clothes!
4) Let stains soak overnight before washing
Dirt and grass stains are some of the most difficult stains to remove. If you can’t wash a stained garment immediately, make sure it has time to soak overnight in cold water. In addition, make sure not to wring out any stained fabric as you could set a stain further in by forcing liquid or dirt deeper into your garment. When soaking garments overnight, use two cups of white vinegar added into your washing machine with other laundry items. This will soften your clothes while it cleans them and will also soften water that may be too hard for your delicate fabrics (like those made from polyester). To reduce bleach smell when doing whites only loads, add one-quarter cup baking soda before running your washer through its cycle.
5) Store clean clothes in airtight bags or containers
It’s really tempting to toss your clean clothes onto a messy pile in your closet. Avoid that temptation by storing them in airtight bags or containers so you don’t have any of that odor lingering around. A few plastic storage bins is all you need for an organized, more economical way to store and contain those dirty clothes (that don’t smell!). And don’t forget to put away clean outfits as soon as they come out of the dryer, instead of letting them sit around while they wait for you—it will make it less likely that they get wrinkled and/or stained.
6) Do all laundry in cold water, especially towels
The process of washing fabric at high temperatures can cause wear and tear, even with cold water. All laundry needs warm or hot water in order to dissolve detergent, but hot or warm water isn’t necessary after that first wash cycle. Never use fabric softener because it creates a coating over your clothing, making them become less absorbent and harder to clean. You also lose its ability to wick moisture away from your skin. The less you wash clothing, especially towels, which can be worn multiple times between washes, the longer they’ll last.
7) Hang dry most things
Unless you have a super-absorbent microfiber towel, you can easily skip the drying machine. Studies show that heat from a dryer causes up to 40 percent of fabric’s fibers to break down, rendering clothes weaker and less able to hold water. Instead, air-dry garments on laundry day by hanging them in your basement or garage or spreading them out over shower curtains (if it’s not too humid). If you live in an apartment building with shared laundry facilities, invest in a portable rack—even if it just becomes an excuse for friends and neighbors to steal your linens.
8) Remove the need for tumble drying by ironing now and then.
First, let’s talk about why salt works. When you sprinkle table salt on a stain, it will work as an abrasive and break up tough stains that have set in your clothing. Use it before you wash your clothes because it can also absorb some of the grease in your laundry detergent! Be sure to spot-test before doing a full load of laundry.
9) Use salt to get rid of tough stains (works best with white cotton socks!)
One of our readers says, I was ironing my daughter’s white socks and they had a huge grease stain on them. I panicked because she’d just gotten new ones and there were no other clean socks in her drawer, so I grabbed some sea salt, sprinkled it all over and rubbed with a bar of soap. It completely got rid of that nasty grease stain! Worked like a charm. Here are 10 ways you can use salt for more than just cooking.
10) Wash last, and store soiled things elsewhere when you can
You don’t want anything soiled to be near clean clothes because of potential stains. And putting items in your hamper immediately after taking them off will help you keep a better handle on laundry day. Use cold water whenever possible: Some people think that hot water washes better and cleans more effectively, but cold water is actually more effective for removing dirt, grime, and germs—plus, it’s gentler on your clothes. Turn down your dryer: You’ll save money by doing a little extra drying outside or with an electric or portable dryer.
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