Introduction:When my husband lost his job, I began looking for even the smallest ways to save money. I found that even the smallest expenses add up to great costs over the course of a year! Depending on how many people are in your home, and how often they change clothes, laundry costs can really add up quickly. Here are a few ways I cut some major costs on the laundry bill.
If you only have a few towels, save them until there are a few more. Yes, you can change the load size, which reduces water usage, but the energy required to wash small loads is the same as washing larger loads. I wash laundry two times a week, and have a family of four. Find creative ways, such as decorative baskets, to store laundry until wash day.
The average family will spend $180-$250 a year on name-brand laundry detergent each year. Making your own laundry detergent is simple, and much more cost effective. To make your own detergent, you need three ingredients, all of which are $3.00 or less at your local store. Washing Soda, Borax, and Zote soap. It is a simple ratio of 1-1-1. In the last year, I have only purchased 2 boxes of the soda and Borax, and 2 bars of Zote, which has made my detergent bill less than $20 for the year! Read the ingredients of a name brand detergent, then compare to the ingredients in the home-made. You will find they are nearly identical. If you prefer a scented detergent, simply add an essential oil of your choice. This recipe is also safe for HE washers, as none of the ingredients are sudsy. Borax and washing soda are also naturally occurring, so not only are they safer on your wallet, they are safer on the environment as well.
Take the drying outside, and hang it on the clothesline! There are many reasons this is far superior to drying clothes in an electric or gas dryer. To begin with, once I stopped running the dryer, my electric bill went down about $30 each month. It is also much better for your clothes; all that lint in the filter? Fibers from your clothes, which will cause them to wear thin. The sun helps fade stains naturally. And, it actually takes less time to line-dry than it does to dry them in a clothes dryer! If you live in a high-humidity area, it might take a bit more time. During the winter, hang your clothes throughout the house. It actually helps put moisture into the air! Using vinegar as a rinse aid (see below) will keep your clothes from becoming stiff. Why pay for laundry detergent that smells "spring fresh" when you can get the real scent!?
If you still want to dry your clothes in a clothes dryer, don't fall into the trap of purchasing expensive softeners. Both the liquid softener and dryer sheets are expensive, and leave a build-up on your clothing. Using vinegar in the rinse cycle of your washer will help rinse the soap out of your clothing, as well as help eliminate any orders. If you still want the smell that the softener leaves behind, try this trick: Mix a solution of 3 parts water to one part liquid softener. Store in an air-tight container, with a clean sponge. At drying time, squeeze excess mixture out of the sponge, then toss the sponge into the dryer. Viola, you have your own dryer sheets!
Not all clothing must be washed after each wearing. Jeans can typically get two wearings per wash, as can most nice blouses. T-shirt need to be washed after each wearing, as do the obvious articles of clothing, such as undergarments and socks.
Making small changes can add up to big savings. Once you start using these tips on a daily basis, they will become habits, and will save you big bucks over a period of time.
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