Save Money and Water on Laundry Day
Save time, money and the planet!
One of the first places to start when saving money on laundry day is with your appliances. The new Energy Star will pay for themselves over time. You'll be amazed when you see the drop in your energy bill.
I purchase Dr. Bronner's Holistic soap and use it for everything. We have a septic tank and this castile soap is much easier on this as well. I also use white distilled vinegar to kill germs, no more chlorine bleach, as it is very toxic to the environment (and our septic) and the fumes aren't good for you either. With these three items - laundry gets just a clean. I also no longer use dryer sheets and they are also filled with toxins and studies are now showing they can have negative health effects.
Wash in cold water. It took me a while to believe this, but I tried it, and not only did the clothes get just as clean, but many of my knit tops now hold their shape and no longer shrink and fade. I add white vinegar (about a half-cup) instead of bleach except on the white underwear. Bleach and vinegar cost about the same, but your clothes will last longer and this will save money. Vinegar kills germs as well as bleach and it's much kinder to the planet. Using cold water will drastically reduce your gas or electric water heating bill.
Turn off the extra rinse. I use less laundry detergent and a bit of baking soda which helps keep the residue down and eliminates the need for that extra rinse.
We have hard water, which makes getting clothes clean more difficult. We have a water softener due to our very hard well water. Before we had the softener I added a quarter cup of baking soda and it did help and kept the clothes 'soft' longer.
Avoid tossing just a few things in the washer - it still takes the same amount of energy to wash a few items as it does a large load. Newer washers sense the weight of the load and adjust the water level accordingly, but it still takes the same amount of gas or electric to run the machine. If you have only a few dainties' wash them by hand in the bathroom sink. It doesn't take long and they will last longer too. Wash them out before you go to bed and they will be dry by morning.
One night my husband was out of clean dress shirts for work. I washed a load, but knew that if I dried them I'd have to wait up to hang them on hangers so they wouldn't get wrinkled. I decided to hang them right out of the washer in the bathroom and in the morning they were dry! I just might keep doing that to save money. Long ago I took them to the laundry to be washed and ironed, but I decided I'd rather spend that money elsewhere - like food!
Put up a laundry line if you have a space in your yard. Some subdivisions actually ban laundry lines, but in times like these they may want to rethink their "it looks nicer without them attitude". My feeling is that it's easier to obtain forgiveness than permission so try it and you just might inspire others to start saving energy by hanging out the laundry too.
Sheets smell so good after a day in the fresh air. Also, the sunshine kills germs! You can dry clothes by putting a shower rod over the middle of your bathtub and hang clothes over that to dry undies.
If you have children, talk with them about the expense of washing and drying. My neighbor's three girls were known to try on two or three outfits before going to school and tossing the unchosen' clothes on the floor or into the hamper! Explain to them that washing all those extra clothes will wear the washer (and the laundry person - Mom) out in no time. Share with them that more money spent on laundry means less money for pizza night or video games. You probably won't have to give this speech to the boys, as many I know would wear the same clothes until they disintegrate.
During hot weather, run the washer/dryer in the evening to keep the house cooler. In cold weather, wash in the daytime to keep the house warmer.
Most people know this, but just in case; sort your clothes by whites, darks and colors so the whites stay white and the colors don't turn gray.