How I Cut My Laundry Costs In Half


A while ago I caught a snippet from a morning show on Facebook where it was mentioned that it is not necessary to use the recommended amount when doing laundry. So I followed the advice and experimented with these small changes on my own. And the result was that I cut my laundry costs in half.
But I have a secret confession: Doing laundry is my favourite household chore. I put the machine on and then get to do something else for almost an hour before I have to worry about it again. It takes me 10-15 minutes to hang it up (the right way), and then it’s basically done! 

I don’t fold my daughter’s clothes. She messes them up when trying to find the right outfit, so it’s just not worth it. Almost all of my and my husband’s tops are hung up. Which leaves a hand full of bottoms as well as socks and undies. And lately, I’ve been leaving my husband’s clean washing in the basket for him to put away.

How and when you wash

I feel like it’s common knowledge to wash in cold water as opposed to hot water.

Just like it’s best to do a larger load than a few smaller loads.

These can both impact your energy use and ultimately, your energy costs.

Sure a smaller load might use less water, but not half as much as a large load. So in the end, a full load is the most energy-efficient way to do your laundry.

It’s also important to take advantage of the time of the day that you wash or dry. If you have solar power, it can be beneficial to wash and use a clothes dryer during the day when the sun is out. As it doesn’t require any additional energy from the grid.

Running a cold wash will also use less energy. Whether the water comes from a hot water tap or is heated by the machine, using cold water avoids this altogether.

Mostly clean clothes that aren’t soiled with stains and grime can also be washed on a quick wash program. This helps limit the amount of water and electricity used.

Laundry powder/detergent

Since learning I don’t need to use as much detergent, I’ve been experimenting with how much to use for a full load.

I use the scoop from a tin of baby formula to measure the amount of laundry powder that I use. To properly compare, I weighed the amount of powder that fills the scoop that came with the laundry powder. A full scoop came to 50g.

After searching for something smaller that I could get an easily measured amount each time, I settle on a scoop from a tin of baby formula.

I had kept some for my daughter to play with in the bath. They are great little scoops for small hands and have a small hole in the bottom.

After I settled on the formula scoop, it was time to weigh it. A full formula scoop came to 17g.

That’s less than half!

So instead of getting 80 loads of washing from the 4kg of powder, I now get 235!

If you’re doing four loads of washing a week, your 4kg of powder would last 20 weeks. After switching to a smaller scoop, the same 4kg would last you over a year. 

What a dramatic annual saving.

Fabric softener

I’ve been buying cheap fabric softener concentrate for years. I add the concentrate to two litres of water and that was that. 

But I had a brainwave to see what would happen if I watered it down with 3 litres of water.

And all that happened was that I got more washes out of the fabric softener concentrate.

On top of watering it down, I also add less to the fabric softener compartment of the machine. So instead of 26 washes, I now get 80.

This has also afforded me to buy a more expensive, longer-lasting fragranced fabric softener.

Drying

I don’t actually own a tumble dryer. We inherited one when we first moved into our house but it lived in the garage and we never used it.

I grew up in a house with a clothes dryer but I only ever remember it being used a handful of times.

So I never felt the need to use it, so we put it on the nature strip, and someone took it.

I use the clothesline or a clotheshorse to dry clothes and everything else. 

It helps to hang clothes over two rails on a clotheshorse. As the air can get in underneath. It really reduced the drying time.

Sometimes I use the clotheshorses outside in the sun. That way I can easily bring them undercover or inside if the weather turns.

I’ve also invested in a stainless steel peg drying rack. I use this for hanging up socks and undies. Sometimes I will even hang the socks up in pairs to make it easier when it’s time to put them all away.

I’ve even gone so far as to put a rail up in the laundry room to store these.

Stain removal

The sun is actually an amazing stain remover.

Just leave freshly washed clothes in full sun, with the stain visible.

I like to peg my clothes so they lay flat on the top of the clothes horse. Or if it’s not such a nice day outside, I lay them out on my kitchen table. My kitchen table gets a lot of afternoon sun.

Maintenance

Along with using the right things in your washing machine and dryer, maintaining them is the key to the longevity of your machines.

One of the main reasons to replace your household appliances is often the lack of maintenance.

Ensure that you empty the lint filter regularly. Don’t forget other parts like lower filters.

Different machines require different laundry detergents. Many require low-sudsing or cold-water detergents.

When you are looking to replace your laundry appliances there are a few things to take into consideration when it comes to the range of washing machines and tumble dryers.

  • energy star rating
  • performance of heat pump dryers vs a gas dryer
  • alerts when the cycle is complete
  • speed-up functions

Depending on which options you choose, can make dramatic differences in your electricity bill. 

How I cut my laundry costs in half

You can also choose to use the top-rated supermarket brands or make your own laundry detergent. Both can be great value products and can still save you money when your on a tight budget.

It’s been suggested to just use vinegar instead of fabric softener. But when it comes to cost, the fabric softener concentrates were much more cost-effective. The white vinegar is $0.85/L and the fabric softener concentrate is $0.65/L

 BeforeAfter
Laundry Powder$0.1373$0.0467
Fabric Softener$0.0975$0.0325
Cost per Load$0.2348$0.0792

Top tips to reduce your annual cost of doing laundry

  • Use less than half the recommended amount of laundry powder/detergent
  • Water down your fabric softener to a ratio of 1:2 or 1:3
  • Skip the fabric softener altogether
  • Half-fill the fabric softener dispenser
  • Line dry everything
  • The sun removes most stains
  • Avoid dryer sheets
  • Do full loads of laundry
The Best Stain Remover

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