Attacking the Cost of Doing Laundry in Our Household

The two of us generate enough dirty clothes to run two loads of laundry per week (with one-two extra loads per month), or approximately 110 loads per year. Over the past year I have been focusing some of my frugal attention on decreasing the costs of laundry in our household, and would like to share with you what we’ve done in the hopes that it might save you money in the future.

Saving Money on Dryer Sheets

I stopped using dryer sheets years ago because of Houston’s humidity (it seems unnecessary, whereas in PA you will get a mild form of electric shock therapy for forgetting to use a magic dryer sheet). It turns out that you don’t need dryer sheets even in high voltage situations. You can instead roll some aluminum foil into a ball and throw it in the dryer. Some people using this method have not had to use a fresh ball of aluminum foil in over six months! If you still want to use dryer sheets but would like to save money, do what I used to do and cut them in half in the box so that at least they last twice as long. You could also try my mother’s trick: she would save used dryer sheets and put 2-3 of them together in the next load.

Using Homemade Laundry Detergent

My sister began making her own laundry detergent this past year and after telling me about how easy and cheap it was, I had to try it out. We’ve been using this recipe since late August and it has worked just as well as detergent bought from a store. The clothes smell clean (verified by people that I share this recipe with when they inevitably want to smell my clothes to see if they should try it out for themselves) and the cost to make it was $8.00 for a batch and a half. I estimate that our batch will last us 9 months, or approximately 81 loads of wash. It will be fun to see if it lasts even longer! (Thank you to Cynthia for giving us an empty plastic tub of kitty litter to store it in).

Using Homemade Stain Remover

We are almost through with our current bottle of stain remover so I am looking forward to trying this homemade recipe . There are also recipes for Oxiclean.

Hanging Our Clothes to Dry

I have very fond memories of running through aisles of flapping sheets on the clothesline in my grandmother’s backyard. It has always been a dream of mine to have my own clotheslines; unfortunately our deed does not allow them in our yards. Now that the weather has cooled off and humidity is low, Paul installed a retractable clothesline in our garage. I have calculated (roughly) that it costs us approximately $5.00 each laundry day to run our clothes dryer for the two-three loads we wash. This is $20 per month, which is a substantial chunk of our electricity bills. It won’t be feasible for us to dry our clothes in our garage over the humid Houston summers, but we can certainly do so in the mild winter months!

Purchasing Energy Efficient Machines

When we purchased our home we were thrilled that it included the washer and dryer from the previous owners (thank you!). They survived for a little over two years. As each appliance breaks in our household or costs too much to repair versus to replace, we replace it with an energy efficient model. Our washer and dryer called it quits about a year ago. After a month and a half at the Laundromat and hundreds of quarters later, we took a trip to the Sears Scratch and Dent store in Houston on Griggs road and picked out new, more energy efficient models.

What are ways that you have found to save costs on doing laundry in your household?

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