Welcome to Wash Wednesday!
Feel free to go pop a load in the washer, I’ll wait. I’ve currently got laundry going, seems to be a never-ending chore.
There are several ways to save money when it comes to doing laundry. Some of our most practiced ways are:
– Re-using or re-wearing. I’ll wear jeans several times before I wash them. As long as they haven’t gotten dirty I feel fine re-wearing them. I use two towels to shower. I use one for my hair and one for my body. I use a new body towel after every shower but will re-use the same hair towel for most of the week. The trick is to hang it up to dry on a bar or over the shower door instead of putting it up on a hook. When you hang it on a hook, moisture stays gathered in the folds with little to no air flow and can get musty, but if you hang it up to dry properly it will dry quickly and can be re-used. This saves me 4-5 extra towels in a week!
– Hang dry. Seems like a no brainer in the summer, but that doesn’t mean that I always remember to do it. We do have a clothes line hung in the yard and I LOVE the way that clothes smell when they come in off the line. I’m not keen on the roughness of towels fresh off the line though, so I generally do a full load of towels in the washer and then put them out to dry. Then wash a load of t-shirts or pants with a towel or two, and then swap those clothes for the towels on the line and toss the partially dried/dried towels in the dryer with the towels from the other load to help soften them up.
We have several indoor drying racks as well that we purchased when our last dryer broke to help get us through until we could find an affordable dryer. I still use them for things like sweaters, leggings, and delicate items. I could also see myself putting the racks on the deck in the sunshine of the spring and summer to dry clothes outside.
– Making sure that our loads are the right size. Yes, an entire tall clothes hamper of clothes will fit into our washer. No, that doesn’t mean you wash an entire tall clothes hamper worth of clothes at a time. I was surprised that my owner’s manual actually has a depiction of perfectly sized loads. By packing in too much, the water can’t get to everything equally and you will end up re-washing most of the load if not the entire load. It is also much harder on your machine to wash and spin a larger load which will add costs in repairs and maintenance over time.
At the same time, don’t throw in just an outfit. No matter what, you have other things that could be washed. Even if all you need is that outfit, and you just did all the laundry, I’m sure that you can find more. Kitchen towels, bathroom hand towels, stray socks, a jacket, sheets, etc. When you do a very small load you waste money in water and soap. There is a decent chance that you’ll still put the same amount of soap in, and potentially even run it on a regular load even though it’s an extra small load at best.
– Use the proper settings. Make sure that your soil level actually matches your clothes, and the water temperature is at the most cost-effective setting for that load. If you have a load of towels, they really aren’t that dirty. You use them to dry your body after washing it. A low soil level is more than sufficient, and you can probably get away with cold water. I try to use cold for as much as possible, springing for “eco-warm” for my husband’s dirty work clothes on occasion.
– Measure your soap. Read your containers and see what the proper amount is for the load that you are doing. Not using enough will mean re-washing with more soap, too much will mean wasted soap and added water to rinse the suds. In most cases, you can get away with using a little less than they say to use. Try it a couple of times, if you aren’t pleased with the results then switch back. If you are, you just extended your soap by a couple of loads.
– Sort your clothes. I know, it seems like everyone in the world is sorting their clothes right, but maybe you aren’t. I’ll let you in on a secret, I don’t sort conventionally. We have 3 large hampers in our bathroom and one small one. The small one is for whites to be bleached. The 3 large ones are for towels, my clothes, and my husband’s clothes. That’s it. That’s how we sort. I do towels by themselves, whites by themselves, and then I do our clothes independent of each other. I will sort ours into shirts and pants generally. Pants are heavier and I find that washing several pairs is a load in itself. But then I wash our shirts, socks, undies, etc., in a load without sorting colors. I do have color catcher sheets for new clothes, but generally speaking we haven’t had any accidents. I use stain remover on my husband’s clothes, and generally wash them in eco-warm and a moderate or heavy soil level. Mine, I wash in cold and generally on a low soil level. It wouldn’t make sense for me to sort each of our clothes piles into colors, darks, etc. I would have to wear everything in my dresser before I would get more clean clothes. I really am just sorting based on what type of wash cycle I will be using which is the point to color sorting anyway. If my husband wears a sweater, it gets tossed in my basket because that is what will better suit it in the wash. Find a system that works for you. It really just goes back to running a full load.
– Switch your laundry. I’m still trying to get this one down. The best way I’ve found to stay on top of it is to set a timer independent of the chime on the washer/dryer. If I have to physically turn off a timer I am more likely to go and switch our laundry. Aside from the obvious, that it saves you from having to re-wash the clothes, it also helps keep your machine clean and fresh which will help it last longer.
Other ways to save!
I told you Target would make an appearance tonight. I recently did a household products haul at target and did a big portion of it on laundry stuff.
I purchased 3 hampers, 6 dryer balls, 2 lingerie bags, a tub of Oxyclean, a bag of tide pods, and 3 huge jugs of Purex. The full retail was $73.28 and by combining sales, coupons, and Cartwheel, I saved $26.72 and only paid $46.56 and I received one of the $5 gift cards that I used to fund last night’s blog. For $18.87 alone, I think I purchased enough laundry soap to last at least a year.
I did however make a mistake during this shopping trip that I have made in the past. Both of these products look to be detergent but are actually stain removing additives. While they are things that I will use, it always makes me mad when I make that mistake. If I had spent a minute more reading the product I was purchasing then I would have probably not purchased it (the tide pods) and saved $4 that could have been spent elsewhere. Small mistakes like this can cost you in the long run. You either wind up with a product that you won’t use, or you accidentally use them in place of detergent and get frustrated having to constantly wash your clothes. I am really trying to get better about reading products.
None of these were purchased yesterday, but they were all purchased at Target. They do have incredible deals on their clearance products from time to time. I enjoy having something in a different scent for bedding and the like and the lavender is so relaxing. It is a functional treat. If you are in love with a brand but can’t stand the price tag attached, check their clearance every time you are in that department and you might get lucky enough to snag a steal. Alternatively if you aren’t set on any one product (this is where we fall) then the clearance section can prove to be a great way to mix it up and save a couple bucks from time to time. Just be sure to check that the product is compatible with your machines before you purchase it.
Keeping your space organized will help in many ways. You will know what you have at hand, so that you can easily make a shopping list. You will also have a clean space to work in while folding clean clothes, and you will save time and increase productivity in your laundry space.
I keep a small trash bin on the dryer to help me remember to empty the lint trap after every load. This will keep the dryer running efficiently and keep our dry times down. We also have a small damp-rid tub on the back of the dryer so that any humidity that escapes the back of the dryer will be wicked away into the tub and moisture won’t have a chance to damage the backs of our machines.
The white basket actually sits on the washer, but I pulled it down so that you could get a good look at it. I use dryer balls in every load to help soften the clothes and get even drying. They might even help reduce drying time, but I’m not 100% sure on that. I bought two big boxes of dryer sheets when I bought our dryer (if you haven’t guessed by now, these are the appliances that we are paying off with Card 4) but I hardly ever use them. Between the scent of our detergent and the softening power of the dryer balls, we just haven’t missed using them. I also use lingerie bags for all of our delicate items. Everything from nylons to sweaters gets put in one and then set in the blue basket on the dryer until I have enough for a full load and then I wash and hang dry it.
I found both of these baskets at our local Dollar Tree, so they were just a dollar each! They are the perfect size for organizing the laundry room. The trash can also came from the Dollar Tree come to think of it; they have some great pieces for organizing most spaces in your home at a great bargain!
This is the gist of our set up, it’s nothing grand but I love it!
We opted for one pedestal instead of two and I wouldn’t have it any other way! I store the laundry related items that I don’t use daily (stain removers, Febreze, dryer sheets) in the pedestal and because the dryer is lower I can use it as a folding surface. I have more than enough storage space and am able to use the dryer as work space. The laundry room is void of any other work space, so this is a huge asset to me.
You may have noticed that I still have the shipping tape on the dryer. This is why. We’ve only had our washer since July and the top is all scratched up. I’m planning on making mats to put on the tops of them to help keep them looking shiny and new. Hopefully I can get them made soon! Maybe I’ll be thrifty and make them out of something that we already have.
If anyone has any other money-saving laundry tips, please feel free to share in the comments below!
I’ll see you tomorrow!