Laundry Tips for Frugal Living and Cleaner Clothes
These laundry tips can save you money and help you to get your clothes cleaner, too!
Laundry and dry cleaning can eat up quite a chunk of your budget if you
let it. Dry cleaning is especially expensive - try these ideas and
reduce the expense of maintaining your clothes; you may save enough for a
Dry laundry on a clothesline
One of my favorite money saving laundry tips is to use a clothesline, outside if possible, and hang your clothes up to dry instead of drying them in the dryer. In addition to helping you to
, you will have fresh, clean smelling clothes! The sun also acts as a
disinfectant and stain remover. (Since the sun does tend to bleach
things out a bit, it is a good idea to turn dark things inside out when
hanging in the sun.)
The high heat and tumbling action of clothes
dryers can be damaging to your clothing, so hanging them up to dry can
also save you money by helping to keep your clothes in good repair for a
If you don't have room for a traditional clothesline, you can buy a rotary one that takes up only a small area.
Avoid Dry Cleaning
Try to buy clothes that are machine washable.
If you do have items that say ‘Dry clean only’ it does not necessarily mean you have to take them
to the cleaners. The alternatives are:
- Buying do-it-yourself at home in-the-dryer dry cleaning products. I have had good luck with
Dry Cleaner’s Secret, which you put into the dryer with the clothes to be cleaned like a dryer sheet
and run for 20 minutes. They are inexpensive compared to professional dry cleaning; at about 80
cents per sheet (you can clean 1 – 4 items with one sheet).
- Washing the garment in the sink with cold water and a little bit of shampoo. I use this method
for sheer silk blouses and lightweight sweaters. After soaking them and swishing them around a little
bit, I rinse them out and wrap them in a towel to get the bulk of the water out before I hang them up
to dry. Never twist or wring this type of garment – be very gentle with it when it is wet.
- If the item seems less delicate to me (some cotton pants, wool sweaters, etc.) I will simply
wash it in the washing machine (in cold water!) on the delicate cycle and hang it up to dry. This
is a risk, I know, but I have learned to have a pretty good feel for what can be washed and what
can’t. If you don’t trust yourself to make these decisions, then it may be a better choice for you
to take your delicate items to a professional cleaner and not take unnecessary chances on ruining
your expensive clothing.
More Money-Saving Laundry Tips
- Compare brands The most expensive brands of laundry products are not
necessarily the best. You can spend half the amount for some of the less advertised brands and still get the same cleaning power. Store brands may be a good option.
- Choose the less expensive brands of fabric softeners if you buy them.
They work just as well to take out the static cling and add a nice fresh scent. I recommend opening
the cap and smelling a new product before you buy it the first time – it is not pleasant to be stuck
with a scent that you hate every time you get dressed or step out of the shower and grab your towel!
(Or make your own homemade fabric softener)
- Use less I have never found it necessary to use the recommended amount of
laundry detergent or fabric softener when washing clothes. Unless your water is very hard, you will
probably not need to, either. Try using ½ capful of detergent and if that doesn’t seem to be enough
add a little until you find the amount that is right for you. Detergent is expensive, and if you can
get a 1/3 more loads out of a bottle of detergent, that can add up significantly over time.
- Hand wash with shampoo or body wash Shampoos and body washes make great cleaners
for delicate washables because they are formulated to remove oils very gently. Regular detergents can
be too harsh and break down delicate fibers and elastic. Don’t buy Woolite – it is quite expensive
and was shown in a test done by Consumer Reports to be harsher on delicate items than Tide!
- Get brighter colors & whites with baking soda or borax Add ½ cup of baking soda
or borax per wash load to brighten your colors and your whites alike without doing any damage to
your fabrics (at just pennies a load).
- Make your own homemade fabric softener
Making your own fabric softener is easy and helps you to save money on laundry products. It is also
non-allergenic and better for the environment than the commercial brands.
- Remove blood stains You can remove blood stains by soaking clothes overnight
in cool water with a cup of vinegar and a cup of baking soda. Never use warm water on blood, as this
will set the stain.
- Wash full loads whenever possible or adjust your water level to accommodate the size of your load.
- Wash your clothes in cold water Detergent technology has gotten so good that washing
in hot water is no longer necessary; you can save lots of energy by washing with cold water rather
than hot water.
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