My husband's friend came to stay with us for a day or two. He wanted to do a load of laundry and I told him I would show him how to use the machine. He told me he knew how to use a washer machine and I was shocked. Then I realized that not all men are as lucky as my husband (who hasn't done a load of laundry for over 5 years). He said that my hubby must have it pretty good to have lived here 4 years and never done a load of laundry! Smiling, I agreed.
Laundry is more enjoyable for me than many other tasks. That said, I do sometimes get frustrated at how quickly it piles up and how it never seems to end. Then I remember that for centuries before my time, people had to hand wash laundry.
When I remember this, my slight frustration turns to gratitude. We are very lucky and blessed to have machines and convenient supplies to do our piles of laundry!
That said, it can get costly but there are many ways I've found to save hundreds, even thousands, on laundry costs.
1. Vanish wrinkles without ironing
Avoid last minute ironing (or ironing altogether). Spray your clothes with a solution of lavender oil and water before putting them on and the wrinkles will disappear. Lavender oil is a fibre relaxant so the creases just drop out.
Or you can hang your wrinkled clothing item in bathroom near your shower but far enough away that it won't get wet. The moisture from a warm shower will smooth out the wrinkles and it should be ready to wear after you get out. Also, hanging wet clothing to dry often prevents wrinkles from forming in the first place.
Finally, if you spritz the clothing item with a bit of water, throw the item in the dryer for 5 minutes, and take it out, it should be wrinkle free.
2. Dry up grease stains with chalk
Grab some of your children's white chalk to keep in the laundry for absorbing greasy stains. Simply rub it on and the chalk powder will absorb the grease, making the stain easily removable when washed. Don't have chalk? Use baby powder instead.
3. Test your machine
I tested our machine and it cleaned the same on one rinse cycle as two. So I have made it permanently a one rinse cycle machine. The time is cut in half, the water in half, and the clothes are just as clean. If you haven't, test your machine to see if you can do the same.
4. Set yourself up for washing success
Learning the best water temperature setting for your wash will help you to get the best results.
As a guide:
Cold water is good for fine fabrics and delicates, knits, denim, colors, and clothes that may shrink.
Warm water works best with whites and lights. Combined with detergent, the water temperature helps lift soil and stains.
Hot water is the best choice for heavily stained items and throughly clean dish and bath towels and wash cloths
5. Hang teenage to adult-sized AND expensive clothes out to dry
I always hang all of my husband and I's clothes to dry. The quality, color, and sizing of our clothing lasts much longer. Drying can shrink, stress, and fade clothing. Hanging my clothing out for over ten years has saved me/us considerably - plus we save money by not running the dryer near as much.
That said, I choose to dry our towels, socks, and undergarments for convenience. I also dry most of our children's inexpensive clothing because they grow out of them so quickly and I'm not as considered about them lasting for years.
6. Rip or cut the dryer sheets in half
You increase your box of dryer sheets by 100% when you tear each one in two. Half a sheet works really well and saves money.
7. OR Use Wool Dryer Balls in the dryer
Wool absorbs moisture, therefore, buying or making your own wool dryer balls is a great way to both cut costs and cut drying time. They also make a great alternative to dryer sheets because as they bounce around the dryer, it has a softening effect.
8. OR Use Aluminum Foil as dryer sheets
Try using some aluminum foil instead of a dryer sheet. Simply take some aluminum foil and roll into a tight ball. Depending on the size of your load you may need more or less. Throw these in the dryer with your clothes and eliminate static electricity. Aluminum foil "dryer sheets" can be reused over and over too, saving you money.
9. Once in awhile, recharge your towels by laundering with vinegar and baking soda instead of detergent.
Boost absorbency and get rid of the towel stank for good. All it takes is two washes in hot water; the first with 1 cup of vinegar, and the second with 1 cup of baking soda.
10. Clean your washing machine regularly
You can clean a top loading or front loading machine with white vinegar or bleach. Follow the instructions for your specific machine.
11. Use a salad spinner to help handwash-only and delicate clothes dry faster
Tired of waiting for that delicate, lacy dress to dry? Throw it in a salad spinner real quick to get most of the water out. This helps your delicates dry quicker but doesn't ruin them. Just make sure you hang them or lay them flat (depending on the instructions on the tag) to dry so they will retain their shape and color.
12. DIY Fabric softener is as easy as having a bottle of vinegar on hand and your favorite scent of essential oil.__
Vinegar itself is a great addition to your wash loads of blankets, hoodies, and sweatshirts because it helps keep them fluffy and soft. Adding 48 drops of a scent to a cup of vinegar is a nice 1% dilution of the oil and a great way to add a bit of scent to your load.
13. Read tags before purchasing clothing
Avoid purchasing 'dry clean only' clothing as much as possible. This will save you considerably in the long run.
14. Money-saving hacks for already purchased 'dry clean only' clothing
I never dry clean anything without a coupon because they are so readily available and usually save me a lot! Look for coupons, deals, and specials online, in the mail, newspapers, or fliers.
My husband and I have also found that it is best to wear our fancy 'dry clean only' clothing on outings/dates/church events/etc. when we won't have our young kids to care for. Almost without fail, our little kids soil our clothing, so we do our best to wear machine washables around them.
Finally, some 'dry clean only' clothing can be hand washed and dried flat or line dried. I have a few such articles of clothing. This is something to research if you have multiple 'dry clean only' articles of clothing and are trying to save money.
There are a few ways to help keep your whites bright.
Hang them to dry in the sun. The sun naturally dries, whitens, and bleaches clothing.
Add a single aspirin to your machine load of laundry to keep whites from getting dingy.
You can also add in 1 cup of baking soda as a natural brightener for whites and colors alike.
Add bleach to the washer
Did I miss any inexpensive laundry hacks that you know about?
Editor's note: This article was originally published on Live Like You Are Rich. It has been modified and republished here with permission.