At first glance, laundry doesn’t seem expensive. But all of those quarters and buying detergent and fabric softener over and over again adds up. In fact, laundry detergent alone can come to about 20 cents per load–that’s $80 per year on soap alone! This doesn’t have to be the case, however. Check out these easy ways to cut back on laundry costs:
Cut Back on Detergent
You might want to think twice before you fill your detergent up to the line the cup dictates. The manufacturer is trying to get you to use your bottle faster so that you have to buy more laundry detergent. But here’s a little secret: The fill line is twice the amount of detergent you actually need to effectively clean your clothes. Instead, fill it up only halfway to the line. This way, your detergent will last twice as long.
Skip the Detergent
Yeah, you read that right. You can cut laundry detergent out of your whole routine if you want to. Modern laundry machines work by agitating laundry in water. This is enough to lightly clean soiled clothing.
Of course, if you’re a little skeptical, you can make your own laundry detergent using 1 cup washing soda, 1/2 cup borax, one bar of soap and approximately 3 gallons of water. Put about four cups of water into a pan and place it on the stove on high until it boils; then lower to a simmer. Cut up a bar of soap into little bits using a box grater. Throw in the soap a bit at a time and stir until it’s dissolved. Continue to stir the soapy water with a spoon and eventually the water will take on the color of the soap you added. Next, get out a large container and fill it with 3 gallons of warm tap water. Add the washing soda and soap solution and mix. The borax is optional. Let the soap sit for 24 hours with a lid on it. After it’s done, stir it up and it’s ready to go. Making your own detergent can reduce the cost per load of laundry from 20 cents to about 2 cents.
Don’t Wash as Often
It’s simple: You’ll save money on laundry costs by doing laundry less often. Now, we’re not saying to avoid sensible hygiene, but wearing your jeans two days in a row and using the same towel a few times in a row won’t kill you.
Instead of sticking your clothes in the dryer, go old school by hanging them on a line with clothespins or using a drying rack. If you’re paying to use the dryer in your laundry room, you’ll save approximately a dollar per load. If you have your own dryer in your apartment (lucky you!), it may surprise you to know that drying your clothes is more expensive than washing from an energy standpoint.