Friday, August 15, 2008

Frugal Friday

All Things Laundry

This is an unscheduled post, but I thought I'd do a quick Frugal Friday about how I save money doing laundry......lots and lots and lots of laundry!

These ideas are probably not new to most of you...especially those with much larger families than my own...but I thought I would share anyway, just in case some of you need some tips! I did laundry "un-frugally" (I know, not a word!) for years until I figured out there was a better way!

Load Size

I only do "extra large" loads. In my washer, this uses less water and detergent than 2 "medium" size loads. This may not be true for your washer, but I think they're all pretty standard. The only thing I do in a small load is the dog blankets!

Clothing Types

I don't purchase or own anything "delicate" or "dry clean only". These "specialty" items add expense and hassle to laundry day! All of my "pretty" underthings are bought very cheap, so I just wash them like normal. When they wear out, I get more (again, cheap!). No big loss!


I love Tide, but usually I just can't afford it. I tried homemade detergent, but it didn't get my clothes clean (maybe I should try again?). I tried Purex...hated it!

So, I've settled on ALL Small and Mighty. I love it! It cleans my clothes well, makes them smell good, takes up no space on my shelf, and they have a "Free Clear" version for the babies clothes. ALL frequently goes on sale B1G1 at CVS. When it does, I usually get 2 or 4 bottles, using $1 - $2 off coupons that come out each month in the inserts. This allows me to get a great brand-name detergent for very cheap or even free!

Click here for a printable $1.00 coupon for ALL Small and Mighty!

Also, double check how much detergent you're using. I was in the habit of filling the dispenser cup clear to the rim! You DON'T need that much! In fact, you probably need a lot less than you think. Check your washer manual and your detergent bottle for instructions.


Of course the most frugal way to dry your laundry is to hang it! If you don't have a very big yard, you could get a collapsible gadget like the one Susan posted about here.

I, personally, hang my laundry and then throw it in the dryer for 15 minutes with a dryer sheet to soften up. I hate the stiffness from the line! But, I figure 15 minutes per load saves a ton of electricity compared to over an hour per load (my dryer takes forever!)

Amy Dacyczyn, author of The Complete Tightwad Gazette, says in her book that your electric dryer costs 44 cents per hour to operate. That means I'm probably saving myself close to $20 per month, or $240 per year, by drying my clothes on a line! That's worth it!

Also, make sure your lent trap is cleaned out frequently. I do mine every other load and I vacuum it once a week. Your dryer will work much more efficiently.

Dryer Sheets

I love Bounce dryer sheets, but they're expensive! So, I buy them with a coupon and then I cut them into fourths! Seriously, they work just was well this way and one box last FOREVER!

So, what are your tips for a frugal laundry day? Leave me a comment, I'd love to hear them!

'Til next time



Kari said...

I fill my liquid detergent maybe a sixth of the way up the lid/cup that's provided. I haven't had any problems with my clothes not being clean.

I also cut my dryer sheets, but I cut mine in half. Hmmmm. . .maybe I'll try cutting them in quarters next time!


Ante Family Agrarians said...

I try to handwash my light clothes, and take to the laundry jeans and towels. The owner of the laundry knows us all really well and allows to have free drying. We never dry everything, I still bring it home to dry on the line in the loft. With handwashing I've been saving us around $10-12.00 a week now.
Peace, Kris

Nate and Elizabeth said...

Not sure how one could keep track of this effectively, but my mom told me a while ago that when your clothes are done in the washer, even though they went through a rinse cycle, they still have some detergent left in them... enough to not use detergent the next time around and still get suds. I tried it with jeans one time after she said that, and she was right. I washed the load of jeans, we wore them, and the following week I washed them again without any soap at all, and there were detergent suds in the water and they came out smelling like the detergent.

If a person was good at keeping track of things, you could save money by only using detergent every other time. All it made me do was use less than I was using, though...