Frugal Laundry Tips For Busy Moms

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Every Mom I know is on the look out for some frugal laundry tips, to make the laundering process for all our family's clothes less expensive.

However, washing clothes takes enough time as it is, so I'm not really in the mood to try ideas that take too much time and effort, or make it harder to get the clothing clean just to save a nickel or two.

On the other hand, if I can save some cash without much effort I'm all for it!

That's why I've shared ideas below that I personally use to save money in the laundry room, plus even more very popular tips from readers.

Of course, I'd love to hear your ideas too, so please share your own money saving ideas for the laundry here, and I'll add them to the page to make an even better resource for everyone!

Just scroll on down to see the 7 easy money saving ideas I've shared below already.

7 frugal laundry tips for busy moms who want to save money while getting this chore done, but don't have tons of free time! {on Stain Removal 101} #LaundryTips #FrugalLiving #StainRemoval101use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

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Save Money On Your Laundry By Using Only The Recommended Amount Of Detergent

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Did you know that one of the simplest ways to save money when doing your laundry is to not use more detergent than necessary to wash your clothes.

When you wash clothes you've obviously got to put enough soap into the machine to get your clothes clean, but did you know that not only does it waste money to put in more than needed, it can actually make your clothes dirtier?

The reason is that the more detergent you place in there the harder it is to rinse it all out, which can lead to your fabrics feeling rougher than normal, and more likely to attract dirt and stains.

Not to mention it seems laundry soap is getting more and more expensive.

Each bottle of liquid detergent comes with markings on the cap showing how much is recommended for a normal load, or a similar mark on the scoop for powdered varieties. However, one of the things that irks me about these marks is they are generally not easy to see.

In fact, some of the marks are downright near impossible to see. (I sometimes think the company does this on purpose so you accidentally use more and have to buy more detergent more often!)

This is compounded by the fact that various detergents have different formulations, with some being more concentrated than others. Therefore, while it may take a whole capful of one detergent it takes only a small squirt of another.

If you use a variety of laundry products, it can be hard to gauge which amount to use easily, with so much variation.

Therefore, here's my quick and easy fix. Grab yourself a sharpie or other permanent marker, read the back of the detergent bottle to see how much it recommends to use for an average load, and then standing in good light to study the cap and mark the line so it becomes much more visible.

Then, each time you fill the cap or scoop all you have to do is look at your much more prominent line, fill it up to the line and not more, and then you won't have to worry you're using too much detergent, and you'll save money at the same time!

***Update: I got a related tip from Linda who said:
Better yet, just use a measuring cup that is just that amount. Markings come off and lighting is not always the best. Sometimes your helper doesn't remember to look at the marking or know what it is for. I love using the exact measuring cup. No fuss, no worries. Put a big hook on the bottle and hook the cup on it.
Or, here's yet another idea from another reader, Sarah. She says:
Instead of using a magic marker to draw a line on my detergent bottle cap I used fingernail polish. It won't rub off and is always easy to see (I used a glittery one so even in lower light I can easily see the right level).
***End Update

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How To Make Sure To Use Enough Detergent Each Load, But Not More

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Above I shared my tip for making sure not to use more detergent than I needed to per load, but my idea is not the only possible way.

Another way is demonstrated in the photo above, which was shared by R. Bob Russell.

In it he shared his solution for dispensing the laundry soap since he found the Tide cap and its lines hard to read properly.

He said: "Tide is too hard to measure with the cap! I purchased a 1 ounce snow cone syrup pump dispenser at a resturant suppy store and used an existing gojo bottle. Works great! One pump per load. Problem solved!!!"

Others Go Even Further And Cut The Recommended Amount Of Detergent In Half Or More!

So, perhaps you really want to cut costs and now you don't over pour or scoop your detergent, using only the amount recommended by the manufacturer. Well, some readers adamantly believe you can use even less, and generally they're probably right!

For example, Michelle said: "Read somewhere (can't remember) that we all use way too much laundry soap which will leave a residue on the clothes. Now I use half the amount and still have nice clean clothes."

In addition, Julie says: "I just bought a new machine and the sales person said do not use the amount recommended on the laundry detergent bottle. I only use about 1 tablespoon per HE laundry load. Too much soap is what ruins the machine. I mix it with a little water and pour it in. Saves tons of money because a large bottle lasts forever it seems like."

Leslie explained, "the measurements on store bought detergent are way off. I always used the small load measurement for extra large loads and it was still more than enough. Check your washer during the rinse cycle - if it looks soapy and foamy while rinsing, you used too much soap."

Finally, Lee says: "I use about 1/2 of the detergent it says your supposed to use. Clothes come out soft and cleaner. Never need to use fabric softener, another big savings."

Photo courtesy of

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Use Cheaper Detergent Whenever You Can

As you can see several of these frugal laundry tips deal with lowering the cost of detergent, which can be quite high.

So one thing you can do is use cheaper detergent whenever you can, instead of the most expensive name brands.

Now this may sound crazy to some, but although when I grew up I was a Tide girl (that's just what my family used) I don't use it now.

Is it because Tide doesn't work? No. It works great, I've found. The thing is I had to get adventurous and try quite a few detergents so I could write honest reviews for this site, telling how they worked on my family's laundry.

top 3 low cost laundry detergent recommendations
And do you know what I found? I found that there are some cheaper detergents that absolutely stink, but and here's the big but, there are some extremely inexpensive detergents that work really really well.

When something works, in my opinion, just as well as something that costs 3x as much, why am I going to pay more?

Not sure which brands are duds and which give you good cleaning power? Well, let me and other readers who've given these cheaper brands a try guide you. I've narrowed it down to my top 3 lower cost laundry detergent brands that I recommend, and which the readers of the site have also pretty much reached a consensus on.

If you don't feel comfortable completely giving up your most expensive brands though, you can do what these readers did below, which is to use cheap brands on clothes and other loads you just don't think need as much cleaning power.

For example, a reader, Tracy said: "I like Gain for my clothes, but use the cheaper brands for towels etc. This definitely saves a lot for our family."

Further, another reader, Teresa said, "It depends on what I am washing. Sheets and towels get lots of bleach so I use the Dollar Tree brand. Husband's work clothes get AJAX or FAB from Big Lots.

Some of my nicer church clothes I try to throw in the dryer with a dryer sheet just to freshen up a bit. I don't have time and just don't feel the need to make my own when I can pretty much pay a dollar or two for a week or so."

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Make Your Own Laundry Detergent & Other Laundry Supplies

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One of the first things that comes to mind when thinking of frugal laundry tips, is making your own laundry products, instead of buying expensive brands.

But honestly I struggled with whether to put this tip in the article because I also want it to be things that are easy for busy people to do, and there is no doubt that making your own takes more time then buying a jug of detergent off the store shelf.

Now people vary in how long they say it takes, and soooooo many people kept telling me I should include this frugal option to have a good discussion of all the ways to save money when doing laundry that I relented.

You can definitely save some big bucks making your own laundry supplies, especially compared to purchasing the big brands.

On the other hand the cost starts to get much more similar when comparing some of the cheap brands to the homemade variety, so keep that in mind when trying to determine how much you'll actually save.

In addition, while some people swear by making their own, and that the homemade varieties work just as well as those from the store others have been disappointed. Just fair warning, because people have widely differing opinions about whether homemade products work as well or not.

Of course, a lot has to do with what recipe you use. Some recipes work better than others.

If you do want to try to save some cash by making your own products I've got quite a few resources here on the site you should check out, with what I believe are some of the best recipes available.

Here's just a few:All these recipes can give you a great start in making your own products if you're interested in saving money in that way!

Photo courtesy of trenttsd

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Wash In Cold Water On Shorter Cycle To Save On Energy Costs

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Running your washer and dryer, and using hot water, both cost you money beside for detergents and supplies. There is also the actual cost of the water and the energy to run these appliances that needs to be taken into consideration.

So if you're looking for easy ways to save money consider using cold water instead of warm or hot for washing clothes.

Consumer Reports actually recently stated that the majority of households typically use cold water for washing, so they no longer run their detergent comparison tests using warm or hot water, but instead cold, to better simulate what happens in the average home.

You too can be one of these people for most loads, and won't see a dramatic difference in the cleanliness of your clothes, typically.

There are exceptions to this rule, such as if clothes are extremely smelly, soiled, or stained, in which case hotter water may benefit you more. But generally, it won't be a huge deal to use cold.

You can learn more about various temperature settings for your washing machine in the washing clothes temperature guide here on the site, which helps you choose the best water temperature for your laundry.

Washing clothes temperature guide: How to choose the best water temperature for your laundry

Further, another reader, Karen suggested also using a shorter wash cycle. She said, "I no longer wash on the 2 hour cold cycle. Instead I use the daily wash cycle which is half the time, therefore half the power. I now spend less time doing washing and it hasn't effected the clothes at all."

So the name of this article is "Frugal Laundry Tips For Busy Moms" and so I've tried to only make suggestions that don't take up too much of your time to see cost savings. But if you really want to save money on electricity and water another reader, Rebecca suggested going even a step further, saying, "I hand wash my laundry in the sink and then hang dry. It takes a lot less detergent, water, and of course electricity."

Of course, it also takes more time, but in life there are always some trade offs!

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Air Dry Shirts On Plastic Hangers

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Barb says:

Air drying shirts tends to reduce shrinkage and general wear, thus they last longer.

Generally, once the shirts are washed they will eventually be placed on hangers and returned to the closet. If you place the shirts on hangers and let them air dry your work is done.

The use of plastic hangers ensures that you don't cause rust stains.

In addition if you have a stain on a shirt and it does not go in the dryer, you still have a reasonable chance of removing it later.

You also save some money by runnning the dryer for shorter periods.

Air Drying Or Line Drying Saves Electricity

A lot of readers have variations on Barb's tip above, because we all know that one of the appliances that uses the most energy in a home is the dryer.

So the more things you can air dry or line dry, the cheaper it will be on your electric or gas bill!

Photo courtesy of Horia Varlan

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Frugal Laundry Tip: Cut Dryer Sheets In Half

by Taylor

I'm always looking for frugal laundry tips that I can use in my own home, since doing the laundry can get expensive.

What I don't want to do, however, is save money at the expense of actually getting my clothes clean, or something taking way too long or being too hard to make it worth the extra effort.

That's why I love this simple but effective solution for dryer sheets, which I personally use.

I cut all my dryer sheets in half, effectively making two sheets out of each one, and thereby doubling the number of loads I can do with one box.

I don't notice any difference with my clothes, which still have reduced static cling and are softened by the sheet, even when using less.

Another thing I do is that if the sheet still feel "stiff," like it still has softener on it after I take it out of the first load, I save it and use it again for another load. I will sometimes add 2-3 used sheets to a small load of the dryer, and they give enough softener from them to make it effective as a whole sheet (or half sheet, as it were!)

A reader wrote in with a similar tip. She said:

I have found that I can reuse dryer sheets up to 3 times before having to use a new one. I have had the same box of 180 dryer sheets for almost 8 months and still have quite a few left! We do quite a bit of laundry each week because my husband and I both work two jobs, me in the health care.

In addition, another reader, Marnie, suggested something that in the long run is even cheaper than dryer sheets, using dryer balls instead, since they can be reused over and over. She said:
Try dryer balls. Reusable and they fluff up your laundry. No scent but dries stuff faster too.
Of course, those are an initial investment, but it might be something you'd like to consider!

Dryer Balls {Referral Links}

I'd love to hear your own money saving laundry tips. You can share them here, and I'll add them to this page!

7 frugal laundry tips for busy moms who want to save money while getting this chore done, but don't have tons of free time! {on Stain Removal 101} #LaundryTips #FrugalLiving #StainRemoval101use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

Related Pages You May Enjoy

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Comments for Frugal Laundry Tip: Cut Dryer Sheets In Half

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make own laundry soap
by: Heather

I make my own detergent. Works better than store bought anyways. 5 gal = $8

do laundry outside peak hours
by: Abbie

If you wash your clothes at peak hours (9am-5pm) you are paying premium rate for electricity and water. Wash your clothes at night and it saves much more $$. You can look up ways to save on lots of sites and our family tried it and we seen savings almost right away.

what I do
by: Elisabeth

I use less detergent than directed (store bought), hang dry appropriate items (in the spring and summer I hang some outdoors on a drying rack and hooks, aiming for a clothesline this year). Wash full (not partial) loads (with a few exceptions).

I cut my dryer sheets up even smaller
by: Juli Griffith

Cut your dryer sheets into 5-8 pieces. One part will last a couple of months!!

dryer sheets
by: joeye

You can also soak them in liquid softener and make one little bottle last over a year too.

Use your lint filter on your dryer to tell when your using the right amount of detergent
by: Anonymous

If you are still using a dryer you can gauge how much detergent you need by looking at your lint filter. Most of the time you will have about the same amount. Gradually cut back how much you use detergent wise until there is very little or almost none on the filter. Then mark that amount on your cup because that is the actual amount needed. I started by cutting the amount in half (from the regular load marked).

How much soap?
by: Anonymous

I was a dry cleaner for years and learned quickly to use less detergent. The shirts were still clean and scorched less. Now at home, I have a different system when I use store bought detergent. In winter, when clothes don't get as dirty where we live, I mix my better detergent 50/50 with water. In summer, when my hubby's work clothes are sweat soaked and nasty, I mix the better detergent with a really cheap detergent 50/50, just to be sure all of the odor comes out.

HE detergent
by: Kajonz

The HE washer is finding it's way to more homes. I had to get rid of mine to replace with a un-He. I prefer a full size agitator. I did learn that the detergent for HE washers is more diluted than the normal. You can pour 50oz into a 200oz container and fill up with water and you have it. I have to use Tide because of allergies so this is the only brand I can speak for. I started diluting my Tide many years ago when I realized the suds weren't rinsed out. Plus I only use 1/2 capful. Love the dryer sheet tip. I also hang up clothes strait from the dryer. My hands severely protest ironing. ;-3

Tide laundry soap liquid
by: Stephanie

My mom taught me a lesson. She said, "go buy some Tide and it will last a month or so," so that is what I did. She told me to only use a tablespoon of liquid Tide while filling your machine up with water, then place your clothes in so I tried it and it actually works and my laundry soap last a lot longer and cleans my clothes.

hang inside out to avoid hanger humps
by: Amy

Even with plastic hangers I get " hanger humps," so I hang my t-shirt to air dry inside out. No hanger humps when you turn it back right side out.

skip the fabric softener for towels and dishtowels
by: Andrea

I've noticed that a lot of people don't know that using fabric softener in load of towels and dishtowels make them less absorbent. You will also save on your fabric softener if you just don't use them on these loads.

Air Drying shirts on hangers.
by: SarahH

I have 2 problems with this idea.
1. Air drying makes your clothes stiff and scratchy.
2. Air drying stretchy or knit fabrics on hangers gives them shoulder nipples, aka bumps, where the hanger digs into the fabric.

don't use your dryer more than you have to!
by: Anonymous

I do all of these and also do laundry on off peak hours; watts are lower and the dryer is one of those things that really increases your electric bill. Most things I hang to dry but not all.

I use cheaper detergent for sheets and towels
by: Robyn

Tide with Bleach for all clothes, and whatever brand I get a good deal on for sheets and towels. Just can't beat Tide for getting out stains, cleaning clothes well. My sheets/towels don't tend to have "dirt" or major stains on them so the cheaper brands work great! Tried making my own and it just didn't get my clothes clean.

I mix homemade detergent with my Tide
by: Yvette

I bought a huge 5 gal. bucket of Tide, and made a powder borax based laundry soap and just mix the 2 powders because I love my Tide and the smell. Honestly you get 2 5 gal buckets last about 8-9 months the 5 gal bucket of Tide all the ingredients for the homemade soap about $45 cheaper than $11.95 a bottle of Tide every month.

I save so much money making my own!
by: Anonymous

I use a recipe called Super Laundry Sauce from Budget 101. I have a large family and it's nothing for us to go thru 20+ loads of laundry per week. I have been using this recipe for some time now and it saves a ton of money. The detergent is not difficult to make and very inexpensive. Buying all the necessary materials only costs about as much as one bottle of Tide and my favorite thing about it is I can make a double batch (about 500 loads!) at one time and it lasts for months. I am not buying detergent every other week anymore and am still using the ingredients I bought about a year ago to make new batches as I need them. I can't even remember the last time I made it because it lasts so long! I have not noticed the clothes becoming dingy as some people have mentioned, but I frequently use inexpensive white vinegar in the wash or rinse cycle and that may be the difference. Another great thing about the homemade detergent is that it is made and stored in quart mason jars. No more bulky detergent bottles in my trash and in the landfill. When the jar is empty I swish it out with water and use the suds to wash a load of clothes and reuse the jar for my next batch of laundry soap.

what I do to save laundry detergent
by: Anonymous

What helps me save laundry detergent is using less than the recommended amount, and adding in borax powder or washing soda to your load.

remember to dry it immediately!
by: Katrina

How about don't forget to put it in the dryer so you don't have to wash the same load 2 or 3 times!

wash larger loads - easier to do with a schedule
by: Amy

I make my own detergent, and fabric softener. We also have HE washer and dryer set that helps save water and electric. I have also found that a laundry schedule helps save time and money. With a laundry schedule I'm not randomly washing 1-2 items here and there so it equals less loads.

I use pods
by: Bunnie

I use pods. It say 72 loads and that's what I get, liquid and powder seems not go as far especially since 3 people wash clothes in the house!

what to do if you don't have a washer and dryer
by: Jessica

If you live in an apartment without a washer and dryer invest in a portable washer and line dry.

Vinegar instead of fabric softener
by: Anonymous

Use vinegar instead of fabric softener. It works great and it doesn't have all the chemicals that are found in fabric softeners. I also don't use dryer sheets if I've used fabric softener in the wash.

shorten the dryer cycle
by: Michelle F

My dryer "senses" when to stop, but I usually pause the dryer about half-way done. I take out all the things that are dry already, like socks and underwear and light items. I hang what could dry quickly since the dryer gave it a head start. After that, then the rest is able to dry more quickly.

Buy bulk laundry detergent, line-dry clothes
by: Anonymous

I buy my powdered laundry detergent from the local co-op using my refillable mason jar. Using only a TBSP per load, a month's worth of detergent costs $3 and there is no bottle to clean and recycle. Don't use softener. For 6 months of the year I line-dry my clothes. It takes a few minutes longer, but cuts my electric bill by 40% and I don't have to buy dryer sheets.

Never had a dryer!
by: Aussie Mum

I've never had a drier - always air dry - and the environmentally friendly/grey water friends;y detergent I use lasts me a YEAR! I use a pump pack in a top loading matching. $60 for 5 litre bottle lasts a year for myself and two boys, 7 and 4. I can't think of any other way to reduce that minor cost!

Oh, and to get rid of smells and stains - $2 for a 2 litre bottle of white vinegar. No perfumes, low cost.

Use the correct amount of detergent by using pods
by: Anonymous

I buy laundry pods. These are pre measured laundry detergents in pods that you throw into the machine along with the clothes. They dissolve and release the detergent during the wash.

They are also great to bring when travelling as you can just pop a couple of pods in a small box to take with you and you have all the detergent that you need instead of needing to lug a big bottle of liquid or a box of powder that spills everywhere.

measure my homemade soap with ladle
by: Anonymous

I make my own soap, and I use a soup ladle, which is just the amount I need.

use 1/2 the detergent recommended
by: Jennifer

I also use half the amount recommended. I buy the big jug of Sun brand and it last me two months. I wash 2-3 loads a day for a family of 5.

my frugal tips
by: Anonymous

I buy large soap on sale and I smell the scent first as I think that is what makes our clothes smell fresh, not the volume of unneeded laundry soap. I have a stain removal system so my laundry is just day to day wear which is not really dirty but needs freshening. I only use higher end detergent only if I have very dirty clothes, however I believe in presoaking so I would likely presoak the really dirty laundry first anyway.

Also this might seem counter productive but I do not overload my machines. People might think they will use more water so load up their machine when I think the water and detergent needs to circulate around the clothes to get them clean.

Cold water washes are good for most, but not all
by: busymama

I wash all my clothes in cold. Works great. They get clean. But I noticed my kitchen cloths and towel, sheets, towels and gym clothes were feeling greasy. I did some research and found that it was because of body oils. The cold can't break down the oils. I wash them in hot now. They are slowly getting better. The sheets were the worst. You have to wash in hot or they just don't get really clean.

dilute your fabric softener with vinegar
by: Anonymous

Dilute your softener with vinegar 50/50 and don't use with towels, only vinegar with those. Cleans your pipes and machine of soap residue too.

low cycle drying
by: Anonymous

I like to hang my clothes out to dry, but dislike the stiffness, especially in my bath towels. After my clothes are dry or almost dry, I throw them in the dryer for about 20-30 minutes on a no heat or low heat cycle to soften them up.

I use very little detergent
by: Barbi Brennan

When I had my washer serviced once the tech told me to only put in enough detergent to cover the bottom of the dispenser. She said it's the detergent manufacturers job to sell detergent, that's why they always tell you to use more than you actually need.

Dryer Sheets
by: Cindy

I have cut dryer sheets in 1/2 for quite a while. I have a good supply won't be running out any time soon. I also add water to my fabric softener equal amount of water to softener and use dollar tree laundry detergent for hubby's clothes and towels.

You don't have to see suds
by: Anonymous

My appliance repairman always says, remember you don't have to see suds! They are making detergent 3x stronger now and, especially older folks, automatically use the amount they started out using years ago. Don't ruin your washer with detergent buildup. Can't see it, but is in the washer, behind the tub, kelvin clogs the exit lines, etc.

Rinse twice
by: Jean

Go through the full cycle twice - the 2nd with white vinegar - if you want to be sure all soap is out.

Recycle hot water
by: Anonymous

I wash whites on a hot water cycle, collect the water and reuse it for the next wash imidiately after for darks and colours.

Use vinegar instead of fabric softner
by: Anonymous

I use white vinegar in my rinse cycle instead of fabric softener. It removes build up on clashes as well as in the washer. It lengthens the life of your clothes and keeps them from fading.
It is also much much cheaper than fabric softner.

DIY stain remover
by: Anonymous

I use 1part Dawn to 4 part hydrogen peroxide as my spot cleaner.( spray spots before leashing). If I have a real stubborn stain ( ring around the collar) I use a paste of 2 parts hydrogen peroxide, 1 part dawn, 1/2 part baking soda, rub paste on stain, leave for at least and hour and launder as usual

Dryer balls
by: Elaine

Best to use wool dryer balls (purchased or make your own with 100% wool yarn). The synthetic ones and tennis balls could potentially release chemicals when heated.

Use cheaper detergent
by: Rueben Weissmann

I understand the idea to use a less expensive detergent. I have tried to do that. I have two (2) issues regarding that. Some cheaper detergents are loaded with dyes and perfumes and chemicals that can irritate one's skin. My husband and I both have experienced contact dermatitis from less expensive detergents. I have to use detergents designed for babies. Some are quite pricey, especially if you want organic.

Use less detergent - I was using 3x the amount needed!
by: Betsy

The tip I learned from prior posts is to measure the amount of liquid detergent I will use. For decades I have eyeballed it. I started to measure it and I have been using at least 3 times the amount needed. I have also incorporated Biz, white vinegar, washing soda and Palmolive for instant spot treatment.

I am going to change from Tide to All. The price difference is amazing!

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