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.
Save Money On Your Laundry By Using Only The Recommended Amount Of Detergent
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).
How To Make Sure To Use Enough Detergent Each Load, But Not More
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."
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.
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."
Make Your Own Laundry Detergent & Other Laundry Supplies
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.
Wash In Cold Water On Shorter Cycle To Save On Energy Costs
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.
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!
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!
I'd love to hear your own money saving laundry tips. You can share them here, and I'll add them to this page!
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Comments for Frugal Laundry Tip: Cut Dryer Sheets In Half
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