1. Do not wash your clothes after every single use; doing so is not only cost-effective, but will also preserve the life of your clothes. It’s often tempting to throw clothes into the hamper instead of taking time to fold them or put them on hangers. Barring any stains or smells, you can generally wear almost anything at least two or three times before it needs to be laundered. Jeans are generally good for four to give wears before they need a date with your washing machine.
2. Wash only full loads of laundry. It’s true that washing smaller loads uses less water, but it still uses the same amount of energy. Don’t waste electricity.
3. Wash most of your clothes in cold water. Save the warm and hot temperatures for towels and whites. Up to ninety percent of the energy used to wash clothes is expended on heating the water. Warm and hot water will keep your whites bright, but they will eventually fade your colors. Moreover, laundry detergent is what cleans your clothes, not the temperature of the water. Your clothes will still be clean if they’re washed in cold water.
4. Consider using store brand detergents, bleaches and fabric softeners. Why pay more for the name and packaging of another brand, when a generic does the same job?
5. Instead of buying stain removers, try treating soiled areas with liquid laundry detergent. Simply apply detergent to the affected area and use a toothbrush to work it into the stain. Allow it to sit for 5 to 10 minutes before normal laundering. Baking soda is another budget-friendly stain removal tool. Make a paste of fifty percent water, fifty percent baking soda and apply it to the stain before tossing the item in the wash.
6. Save money on bleach by adding one cup of white vinegar and a quarter cup of baking soda to the wash when you add your detergent. These will brighten and whiten your wash without making you smell like vinegar.
5. Use shorter wash cycles for lightly and moderately soiled loads. Reserve the normal and heavy-duty cycles for major stains.
6. Pay attention to the amount of detergent you’re putting into the washer. Normal size loads only require a quarter cup, especially with the ultra-concentrated detergents that are commonly found on store shelves.
7. Cut the dryer sheets in half. One half of a sheet for each load will almost always be sufficient, especially if you also use liquid fabric softener.
8. Place a dry bath towel into the dryer with each wet load. The towel will absorb water, which will decrease the time you need to run the dryer.
9. Clean the lint trap and dryer vent. A lint problem around these areas will prevent moisture from escaping, which will cause the dryer to work harder. A dryer that works harder will result in higher electric bills and will also need to be replaced sooner.
10. Consider skipping the dryer altogether. The clothesline my husband installed in our backyard last spring has been one of the best investments we’ve made for our home. I love the smell of bed sheets and my family’s clothes after they’ve been hanging outside. In the winter, I put most of our shirts and tops on hangers and hang them on the bathroom’s shower rod to dry. I also do the same with jeans and pants when the laundry is under control and other options are hanging in the closet.