Laundry is probably the most dreaded chore of any kid, mom and adult. Personally, I think it’s the worst part of being a grownup, outside of paying bills of course. 😉
We know it has to be done, but why does it seem to be constant? Unfortunately we can’t wear our clothes forever without washing. If you did, you’d start to smell and then the flies would come in. Not a pretty picture.
Even though we all dread that ever growing pile of clothes, there are some ways to save time and money while doing the laundry.
Don’t Wash Clean Clothes
Are your clothes really dirty? Most people over wash their clothes.
We are taught from a young age that if you wear it once it’s dirty so you should put it in the hamper. That might have been the case when you were little and like to make messes, but we are generally much cleaner as adults.
If you wore that outfit to the office once and didn’t get all sweaty in it, take it off when you get home, put on your lounge wear, fold your outfit and put it away for another day. Wearing your outfit twice before washing will make your clothes last longer and save you time and money on detergent, water, etc.
Wash in Cold Water
Cold water can clean your clothes just as well as hot water. By using cold water, you save on gas to heat the water. You also don’t use quite as much water as your hot water tank doesn’t have to keep up reheating cold water, thus saving even more money. Plus, some detergents work better with cold water anyway, so be sure to read your detergent label.
Purchase High Efficiency Machines
Your washer and dryer don’t have to be brand new. Mine aren’t, but they are still high efficiency. In fact, upgrading to high efficiency can save you money in the long run if you can find a pair of gently used ones from someone who thinks they have to have the latest and greatest.
High efficiency washers use less water than a regular washer, saving you money on your water bill, they take less time for a cycle to run. The same goes for the dryer. You can probably sell your old pair and make some money back to help cover the cost of a newer set, or donate or recycle them.
Use Less Detergent
How dirty are your clothes anyway? As mentioned, most of the time your clothes probably aren’t that badly soiled, so you really don’t need to use the full amount suggested on the detergent bottle. Using less detergent means the fewer bottles you need to buy which saves you money. The only reason companies suggest you use that much is so they can sell more detergent.
You should also look for concentrated formulas so you get more for your money by not paying for added water, and again, you don’t have to use as much per load. You can also try making your own detergent if you really want to “go green” and save money.
Hang your clothes to dry. This is easiest during the summer months when the hot wind quickly dries and softens your clothes. If you don’t have a line outside or if you live somewhere you can’t put a line out, an indoor drying rack works just as well. No drier running is money kept in your bank account, plus air drying is easier on your clothes too.
Only Run Full Loads
Doing little loads of laundry here and there is an inefficient way to use your washer and dryer. If you can, wait until you have a full load and then wash it. As a single person, this means I usually have to save up my laundry all week and run the washer for one load of dark colors and one load of light colors/whites on the weekend. That way I can save time by washing it, drying it, and folding it all at once.
Pay Attention to Clothing Care Labels
Over washing clothes and shrinking clothes is one of the most expensive things about laundry. If you have to constantly replace your wardrobe because your ruined them by washing clothes improperly, that’s money out of your bank account and down the drain. If it says hand wash then hand wash.
But to save even more time and money, read the clothing care labels before you buy clothes. I do this so I can avoid buying items that are going to cost me time and money for “dry clean only” or “hand wash only.” I don’t need those high maintenance clothing items in my life and you probably don’t either unless it’s for a very special occasion.
Do you dread doing the laundry? How do you save time and money on this household chore?
Photo courtesy of: RyanMcGuire
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