As we all know, laundry is something that pretty much always needs to be done around the house. Whether you have a spouse and children or you live alone, laundry is a constant. Also, laundry is expensive! Between paying for detergent, fabric softener, and laundry sheets on top of your energy bill, keeping your clothes clean while on a budget is no small task.
If you’re looking for effective ways to save money on your electric bill, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll discuss 11 ways you can save money while doing your laundry. These tips won’t ask you to sacrifice cleanliness or comfort. If your laundry expenses are getting too high, keep reading to find out how to clean your clothes for less.
Wash With Cold Water
Heating water to wash your laundry takes a substantial amount of energy and will significantly add to your monthly energy bill. Instead of using hot or even warm water to wash your clothes, consider using cold water instead. Cold water doesn’t take any energy to heat up and can cut the total energy use of your load of laundry in half! There are even detergents specifically for cold water use so that you can be sure things get clean. Additionally, washing with cold water helps to prevent your clothes from shrinking.
Only Do Laundry When You Have Full Loads
It can be tempting to throw a few items in the washing machine when you just want to wash one particular outfit. However, doing this will only add to the amount of laundry you have every month or even every week, filling up your washer and dryer each time and costing you loads of money in energy and detergent. So, instead of doing small loads of only a few items, wait to do laundry until you have enough dirty clothes to constitute a full load. This will lead to fewer wash cycles, less water and detergent used, and more money saved in the long run.
Buy Store-Brand Detergent
Detergent is expensive. However, while name-brand detergents are the most popular, they are usually no more effective than store-brand or off-brand detergents. Many of these products use the same exact measurements and ingredients despite being in different packaging.
Buying store-brand detergents instead of big-name brands will help save you money, and it shouldn’t impact how your clothes feel or smell. Additionally, shopping at bulk stores can also help you save money on detergent, so buy these things in bulk if you can.
Don’t Overfill Your Dryer
Yes, we know. We just discussed waiting for a full load to wash your clothes. But your dryer is a bit different. When you have a lot of laundry, it can be tempting to stuff the dryer with as many items as it can possibly hold.
However, while this might make it seem like you have less laundry to do, it doesn’t actually reduce the time it takes to dry these items. Overfilling your dryer means it takes longer for all of the items to dry, causing you to run your dryer multiple times before your clothes are ready to fold and put away. Running the dryer is very expensive, so make sure you fill it appropriately to avoid running it for longer than needed.
Upgrade Your Washer/Dryer
Yes, this seems counterintuitive when it comes to saving money, but buying a new washer and dryer can save you quite a bit in the long run. If your appliances are very old, they are likely using ridiculous amounts of energy. Plus, they typically take longer to get your clothes clean and dry.
New high-efficiency or energy-saver washers use up to 25 percent less energy than conventional models, while new dryers use up to 20 percent less energy. While these purchases might have a hefty price tag up front, they are investments that will eventually pay for themselves with the continued energy savings they will provide.
Do Laundry at Night
Some utility companies will offer special programs where customers can pay less per kilowatt hour during specific hours of the day. And these times are typically at night. For some, these plans can be worth it if you are a night owl and can plan to get your laundry done in the evening.
Additionally, if you have newer machines, you may even be able to schedule wash times during the night without ever having to leave your bed. These contracts will depend on your specific utility company, and many won’t offer it outright. So be sure to contact your electric company if you are interested in saving money on your laundry at night.
Separate Towels and Heavy Cotton From Other Loads
Heavy towels and other cotton materials take a very long time to dry. Putting these heavier items into your dryer with lightweight clothes or sheets can cause the entire load to take much longer to dry. This is because the towels stay wet and keep the lighter clothes wet, too. While separating these items into two different loads to dry might seem counterintuitive, you will spend far less time drying the lightweight garments, resulting in an overall shorter drying time, which will save energy.
Use Dryer Balls
When used correctly, dryer balls can significantly reduce drying time, keep your clothes soft, and help you save energy. Wool or rubber dryer balls help to separate your clothes, moving them around and allowing them to get more air around them to dry. These balls also retain heat and keep things moving, reducing your dryer time by up to 25 percent. Wool dryer balls are also incredibly quiet and can be used up to 1000 times per set, so they are well worth the investment.
Use Lower Heat Settings in the Dryer
The high heat setting on your dryer uses the most energy and costs the most on your bill. But your items likely don’t need such high temperatures to dry. Therefore, it’s better for your wallet to use lower heat settings, even if you spend a few minutes longer drying your clothes. This practice will cut down on energy costs and save you money in the long run. Additionally, drying your clothes on high heat makes them more prone to shrinkage, so lower heat can help keep your clothes intact for longer.
Use Express Cycles in the Washer
Unless your clothes are extremely dirty, you don’t need to use the most intensive washing cycle with long soak or spin options. Instead, if your clothes have a normal or light level of soiling, choose the express cycle in your washer or make the spin cycle shorter. This will lessen the time your clothes need to wash and reduce overall energy use. When you combine this with washing your clothes with cold water, you’ll save money even faster.
Air Dry Laundry When Possible
Air-drying laundry is what used to be done before electric dryers were even invented, and sometimes it can be good to go back to the basics. If you live in a warm, dry climate and have a lot of outdoor space, consider putting up an old-fashioned clothesline between your house and a tree or a pair of stakes. Air drying allows your clothes plenty of time to dry without using any energy at all. And you can leave them outside for as long as you need without worrying about them. Just don’t forget them!