Not unlike daily food for our bellies, usually we need clean clothes to wear. I’m sure we’ve all pulled the “pick it up off the floor and wear it one more time” trick. Wait, what? You don’t do that? *Um, me neither.* And while doing laundry is a fairly predictable expense, there are still ways to save (even if you don’t enjoy the task).
1) Make your own laundry detergent. There are scads of recipes out there but we use a very basic powdered one and have successfully for the last year. It’s 1 cup of Borax, 1 cup of Washing Soda (found near the Borax at the store), and 1 cup of Oxyclean (I get the generic). I used to use Ivory Soap grated (yep, straight up from my cheese grater), but prefer the Oxyclean now. I mix it together in a five gallon bucket. I use ~ 1 T for a “regular” load of laundry or 2 T for dirtier loads like towels or whites. Occasionally the girls even help me make it. Here are the answers to your questions: Yes, you can use it in HE machines (although it works better if you put it in with the clothes rather than in the dispenser). I’ve been told you can use other soaps with more scent if you choose the grated route; however, allergies in our house prevent us from having much of a fragrance. Yes, the clothes still smell clean and stains are removed.
2) Swap Vinegar for Fabric Softener. We used to be die hard Downey users. But a change in their formula set the sensitive noses in our house a sneezin’. So, I decided to try using vinegar in our Downey Ball in lieu of fabric softener and we loved it. No, we do not smell like Easter eggs or salad dressing. Yes, it works just as well. Yes, we also have a set of the spiky dyer balls to help cut down on static (insert the King of Free’s quirky jokes about sad dryer men missing those). I also did some quick and dirty research on what fabric softener is made out of and um yuck. This is probably something I would have seen as extreme a couple of years ago and I know it’s a permanent change for us.
3) Hang ‘Em High. This is kind of funny but last summer on a beautiful afternoon, I decided to hang jeans on the curtain rod in our living room and let them dry in the lovely breeze blowing through our windows. Since then, we’ve rarely dried a pair of jeans. I tend to toss them in the dryer for 5-10 minutes to knock the wrinkles out and then hang them upside down on pant hangers in our laundry room (although our red neck living room clothes line suits me just fine, too). I also dry sweaters or sweatshirts in the laundry room, too. Some I lay flat, some I hang up. Not only will it cut down on your electric bill but I’ve noticed the fabrics hold up much longer and don’t shrink, either. Because of the aforementioned allergies and Indiana’s pollen count, I doubt we’ll ever be poster children for an outdoor clothes line, but the indoor version suits us just fine.
4) Full Loads with Cold Water. If you want to save, washing full loads of laundry instead of small batch loads will help cut down on your water and electric bills. Also, using cold water is a money saver. It’s not always an option for us because it’s like ice coming out of the washing machine during the winter months (our laundry room is not heated), but maybe it will work for you. Sometimes, small batch loads are unavoidable (in particular, the King of Free’s dress shirts really need to be laundered in smaller loads or the they get mangled and wrinkly) but if you can, fill that sucker up. But maybe not too full or you might end up with a repairmen at your house. That’s never happened to you? *Um, me either.*
What about you? How do you save cash while doing the washin’?
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