Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Frugal Challenge Room By Room - Saving Money in the Laundry Room

Thought I would start off this series with a room I spend a great deal of time in. With four kids, dogs and a husband that works out doors, I have to do laundry every day of the week except Sunday and at least two to three loads a day. That is sheets, clothes, dog beds. You get my drift.

So here is how I try to save money in the laundry room. I literally am going to do a detailed list of all efforts to save in this room.

1. The light:
  -Changed the ceiling fixture to a flouresent bulb years ago. It is still going strong and costs very little to run.

2. The washer:
    - Run the washer only full. This is easy for us.
   -  I have also turned down the number of minutes recently. How few can I use to get a load of laundry clean? Instead of running it 12 minutes I am now running it 10. Clothes seem fine.This may seem like nothing but two minutes times four loads is eight minutes a day times six days a so 48 less minutes the washer is churning a week. That has to save some electricity.
   - Can you get a load clean on cold water instead of warm? Our water does not get that cold in winter so I have turned up the cold tap on the warm cycle as well. If your homemade detergent does not dissolve then you can put it in a cup of hot water for a few minutes before you pour it in the washer. This has happened to me and this is what I do.
   -I do not use fabric softener so no money spent there.

3. The Dryer:
    -Keep your buzzer on. If yours is like mine it will buzz when the dryer is done and then keep going for a few more minutes. I try to get the clothes out on the first buzz.
  - Put the next load in while the dryer is warm still. This will save money on the dryer heating up again.
  -Clean the lint trap every single load.
  -I rarely use dryer sheets but if I do need one I tear them in half. Works fine and you get twice as many dryer sheets.
  -Of course you could hang your clothes. I do have a small line out back but I do use my dryer. I just don't want to spend the time with all the loads I do hanging it out. We have a gas dryer and our gas bill is very low so this is an area I feel is worth the use of the dryer.

I make my own laundry soap and stain remover. Recipes for homemade laundry detergent and stain remover
are here and here. I will buy laundry soap if I find a really great deal. Have not bought stain remover in over a year since I started making my own. You can see the post where I buy my supplies cheaply here.


Mary Clark said...

You do more laundry than I do, and I do a lot :) I wash ALL my laundry in cold water except sheets, and it's all fine. My washer has settings for minutes, I wash mine for 4 - it's all fine. Even my Matthew's muddy clothes from playing at the creek.

Sometimes I'm away from hearing the dryer beep, it will automatically cut off after four sets of buzzing. Last year I did not use the dryer at all - and it did not save a dime. My cousin says with these modern energy efficient appliances, it doesn't help. So this year I'm using the dryer. It was kind of fun last year though, playing like I was Little House on the Prairie (except I hung them all inside).

I recently bought All laundry detergent on sale with coupons, but I'm sure homemade is less expensive - I need to do that but worry about my and my daughter's itchy dry skin. Is there a way to add something to ease that?

Thanks for the reminder to cut dryer sheets in half, I totally need to get on that. I'm going now to write myself a note to do that.


marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

I don't do that much laundry for just the two of us, but I am super careful to only do laundry on the weekend when our electricity rate is the very lowest. My washer and dryer are both electric. I always have a full load of darks, mediums and lights, then of course my whites. I buy laundry soap on sale with a coupon or I can usually find Sun Detergent at the 99c store. There is enough to do 6 loads in a box, so that is pretty inexpensive.
Great tips. Hugs, Marty

Kim@Snug Harbor said...

We do a lot of laundry here too - seems our washer is always going. I almost always use cold water.

I make my own dryer sheets and this method works great. I bought a small bottle of Downey fabric softener. I took a small terrycloth washrag and soaked it in a bowl with 3 Tablespoons of Downey and some water. Then I set it out to dry.

I then toss it in with each load of laundry. One rag dryer sheet lasts about 2 weeks and then I re-soak it. I haven't bought Downey in over a year.

Cindy said...

Very good ideas. I have always used cold water to wash and hang out some of it when weather permits. When the kids were small I hung out everything, except socks. That saved us a lot. With only two of us I only do laundry about every week and half.

Smart! School {House} said...

Awesome ideas! I use homemade detergent too (love). Thank you so much for joining us on Whimsy Wednesday. We are so grateful for you and your great ideas!

Hearts & Hugs,
Kelly at Smart School House

Ricki Jill Treleaven said...

I use quick wash with most of our clothes. I always set my kitchen timer and pull most clothes out of drier when they are still damp and hag them up in our laundry room on the hanging rack that has two dozen padded hangers. It also makes clothes much easier to iron, and some things I don't have to iron at all.

Our problem is Shelley's skin allergies. We can only use All Free and Clear because it's the only detergent that is free of everything including oils. We can't use dryer sheets, but I do use Downey Free sometimes.

I spend so much time in our laundry room, LOL! Changing the lighting source is a very good idea. I keep the light off during the day because we have a large window in our laundry room.


Olive said...

I did not have a dryer for two years and we made it. I ironed a lot however. I do hang up a lot of clothes but there are just two of us. I do wash many linens because I sell them. Our water in this county is very inexpensive even when I water the flower garden but I am still careful not to waste it. I am going to look up your stain remover.

Julie said...

You really should give Elaine's laundry detergent a try. I have severe allergies to detergent's. A while ago, they stopped making the only one I could use. I bought so many non-allergenic ones to try (including the one you use) and couldn't stand any of them. I tried Elaine's recipe and had no problems at all!!!! It has some scent before using it but the clothes come out smelling clean but unscented and no rash. And it's cheaper - definitely win/win. $

Andi's English Attic said...

I'm sorry, double take here. You do a laundry load in 10 MINUTES? My current washing machine's quickest wash is 45 minutes! Unless it's a quick rinse and then it's 15. We can't set the time, only the programme. What the heck is the UK up to?

Enid said...

I have always washed my clothes for 8 minutes, ever since the dealer that delivered my Maytag washer back in the early sixties, told me that is all the time the load needs, otherwise the clothes are going to be absorbing the dirty water...
I make my own detergent, but do buy Sun detergent at Walmart that has 40 loads per box,for $2.48, I get 80 as I have a water that is pretty cheap.

Kim@Seasons of My Heart said...

Wonderful ideas and tips!

I've been making my own laundry soap for about a year and a half and LOVE...LOVE...LOVE it!

Now that we are empty nesters...we have trouble doing full loads of laundry...but I try! :-)

GardenofDaisies said...

You've got lots of great ideas for saving money here. I have always used a cold water wash for almost everything. I do use hot water for sheets, and every so often for a load of whites that needs to be bleached.
Unplugging your appliances when not in use will save you money, too. They continue to draw a small amount of electricity even when not running. Obviously that wont' work for a refrigerator, but for a washer, dryer, toaster, coffeemaker... just think of how the pennies are going to add up over a years time.
For me, saving electricity is about a lot more than saving money. It's about saving mountains. The way the coal companies mine these days... it destroys everything. Go online and read about "mountain top removal" some time when you have a chance.

Our Neck of the Woods said...

Wow, and I thought I did a lot of laundry! Geez louise!

I do basically everything you've listed here except for making my own detergent. I've tried some homemade ones and they seemed ok, but I usually succumb to convenience and buy some.

Tammy ~ Country Girl at Home ~ said...

That IS alot of laundry! I like your tips. Cleaning out that vent after every load is a HUGE help, in my opinion! I too can't imagine not making my own detergent saves so much. I've never made stain remover, but will have to give that a try.

Thanks for sharing, Elaine!


20 North Ora said...

Thanks for the post of great ideas!


Sharing Shadymont said...

Great ways to save! I enjoy reading your frugal tips! I can always stand to save a little more money.

Linda said...

That's a lot of laundry! I guess I did that much when the kids were way we use less is...I have washed only on cold for only on cleaning rags. I also have the dryer on a timer and I hang quite a few clothes...also...we wear our comfy we call them at home to save washing jeans and other clothes...also...we don't use paper napkins...cloth only...old towels, diapers and t shirts are used for paper towels for'd be surprised how much money you save!

Nancy po said...

I didn't read all the comments but here's one a lot of us use, not to state the obvious-
look at what really needs to be washed each time your wear/use it? I will wear my jeans, at home 2 days in a row, if they're not muddy, or really DIRTY. Ditto tops, or tops I wear another top under. Like a cotton turtleneck under a sweater. I spot treat the sweater a couple of times then wash it. If you look at how MANY clothes people automatically wash that aren't actually DIRTY you will see how much longer your clothes will last and how much $$$ you'll save. I don't skimp washing towels, sheets, underclothes, etc. weekly. But we all wear a lot more clothing...
Nancy, Little Homestead in Boise

Corn in my Coffee-Pot said...

Oh my goodness, I remember doing that kind of laundry when all my kids were here! And I did hang it out...But back then I didn't have POLES...I had lines strung between the trees. It was a pain.
I'm considering your florescent light option.
I don't have one in my Utility room...but I do have one in the closet(on the ceiling) that we no longer use. It wouldn't be any trouble to move. Hmmm...I think this is a viable option for saving money!
I like comparing my list of savings in this room to yours... Not for wrong reasons...but to see how we're actually doing some good and to see if you list might spark a better idea or something new to incorporate! Thanks for sharing your Frugal Room by Room.
I love learning new things in the subject of frugal living. :) Pat

Michelle said...

I use homemade soap as well. I made a 5 gallon bucket of liquid soap and 3 pint jars of dry. also make a gallon of fabric softener for about 15 dollars You can't bet that in the stores.

Tania @ Out Back said...

You do have a lot of laundry Elaine :)

I wash twice a week, for three of us. I have a twin tub washing machine (not sure if you will know what that is... it's not automatic). I wash using one load of cold water for all the washing and one full laundry tub full of water, for rinsing. I set the timer for 10 minutes. When done I spin the water from clothes and place in rinse water, then spin out again before hanging out on the line. I don't own a dryer :)

I use homemade liquid detergent, I think it dissolves better. The recipe found here

Thank you for the stain removing recipe, I will make some up.


Joke Vermanen said...

We also save a lot of money by airing clothes and wearing it more than once. I used breadclips with numbers on them to mark how many times I've worn the clothes. I usually wear my jeans the whole weak so it goes on my chair for the next morning. But my sweaters (specially wool ones) I hang them after 2 times of wearing, I air them in front of my window if I air my bedroom. And back in the closet for the next time. This way I also don't have to wear the same thing every single day.
Why wash clothes that are not dirty, if they can stand wearing them more than 2 times?

Smart! School {House} said...

Hey! This will be featured today on Smart School House for Whimsy Wednesday! Your feature and the new party will go live soon. Can’t wait to see what you link up this week! You are fabulous!

Kelly from Smart School House

Lorenza Coon said...

You do a lot of laundry and it’s on a daily basis too! I know that it’s probably because you don’t want them to pile up, but I think you can do it twice, or at most thrice, a week. That will help you save water and electricity too, but it’s good that you run your washer full every time.

Lorenza Coon