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How to Save a Bundle on Laundry

According to statistics, the average American household washes about 400 loads of laundry year—that's a lot of water, fabric softener, detergent, energy and most importantly money –about $436 to be exact—that is used to keep your clothes clean and smelling fresh. But washing your clothes doesn't necessarily have to deplete your wallet. To learn how you can save a bundle on your laundry, continue reading below.

By far the easiest way to save on laundry is to stop using hot water as much as possible. Experts suggest that washing in hot water as opposed to cold water for a year wastes more energy than if you constantly left the refrigerator door open for the same amount of time. Fortunately most of the newer detergents are designed to fight stains and remove dirt as equally as effectively in cold water. To save even more you can also opt to buy the generic brand. While some consumers complain that generic detergents are sometimes too "weak" all you have to do is simply add ½ cup of baking soda to the wash and give the formula a little boost.

If you want to really save, then you can always choose to skip the store-bought laundry detergents and make your own—it's also a more environmental friendly alternative since all of those harsh chemicals that are poured into most detergents are left out.

Here's a recipe for a simple-home made liquid detergent:

1 bar of soap of your preference, grated into flakes using a cheese grater
1/2 cup of borax
1 cup of Arm and Hammer washing soda
Stirring spoon
Rubber gloves
Tub or trash can
Clean empty milk jugs

Boil 5 cups water in a big pot and add the shaves of grated soap, stirring occasionally. Bring back to a boil and then remove from heat. Fill up a tub or empty clean trash can with 3 gallons of hot water. Add soap mixture and stir. Add washing soda and stir until dissolved. Repeat with borax. Let cool. Distribute in empty milk jugs for easy storage. Use about a half a cup of homemade detergent for each load.

Extra Tip: Wash only full loads—yes, half loads use less water, but they still use the same amount of electrical power.

Fabric Softener
The easiest way to save on fabric softener is not to use any at all. But if you must, add vinegar in the rinse cycle instead of fabric softener. Don't worry; your clothes won't come out smelling like eggs. In fact, the smell is completely undetectable once your clothes are dry. Vinegar is a natural fabric softener and is as equally as effective as the store-bought stuff.

If you happen to be a fan of fabric softener dryer sheets, a good way to save is to simply cut all your sheets in half. If static cling still remains an issue, add a ball of aluminum foil to the dryer—the aluminum is what helps break down static electricity.

When it comes to drying, it's always a good idea to let some of your clothes air dry. This will not only help you save money, but it will also help extend the life of your clothes since dryers actually beat the fibers out of your garments. If you have heavier items like jeans and don't have the time to let them air dry, at least try to shorten the time it takes to dry your clothes. A good way to do this is to invest in some dyer balls.

This guest post is contributed by Tara Miller. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: miller.tara23@gmail.com.


  1. Great post Lisa. I love your blog. (I'm a follower!) Just wanted to pop on and say that I use the homemade detergent you described. I love it. One day, though, I was preparing to mix up another batch and all of the containers I stored it in had been thrown away. Ack! So I went online and found a recipe using the same three ingredients only it's a powder, not liquid. You take the bar of grated Fels Naptha, one cup Borax, and one cup Arm & Hammer washing soda, mix it together and use about 2 tablespoons per load. It works great. Now I switch back and forth- sometimes I make the liquid mixture and sometimes I just make the powder mixture. I will never go back to buying regular, expensive detergent again.

  2. Stacy thanks for stopping by and sharing that! I'm going to try it.