How to: Do Your Washing for Less

Washing can be expensive especially for a larger family and as your family grows, so do the costs! The average family washes nearly 400 loads of laundry per year! That’s a lot of detergent... We’ve brought you some great tips to help you save money on your laundry that are also kinder to our environment. 

Use Less Detergent

Washing PowdersItems that are only slightly soiled such as bed linen can be washed with less detergent or you could even skip it altogether. This may strike you as crazy but at least give it a try. Most wash loads do not even need detergent in order to clean them - the pressure of the spinning washing machine does this job on its own. If you’ve ever been camping then you know that it is possible to clean items using just water and skipping the soap every now and again extends the life of it. Using more detergent does not necessarily mean your clothes will be cleaner. Excess soap can hold dirt removed from the clothes and push it into other areas that won’t rinse clean. If you are determined to use detergent, read the bottles label and measure out the exact amounts to avoid using too much. If you live in an area with soft water you can get away with only using half your usual amount of detergent as soft water doesn’t contain the minerals that counteract the detergents. Using too much detergent could also wear the equipment over time which we will discuss in our next point. 

Clean Your Machines

Using too much detergent can cost you your washing machine which can be an expensive mistake -one that can be avoided! Most washing machines aren’t built to cope with masses of detergent and this can cause them to break down. Residue can build up in the machine if you use too much which can cause mechanical problems. Prevention is the best cure, run an empty machine with no laundry and add a cup of white wine vinegar to help remove soap residue. You can also add clothes to the drum if you don’t want to waste water and energy cleaning your machine. We recommend you do this rinse at least every 6 months. Also make sure you clean your dryer and remove the lint after every use to lengthen the life of your product.

Make Your own

DIY DetergentMaking your own laundry detergent can save you money and is very easy to do. The simplest way to do this is to use one and a half cups of washing soda and a bar of natural soap. Grate your soap and add to 4 cups of boiling water. Stir until dissolved then add to a large bucket of water. Add in the washing soda and mix well until the mixture thickens. Use 1-2 tablespoons of your mixture per load. Washing soda cannot be ingested so take care when handling and use gloves. You can also use baking soda to substitute detergent if you have run out. Check out our post on other great uses for baking soda (link to be added). Research suggests homemade laundry detergents bring no harm or damage to the clothing or washing machine.

Use Cold Water

Performing a cold wash every now and again can save you energy and money. Heating the hot water can account for about 90% of the energy used by your machine to wash clothes. The average household could save up to £60 a year by using cold water to wash however if you live in a hard water area you may require warmer water.

Have a Washing Line

Cut out the need for an electric dryer and hang a washing line outside or use a clothes horse indoors to dry your clothes naturally. The average family will save more than £100 a year on electricity by making this change. If you would rather use a dryer then save money by drying 2 loads in a row as you will take advantage of the warm machine and use less energy reheating it. Remove clothes as soon as the dryer has finished and quickly hang, fold and smooth them out whilst warm to save time and energy on ironing.

Fill Your Machine

Clothes PileWashing machines require a lot of energy so cut costs by only doing a laundry load when your machine is full. Ensure you check your manufacturing instructions for the correct water levels and maximum load size. If you do need to do a smaller load, select a lower water level to save money on heat and water. Do not overfill your washing machine as it won’t work as efficiently and won’t be able to get fully clean. Overfilling your machine can also make your fabrics wear and tear from excessive rubbing against other materials if the machine is overloaded, and you won’t want the extra expense on new clothes.

Shop Savvy

To save money on the overall expense of your detergents try and buy in bulk where possible. Buy multipacks if they work out cheaper and take advantage of any offers. Also keep an eye out for any vouchers that you may be able to use against the detergent or against the individual products if you are making your own. Another shopping tip is to check clothing tags when shopping and avoid buying items that are dry clean only to save expensive laundry bills. Invest in a stain removing pen. If you can remove the stain the moment it is fresh, you have more of a chance of saving the garment. 

Wash Carefully

To save paying for expensive mistakes when washing, ensure you take care with items to save you future costs. Ensure you sort your laundry into separate loads, one for colours and one for whites to prevent laundry disasters. You wouldn’t want to wash a white shirt with a red item because it would turn pink and potentially ruin it! Protect delicate items and expensive lingerie by placing them into a separate mesh laundry bag so they don’t get worn against other items in the wash. Hang them to air dry and they will last much longer.

What is the Verdict?

MoneySavingPigWe hope these tips will help you to save money on your laundry. Do you have any further tips to add? We love feedback so please use the comment section below. 

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