Caring for your (and your family's) clothes will make them last longer, and that alone is a budget-helper. But the actual act of washing and drying clothes can put a drain on your wallet. These money-saving laundry tips are easy to incorporate into your routine and will make a difference in what you spend to do all of those loads of laundry.
Use (and choose) your products wisely.
To start, nix the expensive detergent. Generic or store-brand detergents (like Member's Mark laundry detergent from Sam's Club) work just as well as the big name brands, many times for half the price. Also, read the label and to sure that you're using only the amount of detergent you need for your load; most people use more than they need. Use dryer sheets? Cut them in half to get double the usage from a package.
Use cold water.
Hot water is great for things like towels and bed sheets, but with today's detergents and fabrics, cold water does the job just as well.
Choose the shortest washing cycle you can get away with.
Unless your clothing is super-dirty, there's no need to use the normal to heavy wash cycles on your machine. This way, your machine is using less energy since it's running for less time.
Choose the right washer and dryer.
There's a reason why Maytag's slogan is 'The Power to Clean, the Power to Save' - their new Bravos line is made to do both exceptionally well. Their high-efficiency washer uses 70% less water and 70% less energy than conventional washers, and its capacity for larger loads means you can wash more laundry at a time. The Bravos dryer dries clothes quickly and efficiently, and with five temperature settings there's no chance of drying garments longer than necessary.
Whenever possible, air-dry clothing.
The less time your clothing spends tossing around the dryer, the lower your electric or gas bill will be. On warm and sunny days, dry clothing outside on a clothesline, or choose a drying rack (like this Whitmor Drying Rack from Target) that folds up easily for convenient use indoors.
Look for alternative methods to clean your dry-clean-only clothing.
Unless your item is wool or silk (both need to be taken to the cleaners), many pieces can be washed by hand or on the delicate cycle of your washer and then air dried. You can also put the garment in the dryer along with a dryer sheet and a damp towel to gently steam clean it, or purchase a commercial in-dryer cleaning product like Dryel.