Home Experts: Local News
20 tips to save on laundry
We come clean on how to save 90% or more on laundry detergent and how to cut your washer and dryer's operating costs.
Story Updated: May 22, 2012
8. Wash only full loads. You'll use less energy. Need to do laundry more often because you've run out of, say, socks? It's cheaper to buy more of an item so you don't have to keep running a nearly empty washer.
9. Adjust the water level. If you do have to wash a partial load, adjust the water level on your washing machine to fit the size of the load. The California Energy Commission says the average washer uses 40 gallons of water per load. If you fill only a third of the washer with laundry and still use the highest water setting, you're wasting about 27 gallons.
10. Set the wash cycle to a lower setting. Only heavily soiled clothes need the highest setting. Everything else will get clean in less time. I typically wash my clothes with the lowest setting on my washing machine.
11. Use high-speed spins. If your washing machine has a "high spin" setting, use it. The high-powered spin does a better job of removing excess water from your clothes, cutting down on drying times.
12. Don't overload. Your washing machine won't perform efficiently if you overload it. If it's too full, the detergent won't distribute evenly, and the clothes won't be able to agitate against each other.
13. Save the suds. Some washing machines have a suds-saving feature. The setting reserves the wash water and uses it again on another load. If your machine has this setting, use it. It'll reduce your water usage by 50%.
14. Replace fabric softener with white vinegar. A bottle of fabric softener ranges from $2.97 to $9 at Wal-Mart. Save your money and add one-fourth of a cup of white vinegar to each load during the rinse cycle. The vinegar softens cloths and helps prevent static cling. A 16-ounce bottle costs about $1.50.
15. Clean the dryer's lint filter. Clean the interior lint filter by hand between every load. Once every four to six months, use a vacuum with an extension tube to clean out the exterior lint filter on the back of your dryer. Lint buildup prevents your dryer from operating efficiently, making it take longer to dry your clothes.
16. Don't over-dry. Many modern dryers have a water sensor that automatically turns off the dryer when your clothes are dry. If you have this setting, use it. If you have an older dryer, check on your clothes every 20 to 30 minutes. Once they feel dry to the touch, pull them out immediately.
17. Line dry. Line drying is free. If you don't have a backyard, purchase a drying rack or an interior clothes line. I installed a retractable clothes line in my kitchen so I can pull it out when I need it and hide it when I don't. Perfect for delicates.
18. Take advantage of off-peak hours. Some utility companies have lower rates during their off-peak hours (generally during the evenings or weekends). Call your utility company, find out the exact times, and run your dryer then for easy savings.