I have been in charge of a laundry for a little over 10 years. It has seldom shown a profit – every once in a while I hit it big and find a $5 bill tucked into a pocket. But over the years I have learned much about the process of doing laundry and sadly, some of them are epiphanies that struck very recently and are so simple they leave me wondering, “Why did it take so long for me to think of that?”
And laundry is one of those things that never seems to be DONE! So, since we all have laundry piles to work through, I thought I would share some of my best laundry tips to save time AND money! Hopefully they will change the way you do your laundry for the BETTER!
#1 Shorten the wash time and dry time
I know this may sound strange, but I recently discovered that I have a quick wash setting on my washing machine. I have owned our washing machine and dryer for over 8 years and just discovered it last month while trying to rush through piles and piles of laundry before a long road trip. Suddenly, I had the epiphany that if I use the quick wash setting (my clothes weren’t that dirty), I could save hours off of my laundry time. The regular setting for my washing machine takes 45 minutes to complete a cycle. The quick wash setting for my washing machine takes 33 minutes. That is a time savings of at least 12 minutes per load. I say at least because I have timed my washing machine and have noticed it runs 5 to 7 minutes longer than it says it will cycle because it has sensors detecting the amount of moisture left in the clothes. Savings: 12-15 minutes per load of laundry
When it comes to using the dryer, I use the timer setting on my dryer to ensure that my clothes spend no longer than they need to in the heater. The normal dry setting on my sensor dryer states that the cycle will last 50 minutes. I typically put my clothes in the dryer with the time set for 30 minutes. Most of the time my clothes are dry after that one 30 minute cycle. Savings: up to 20 minutes per load of laundry
#2 Do at least 2 loads of laundry every day
This is not some crazy secret, but it is something that really, really works. I prepare the night before by setting laundry baskets outside bedroom doors and reminding myself to grab one on the way downstairs in the morning. While I am getting my coffee ready, I can quickly toss in a load of laundry and get it started. Then when I am done with my first cup of coffee, my first load is finished in the washing machine. I quickly switch the laundry over to the dryer and add a new load to the washing machine. When the next cycle is finished, I am already halfway through with my laundry for the day and it is not even 7 in the morning! On the days I do this, I have laundry finished and put away by 10 AM!
#3 Set aside a specific place for folding
Another new thing I am doing is folding my laundry at the dryer. I have the luxury of a large counter top over my washer and dryer, so I instead of allowing it to become a clutter catcher, I am using it for what it was intended. By refusing to let my clothes hang out in the dryer – necessitating at least one fluff cycle – I am making it a habit to go over when the buzzer goes off to fold my clothes and place them on the counter, ready to go when I go upstairs to get the girls. I used to fold my clothes in the later morning or the evening, but I always had to fluff them because they had sat and wrinkled before I could get to them. Having a designated place to quickly fold my clothes has saved me lots of time waiting on the fluff cycle to finish. Savings: at least 15 minutes per load
#4 Cut everything in half
We typically use a powdered laundry detergent, a liquid fabric softener, and dryer sheets with each load. If I use what the boxes tell me, I will spend about 20 cents per load. But, if I cut everything in half, I cut my laundry bill by that much, too! As I said before our clothes are not that dirty and the typical load of laundry already has residual detergent in the clothes (from the last time you washed them); thus, we can save money and stretch the laundry detergent by halving the amount we use each load. See below what I do for fabric softener. For the dryer sheets, I literally cut them in half. When I open a new box of dryer sheets, I use scissors to cut them in half and place them in a separate container. I purchased dryer sheets a number of years ago on an amazing sale (with coupons 😉 !) and I am still using them! Still! Savings: 50% of your laundry budget
#5 Use fabric softener every other week
Before we had little ones, I heard that fabric softener can make clothing more flammable. After we had our girls, I decided I would use our fabric softener more sparingly as a precaution. I figure we wear most of what we are going to wear in a 10 day period (we are creatures of habit around here). So, I typically put the fabric softener away (in a cabinet), every other week. The result is a peace of mind for me and a breather for our budget by cutting our fabric softener use in half. Savings: 50% of your fabric softener budget
#6 Use Color catchers to wash new clothes with old
I was truly skeptical about the claims of Color Catchers when I first heard about them. And how they work are truly a mystery to me, BUT they WORK! Since we are parents to young girls, we get a LOT of new clothes that are pink – the most dangerous color for laundry. My mother-in-law picked up a box of Color Catchers for me when we first started doing little girl laundry and I was sold immediately! And you know my money saving soul is going to cut those things in half to make them stretch. I don’t have to use the Color Catchers in every load of laundry, but if I am at all concerned about colors bleeding, I toss one in there! Oh, and I even use them when I want to do a small load mixed with whites – unheard of in our mama’s day! Savings: the heartache of a now-pink undershirt and 50% of your Color Catcher budget.
#7 Put it off
Ok, so I just told you to attend to your wash as soon as the buzzer goes off, so what gives? Another thing I discovered recently about my washing machine is it has a delay start button (just like my dishwasher). So, you know how I said that I get up and throw a load of laundry in the washing machine, first thing? I started using this feature on my washing machine because my husband gets up and takes a shower about 15 minutes after I get started on my morning routine. This button allows me to get on with my usual routine and get laundry done on my family’s schedule. Depending on how long your timer goes on your machine, you could set it to start a load a little bit before you get back from running errands. So you could shop while doing laundry! I just love that! Savings: your husband’s water pressure and hot water!
Looking for more tips on laundry, head over to my blog, Simple.Home.Blessings. to see more tips for making laundry ROCK! And feel free to share your favorite time- and money-saving tips in the comments – we always love to up our game!