How to Save Money on Laundry

Let’s talk dirty. Let’s speak of the kind of filth reserved for sweaty undergarments, worn unbuttoned blouses, and stained white t-shirts. Let’s muse about the body odor smelling up fabrics, the armpit rings circling under sleeves, and the ties dipped in mustard. Let’s talk about doing the laundry.

Laundry. It’s tricky to say something clean and refreshing about such a dingy, dirty topic. But dirty laundry is something we all have in common. We all spoil our shirts, we all stink up our socks, and we all stain our slacks. Laundry is also a repetitive task which can cost us big bucks over time. When I stop to calculate the cost of laundry detergent, the power usage of clothing dryers, and the water consumption of washing machines I shudder at the total cost of cleaning filth.

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Over the long haul, it’s wise to wonder how much money could be saved by laundering differently with a few fresh techniques. Since I want to spot you some dollars and still whiten your wash, lets look at some ways to save money on cleaning laundry!

1. Laundry Detergent

When is comes to laundry detergent it seems the choices are endless. Many brands boast superior cleaning power, wacky ingredients, and sniffling smells. These brands can also be costly at the till. Try these tips to save money on your laundry detergent bill:

  • Buy store brands. Name brand detergents are often more expensive than store brand equivalents, even though both do the same job. Why pay more for the marketing muckity muck and packaging associated with a brand name detergent. Stick with store brands and wash for way less.
  • Get powdered. Powered laundry soaps generally cost far less than the liquid variety and also use fewer environmental resources during production. To avoid powdery residue on your clean wash, be sure to fill your washing machine with water and soap before adding your laundry. This method also helps liquefy the detergent powder more evenly into your wash.
  • Go green. Here’s the quick and dirty on greener laundry detergent! A green detergent should be non-toxic and biodegradable. It must contain no petroleum based ingredients, no optical brighteners, and no dyes or fragrances (clean doesn’t have a smell). Ingredients may include corn and coconut for surfactants, soda ash and borax for water softeners, and sodium gluconate and sorbitol as a natural anti-redeposition agent.
  • Add baking soda. Rescue the soda from your fridge and toss it into your wash. Baking soda is a natural deodorizer and works wonders on stinky gear and smelly shirts. Just add a quarter cup to your washing machine’s rinse cycle to use as a fabric softener and odor remover. To pretreat spots before putting clothes into the wash, try making a paste from a 50/50 mix of baking soda and water.
  • Add white vinegar. Take a pass on greasy fish and chips and use your vinegar in the wash! Full strength white vinegar is an excellent cleaning tool for clobbering germs, bacteria, and molds. Along with baking soda, vinegar helps to destinkify and deodorize your smelly kit.

Tip: Add your laundry detergent and one cup of white vinegar and quarter cup of baking soda to whiten and brighten your wash. To remove leftover soap residue, try adding half a cup of white vinegar to the wash rinse cycle. Your clothing will smell clean and fresh. I promise, you won’t smell any vinegar after your clothing is dry.

2. Washing

Washing is a way of life. Unless you have kagillions of dollars, you’re unlikely to wear an outfit just once. So here are some ways to dwindle your washing bill.

  • Wash only full loads. Stop doing half loads and start filling your washer to the brim! Half-full loads may use less water but they consume the same electrical power as full loads. Washing with the machine only half full is a sure fire recipe for flushing good money down the drain.
  • Wash in cold water. Get out of hot water and save big bucks on your energy bill by washing cold. Save hot water washes for white towels, socks, and underwear. Some sites claim that as much as 90 percent of the energy used when washing clothes is used just for heating the water. By simply washing cold, an average family can save $70 per year on their energy bill. These dollars add up over the years! Try the Switch to Cold Water and Save calculator to figure your savings.
  • Use shortest washing cycle. Choose the shorter washing cycles for lightly to moderately soiled clothing. Leave the normal to heavy wash cycles for the real dirty stuff. This approach can help to use less energy since the machine runs for less time. Over the year this adds up!
  • Switch to a front-loading washer. Take a spin with a front-loading washing machine to save water, energy, and detergent. The efficiency of these machines is amazing. They require about 40 percent less water per load, consume up to 60 percent less energy, require less detergent to clean, and are more effective in removing water during the spin cycle – so less time in the dryer. These machines are more expensive to buy than top loading machines, but the savings do add up over the years. I am so saving for one.

3. Drying

Sometimes wet clothing needs a good drying. Here are some drying alternatives as well as ways to optimize your dryer.

  • Hang dry. Get hung out to dry by skipping the clothes dryer. By using clothing racks in place of a clothes dryer you can save lots on energy costs. I’ve found my clothing lasts longer and fades less when hung out to dry. Alternatively, place clothing in a dryer for just 15 minutes on high heat to fluff, then pull out the still damp laundry and hang it to air dry. This leads to considerable savings. I hang and air my laundry in all seasons, not just in the summer.
  • Remove lint. Keep your dryer lint free. A full lint trap doesn’t allow the moist air to escape properly, which slows down the drying cycle and uses more energy. While you’re at it, check your belly button too.

4. Ironing

Stop getting your wallet flattened by ironing costs. The irony is ironing can be done faster with less effort for less bucks by trying these simple pressing tips.

  • Less dryer time. Rescue your wardrobe from the dryer sooner by removing your clothes promptly. Leaving clothes in the dryer sets terrible wrinkles, which require way more ironing time. I find removing ironables when still very slightly damp helps to lessen ironing time as well.
  • Get foiled. Try inserting aluminum foil between the ironing board and the cover. This helps to conserve heat and gets the job done faster.
  • Get spritzed. Get an inexpensive bottle sprayer and add some water. Spraying to moisten ironable items helps to soften wrinkles and requires less time to press.

5. Clean Conclusions

Getting dirty things clean doesn’t have to be a drag. By employing these few wonderful washing techniques, you can save big bucks over the years.

Do you have some tips for washing your wardrobe? Any tricks for saving cleaning dollars? Want to talk dirty?

Your two cents:

  1. Sara June 25th, 2008

    I’ve gotta admit, I’m still to chicken to try vinegar. I swear by keeping things 10 minutes in the dryer (just enough to knock out vicious washer wrinkles), then hanging dry.

  2. Kerry June 25th, 2008

    @Sara Vinegar is awesome. I have lots of stinky workout gear and vinegar is the best solution for killing the smell. It’s cheap too. ;)

  3. Beth June 25th, 2008

    I’d also recommend making sure that 1) your dryer vent actually vents to the outdoors (i’ve seen way too many holmes on homes where the dryer vent leads to nowhere!) and 2) that said dryer vent is free from obstructions, clean, and that the opening where the vent ventilates is also not blocked by anything else like shrubbery or hose reels.
    Hanging to dry is the best option. If you can’t stand the crunchiness of outdoor dried clothes, fluff the clothes up for a few minutes in the dryer on air only and that will save some $$$ as well :)
    Drying outdoors using the sunshine is also the best stain remover of all time, particularly if you’re drying diapers!

  4. SunkistMom June 25th, 2008

    I swear the area you are in is familiar (if that is a photo near you) I think you may be not to far from me.

    Anyway, good post! :)

  5. Mrs. Micah June 25th, 2008

    Unfortunately, we have to use the machines in the building, so some of these won’t work (like waiting for the rinse cycle). But we do wait for full loads and we use the cold & energy saving wash. So pleased that our apartment building offers that option. :)

    Sometimes we also hang dry…but our drying rack needs fixing.

  6. amn June 26th, 2008

    Are there any powder-based store brands that are also green?

    We had a front-loading stackable in our old house. Loved it. Sadly, we sold it with the house. Although it was half the size (and twice the price) of the full-size washing machine we have now, you could fit nearly as much in the drum, since there was no agitator. The biggest downside I found is that once the wash cycle starts you can’t add or remove anything.

  7. Marci June 26th, 2008

    Good useful topic.

    Beware tho that vinegar is heck on rubber gaskets in washers.
    But it’s great on getting the smells out, for sure!

    Between living where the sun doesn’t shine (NW Coastal OR) and
    being on the dusty road to the mill where the log trucks pass by 50 feet from my clothes line, drying clothes just isn’t such a great idea here :( except on Sundays when the Mill is down.

    On really stained or odor filled items, I really like to just let the clothes soak overnight with soap and baking detergent.

  8. Li'l Stevie June 26th, 2008

    But honey, my landlady pays for my heat, hot water, and electricity… so I don’t pay anything for laundry… so can I get in the washing machine and crank it on ‘hot’ for my tub soak?

  9. Wooly Woman June 26th, 2008

    I so love our front loading washed. When we bought a house we had to buy appliances and so opted for a mid-range front load washed and regular drier. I couldn’t believe how much drier time it saved the first few times I did the laundry! And uses much less soap and gets the clothes really clean. I am currently using VIP liquid soap for high efficiency washers. Good price, environmentally friendly, available at the grocery store, and works well.

  10. Li'l Stevie June 26th, 2008

    Oh I LOVE VIP soap, i love the granules, they smell so good, it’s just the best smell.

  11. Al Pal June 26th, 2008

    Hey Beth (and anyone else who uses cloth diapers) – a great tip to avoid stains on a cloth diaper: rub a little Sunlight soap (I buy the Sunlight soap bars) on the ‘dirty’ diaper before putting them into the diaper pail. It’s an extra step…but well worth the effort. We also put a little white vinegar into the diaper pail to help ward off any unwated odour before washing day arrives.

  12. Jules June 29th, 2008

    I use homemade detergent (recipe on Trent Hamm’s Simple Dollar) and line dry; as I have sensitive skin, the perfumes and dyes in all but the most expensive detergents make me ITCH. I use an olive-oil based soap (just because it’s so cheap that I can afford to splurge on that) and a few drops of lavender oil for scenting–it’s wonderful!

    I’ve yet to try the vinegar trick–apparently it’s a fabric softener, too.

  13. Chickadee June 30th, 2008

    Good article. I find that I can use about half of the amount of detergent recommended on the package, and get good results in cold water (unless the clothes are very dirty). I use regular detergent, since the ‘cold water’ brands cost more for some reason,

    I’d like to have a front-loading washer, but our old top-loader still works. We don’t use the dryer much, so it doesn’t matter that the old machine extracts less water than a new machine would. Since you are a financial whiz, Fox, can you explain how to figure the savings (if any) in switching to a front-loader? What is the life expectancy of the new front-loading machines compared to the old top-loaders? Is is cost-effective to switch if the old model still works?

  14. Viciik July 13th, 2008

    I always hang my laundry out to dry. On sunny days, the sun acts as a bleaching agent and so whites get even whiter without the use of any chemicals. The fresh air acts as the best fragrance and also less ironing is generally required – some things don’t even need ironing after being hung out to dry.

  15. Andrea August 17th, 2008

    I always include a dry beach towel with my dryer load. The towel reduces the drying time of the clothes that are nearly dry from my–read it and weep–front loading dryer. Also, using one=half to one-fourth of the detergent’s recommended amount works well on nearly everything, including my husband’s gardening clothes. Last tip, I turn laundry inside-out before washing and drying–keeps them looking newer longer and reduces “pilling” which doesn’t (but should) mean popping antidepressants to get over how crummy those cute capris look after you slaved to get ‘em clean but instead means those little fuzzballs that form on your clothes due to friction.

  16. Connie January 16th, 2009

    One last thing that isn’t mentioned. If you must use a dryer, shake out the wet laundry before you toss it in the dryer. When you do this you are making sure that the shirt sleeves, etc., are not stuck together and warm air is able to pass though just one layer instead of two. This simple step will cut down the time and energy it takes to dry your clothes by 28%. Real chepskates who dry outside have alwayes done this as they have learned things dry better this way.

  17. Kerry January 16th, 2009

    @Connie Awesome tip! I too shake out my laundry before hanging to dry. I never knew there was such an energy savings! Wow.

  18. Lugubres July 10th, 2009

    Lovely blog. I have a few questions for you.

    Baking soda: I have a front-loader washer, and haven’t tried to open the door midway during my wash yet. Would I be able to add a quarter cup of baking soda to my washer’s rinse cycle without water being spilling out?

    White Vinegar (in tip section of your blog): you suggested to add laundry detergent and 1 cup of white vinegar and 1/4 cup of baking soda to whiten and brighten one’s wash. How would I do it with the front-loader washer? I have a little drawer for the detergent and do I just put the white vinegar and baking soda on top my dirty laundry?
    Thank you

  19. Monique November 5th, 2009

    I went out and bought your book and love all the money saving tips you give. You did mention purchasing baking soda in animal feed stores to save money. I have tried searching but would you know of an animal feed store in Vancouver or Richmond? Thanks in advance for any assistance.

  20. Kerry November 5th, 2009

    Hi Monique! I found a few places that might work for you: Buckerfield’s is a well known feed store in BC. There are also a number of chicken feed and supply stores around Vancouver that can save you some money on baking soda. These places will not be “elegant” or “boutique-like” when you go and visit, just to let you know. :D

  21. Jeannine March 9th, 2010

    Hi Kerry,
    I’m from West Kelowna so we’re neighbors!! I called Buckerfield’s for baking soda but they do not carry it. Where else can I try???
    I use baking soda & vinegar & borax all the time.
    Love your book!!

  22. Jeannine March 9th, 2010

    Hi Kerry,
    I live in West Kelowna so that makes us neighbors! I called Buckerfield’s in Kelowna about baking soda but they don’t carr it. I use it all the time as well as borax & vinegar.
    Where else might I try?
    Thanks!! Love your book!!

  23. Kerry March 9th, 2010

    Hi Jeannie! So happy to meet a local! I just called around and Briteland (www.Briteland.com) here in Vernon has it in stock. They’re selling a 50 pound bag for just over $25. They can also special order larger amounts. If you’re looking to stay in Kelowna, then http://www.growers-supply-co.com may carry some too. So happy you like my book. :)

  24. Kathy C March 9th, 2010

    Thanks for all the great laundry tips. I have also cut down on laundry in general by using my clothesline to air clothes out. If I’ve worn something and it’s just a little “stale” from wear, I turn it inside out and hang it on the clothesline for a day. If it’s not too delicate, perhaps for a few days, maybe even through a light rain. Give it the sniff test (bet it’s fine, but have an honest pal that you can double check with if your sniffer’s not great)… and back on the hanger it goes.

  25. Jess March 14th, 2010

    Laundry saving tips–fun!

    If an item is a little wrinkled and I don’t need to wear it for a couple days, I’ll leave it hanging up in the shower. The steam will fill up and the wrinkles are gone.

    Sometimes saving money just comes down to being lazy, heehee–.

  26. terri July 14th, 2010

    I recently found out how to deal with the pilling/fuzzies on sweaters, exc. you need only use a sharp razor, and shave the fuzzies…works great.

  27. Gael July 22nd, 2010

    I’ve had two front-loading washers, and I’m not sure they save money. Front-loaders just aren’t as durable as top-loaders because of the forces on the bearings, which might not be built strong enough since all the manufacturers care about is selling price. Our first front-loading machine lasted only 5 years. And our water is cheap. The clothes do come out of the washer a lot drier, which saves quite a bit of drying time.

  28. Zoooma August 12th, 2010

    This is about how to save money.

    Author says: “Buy store brands”

    then says: “Go green”

    I understand the desire to go green but going green is often MORE EXPENSIVE, usually more expensive than name brands which are more expensive than store brands!!!

    Hello?!?!?!?!

    It’s amazing — if green is sooooooooooo much better for saving the planet, maybe they’d make products that are more affordable for everyone. Cheap store brands are how to save money. Green products are how to spend MORE money.

  29. Kerry August 12th, 2010

    @Zoooma I go green by using baking soda and vinegar to do my laundry. Both are natural cleaning agents and both are very cheap.

  30. Plato August 13th, 2010

    Fox,
    The one thing I miss from old times in my country is line drying. Moreover many places here don’t allow line drying outside, & u know how much space a 1 br apt. has. But, to the point, how do you use the vinegar & baking soda? I have been considering this, but can’t figure out the amounts. I have a front loader. I watch my drier like a hawk, & check before the timer sets off. I promptly put the clothes on the hangers, & so no ironing, well, almost. I do use half-1/3 of the detergent, & know most stains are better taken care of with cold water. Hot water sets a lot of them. I also add 1/4-1/3 cup of borax to the wash…softer clothes. I can’t stand the commercial softeners. Also, I buy only the largest pack, laundry detergent, dish detergent, (don’t use the dishwasher as much as it takes me 3 weeks to fill it up), liquid hand soap, costs 1/5 of what I would spend if I bought the smaller sizes. I have the smaller containers from like 5 years, just wash them before refilling each time. My hand soap? last time I ran out of it, & couldn’t rush out to replace, I just filled it with my regular shampoo. Guests kept complimenting me on the great hand soap i had. I replaced it 1 year ago, & am sure I won’t have to buy another one for the next at least 3 years. I live alone. This means less garbage too, Just 1 container, my laudry detergent lasts for a whole year. That was great for me. I bur whatever is on sale, I do comparison shop. My loyalty is only to my life & my wallet & environment. Not to the “brands” This is a great blog here. Thanx.

  31. jom August 13th, 2010

    I found, by accident, that if put the powder soap (I get it in a plastic bag) into a plastic container filled 1/3 of the way and add water, that I buy alot less soap. I have to shake it up when doing laundry but it dissolves just like the liquid soaps and I get alot more loads for the money.

  32. Amy W August 13th, 2010

    Several good ideas for laundry:

    1. Turn knit shirts (golf shirts, etc.) inside out for washing. This allows the soap and water to get closer to the stink and grit as well as protecting from wear and tear. Pills become a thing of the past and shirts really do look better longer.

    2. Button all pants, zip all zippers, etc. Clothing hardware is always considered abrasive to other fabrics.

    3. Delicates should ALWAYS be put in a mesh bag or pillowcase to wash and air dried.

    4. Stuffed animals can also be put in pillowcases, tied shut with a rubber band and put in a regular wash cycle. Allow to tumble dry on low for about 40 minutes. If extra drying is needed, allow them to air dry.

    5. Extra difficult stains can often be removed with Fels-Naptha bar soap, the same kind your gramma probably used… It comes in a hard yellow bar in the laundry/soap aisle at the grocery store and usually costs less than $1.75, plus it lasts forever. Dampen the spot and rub a little soap directly from the bar onto the culprit stain. Allow to sit overnight, then launder as usual. Voila! Stains gone!

  33. Kerry August 13th, 2010

    @Amy Your tips are exceptional. Thank you for taking the time to share your ideas.

  34. Cynthia August 13th, 2010

    1. when removving yellow crap from underarms first spray and was soak it for an hour with the stuff then an other hour with vinager that should do the trick and taking out the bad case of arm pit smellaroooeee.

  35. Kerry August 13th, 2010

    @Cynthia Ahh, yellow armpitis — a terrible affliction I too suffer from. I will try your trick!

  36. NikkiStarr November 17th, 2010

    For “green” washing, I stopped using store brands about 2 years ago. I make my own laundry detergent. It’s a simple recipe and I get about 900 loads for around $30. Beat that at store prices.
    What you need: 2 five gallon buckets with lids
    1 bar of Fels-Naptha soap (grated, I use a cheese grater)
    1 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (be sure it’s washing soda though)
    1 cup Borax
    tap water
    OPTIONAL: essential oil in your fav scent

    Take one quart water in a pan and heat on low heat, add grated Fels-Naptha soap and stir constantly until completely melted.

    Add the Washing soda and borax to 1 5-gallon bucket and add hot water (2 gallons) mix until powders are dissolved.

    After water and Fels-Naptha mixture is ready, add to this bucket and stir well. Then add (2 and 3/4 more gallons water and stir well. Let sit over night.

    Then the next day split this mix into half, one half staying in the current bucket the other going in the 2nd bucket. Add 2 and 1/2 gallons hot water to each and stir well. Use 5/8 cup per wash load. Add 1 cup white vinegar to whites, towels and underwear. You can add 2-3 drops of essential oil to each load, for different scent on each load, or you can add 15-20 drops to each refilled liquid bottle, or 40-45 to each bucket full. This can be adjusted to your own liking.

    I keep an old liquid laundry detergent bottle in the laundry room and just fill it as needed. It’s a large Gain bottle, I get to fill it about 8 times per each 5 gallon bucket. Cost per load is about $0.03.

    If you have trouble finding any of these items in your local stores, try soapsgonebuy.com They sell all of these items and ship direct to your door.

    My clothes are cleaner than ever, no smells at all. And much much less lint in the dryer as well.

    As for the dryer lint trap, if you have ever used commercial dryer sheets, wash your filter monthly. You will find the first time you wash it that the water will not flow easily through it. An old tooth brush works great to clean these small holes that get clogged up by commercial dryer sheets. This clogging causes problems with dryer parts, increases drying time and can be a fire hazard.

    As for “dryer sheets” Get a pack of cheap small sponges at the dollar store (usually 6 in a pack for $1). Cut each one in half and drop it in a bucket. If you purchase the regular strength liquid fabric softner not the ultra or concentrated stuff, dilute it by dumping the bottle into a bucket, then fill the bottle 3 times more with tap water and add to that bucket. Stir well, Then sqweeze out 1/2 sponge and throw it in the dryer with your load of clothes. Works great! If you do purchase the concentrated stuff, make sure to pay attention to how concentrated it is. If it’s 2 times the concentration, then dilute to unconcentrated first, then 3x’s dilution over that.

    I hope these tips will help someone else out as much as they have helped me out. I have cut down on the cost of detergent, the cost of dryer sheets, the amount of lint from my clothes, which means the clothes last longer, and stay new looking longer with less shrinkage as well.

  37. Sabrina February 1st, 2011

    Also, trying making your own laundry detergent! It can be a lot cheaper to make your own, and it does an even better job. Since there are no fillers! I make my own with 1 cup borax, 1 cup washing soda (or soda ash) and 1 small bar grated laundry soap (I skip the grating and save my fingers and buy a box of soap flakes by Eco-Pioneer at my local health food store). I toss it in a food processor to get it really fine and only use 1 Tablespoon per load. I do recommend giving it a shake before using, and if you think you may have problems with powder in cold water, then just add your Tablespoon to a bottle of hot water, shake to dissolve and pour into your cold wash :)Easy peasy, and I LOVE your blog :)

  38. Melody May 2nd, 2011

    Over a year ago, I had to have a repair man come and replace a part on my front loading washing machine, and while he was here he told me that I should only use laundry detergents that were low suds, and that I only needed to add 1Tbs of detergent/per load. He said that using more than that is not only expensive, but it’s actually bad on the washing machine, too. I have a family of 5, and usually do at least 1-2 loads/per wk. day. Right before he came, I had just bought a 210oz bottle of laundry soap, and it lasted me over a year, and I am now only on my 2nd 170oz bottle, which still has enough detergent to do many more loads! He also, told me to only use 1Tbs of detergent in my dishwasher, too.

  39. Lois May 20th, 2011

    Or…make your own laundry detergent! I can make my own and save $15 every time I do.

  40. Kate June 24th, 2011

    Loved this article. Does anyone have suggestions for saving money on coin operated washers/dryers? (i.e. in an apartment building or laundromat)

  41. Evelyn July 16th, 2011

    I make my own laundry soap using a bar of sunlight soap , washing soda and borax.It costs 10 cents a load.

  42. Shann July 22nd, 2011

    I love baking soda and vinegar! I use them for just about everything; adding citrus and essential oils as well make for nice aroma and cleaning boost. I use it for windows, sinks, counters, and brushing teeth (the list is long). I will have to try it with the laundry now :) Thanks for the tips!

  43. Dessalena November 22nd, 2011

    I use homemade laundry soap….1 bar Fels Naptha laundry bar soap ( 97 cents at Walmart) 1 cup each Borax and Arm and Hammer washing Soda…makes 10 gallons!!! you can even add a few drops of essential oils if you want to add fragrance to it. saves a ton of money and works amazingly!

  44. MarianneG January 4th, 2012

    Hi Kerry,
    I’m new here. I want to say WOW! Great $$ saving ideas. Great blogs too. I love to smile.
    I cannot stand the smell of Fels-Naptha bar saop. Makes me wanna hurl. Could I use Castile bar soap instead ? Also, I’ve never seen Sunlight Soap. Is this something just available in Canada ? I used Arm n Hammer Washing Soda on my dads neck grime, because I couldn’t stand the Fels-Naptha smell. It worked great ! I’m also going to try Borax.
    Again, Thank you !

  45. KelleyS February 11th, 2012

    Hi Kerry, I too have a front loader, and use vinegar, baking soda, borax, peroxide. Just wondering like the other lady, I put everything directly into the wash and run a pre-wash cycle (for the borax and baking soda), and sometimes put the peroxide and vinegar in the draw for pre-washing detergent. I don’t know if I am harming my machine or doing any good, but am interested how others do it. I have been using vinegar and baking soda for EVERYTHING seems like forever! LOVE IT!!!!

    I also wash EVERYTHING inside out. Helps the colors stay fresh. And I use my front loader dryer for my husbands clothes, towels and sheets. My daughter’s clothes and most of my clothes I iron straight from the washer (which keeps them looking new and she wears most things for two to three years – she is 5!) and have amazing results. It is time consuming, but it is a labor of love ’cause my daughter always looks awesome!

    Know most already know this, but I just figured it out a few weeks ago, putting tennis balls in the dryer helps fluff up pillows and helps with wrinkling!

    Love the site, Girl! Would love advice on the front loader vinegar/soda rinse cycle!

  46. Suzanne L February 27th, 2012

    Fels Naptha soap might make you hurl because it is toxic. I think we need to stay away from the toxics in laundry. They are always there dosing us since they are on our clothes and, even worse, our bedclothes.

  47. Catherine February 27th, 2012

    Everyone should know that you can get an HE washing machine that is a top loader. They are wonderful! They don’t have agitators in them, they are less likely to get the mold issues that front loaders are prone to, and they are also high capacity. Mine is 5 cubic feet.
    I love using the clothes line to dry clothes. I look forward every spring to the wonderful smell my clothes get from drying on the line.

  48. Brittany October 3rd, 2012

    I am a smoker and I use vinager…it’s gets the smoke smell out…my fiancĂ© works in a shop and it get the shop smell out of his clothes also…no smell of vinager wonderful idea

  49. Luellyn November 30th, 2012

    A handy tip I learned when living in the Med region. To avoid ironing, pull out nice shirts from the wash before the spin cycle (dripping-use a pan or bucket) put the shirts on a heavy hanger and then clothes-pin the bottom hem of the shirt to the clothes line. The hangar will weigh down the fabric and the shirt will dry without wrinkles. And if a sudden storm blows in before things are completely dry you can easily run out and collect everything via the hangars and hang them on the shower rod to finish drying.

  50. Luellyn November 30th, 2012

    I just tried the walmart brand (GreatValue) and since my washer discharges into the laundry sink, I can tell how much suds are in the rinse. I found that I only need about one-half a scoop for a maximum load. Not bad for the value and I actually like the smell OK. When we have smelly stuff or greasy stuff, I, too, swear by the vinegar and baking soda and borax.
    BTW Borax is an excellent insect repellent and is relatively non-toxic, so I can use it in my kitchen.

  51. Alice December 21st, 2012

    I’m living in Sweden, and I’ve never seen a top-loading washingmachine in real life (only in movies and on YouTube clips)… So I find it quite strange that you on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean use a harder-to-use (how do you reach that sock at the bottom of the machine? I don’t get it!), less efficient, less everything machine for something that you do every day?

    Also, ditch the softener. The only thing it adds is parfume…

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