Doing laundry regularly can often cause a dramatic increase in your utility bills, especially in households with small children where laundry may become a daily task. There are ways you can minimize unnecessary increases in your utility bills while enjoying the smell of clean clothes.
Invest in Decent Laundry Products
All laundry products are not created equal, and buying the least-expensive option my leave your clothes dirty or smelly. If you need to rewash clothes because they do not come out clean, it is not worth the savings of buying a bargain brand. To help offset the costs, you may find purchasing generic bleach, dryer sheets, and fabric softener are more acceptable alternatives than generic brands of detergent. It may be worth the money to invest in a pre-treatment for difficult-to-treat-stains to prevent the need to rewash items.
Another consideration with laundry detergent is purchasing powder versus liquid forms. If you opt for a powdered laundry detergent, make sure the detergent has completely dissolved in your top-loading washer before you add your clothes. For front-loading washers, it is often safer to use liquid detergents or make sure you use warm or hot water to ensure powder detergents dissolve. Otherwise, your clothes may be covered in undissolved powder and need to be rewashed. If you own a high-efficiency washer, purchase products made specifically for your washer to prevent an overload of soap suds that may require additional washing to remove from your clothing.
Minimize Dryer Usage
Depending on how energy efficient your dryer is, you may find it consumes significant amounts of energy. If so, limit your dryer usage, especially at peak energy times and during the warmer months. Often the per-kilowatt rate for electricity is higher in the daytime and during the summer months. Save your dryer for items you need the next day and thicker clothing, such as jeans, comforters, and coats, which can take days to line dry. Many thinner items, such as t-shirts, linens, underwear, and towels can dry within a day if you hang them up outside when the weather is nice or use an indoor clothes line, especially if you are using the heat or a fireplace. Many people also find their clothing, especially intimate apparel, lasts longer if they line dry these items.
Selectively Use Cold Water
Although washing clothes in cold water can save money, you need to be selective about the items you wash in this manner. Consider using cold water for items that do not become especially dirty and ones that are not worn close to your body, such as jackets, jeans, and pants. Items worn close to your body, such as undergarments, or ones that have become soiled or worn by someone who sweats profusely, are better off with warm or hot water unless the label says otherwise or shrinkage is a concern. Cold water can preserve the dye in dark and denim items. Also use laundry products that are specifically formulated for use in cold water, since they easily dissolve into the water no matter the temperature.
Although laundry is a costly chore, it does not have to be unnecessarily expensive. Finding the best ways to wash and dry different types of clothing while being strategic about your laundry products can help cut costs. Talk to a company such as Hudson Appliance Center for more ideas.