Sense & Centsibility Blog

Tips to Save Money and Your Clothes While Doing Laundry

Line drying money I hate grocery shopping. But, I love doing laundry. I don’t know why. I think it feeds some compulsive behavior in me. I like separating colors, fabrics, tackling stains, getting whites white … There are worse compulsive behaviors.


I don’t mind my daughter bringing home laundry because I can have a full load and feel good about saving natural resources. Otherwise, I let my dirty laundry pile up to a critical mass. I will plan my weekly outfits around laundry—wear similar colors so I have a full load to wash.


Were you working in the hot sun on a construction site or in a climate-controlled office all day? Does that top really need to be washed, or can you wear it again? There is a lot of friction happening in the washer and dryer – it wears clothes out. Prolong the life of your clothes and reduce your utility costs by washing only dirty clothes.


Most laundry detergents today are formulated to work well in cold water. Heating water costs money. And, hot water is harder on fabrics. Use hot water only when needed for sanitation reasons.


You really don’t need fancy stain removers. Dish soap works great on most stains. Other common household products also useful: hydrogen peroxide, salt, baking soda, ammonia, vinegar. Use cold water on protein stains – blood, meat, eggs, etc. The sooner you get the stain, the better chance you have to save the garment. Soaking is good for most fabrics to keep the stain from setting until it is washed.


Laundry detergent manufacturers are in the business to sell their product. You can almost always get away with using 1/2 of the recommended amount on the container. (Especially soiled clothes may need more.)

To reduce your carbon footprint with your detergent, buy powdered instead of liquid. The increased weight of liquid detergent requires more fossil fuel to ship. Plus, the plastic container isn’t renewable like paper.

Line drying clothesAND, MY FAVORITE…LINE DRY!

Heating air is expensive. Electric dryers are particularly costly. The first thing I did when I bought my house was to install clothes lines outside. I love hanging out my laundry (is that some sort of Freudian thing?) Falling asleep on fresh sheets hung out in the sunshine is heavenly! Mmmmmm. I do keep an eye on the pollen count and hang clothes indoors if pollen is high. In winter I hang clothes in front of my forced-air furnace in the basement. The colder the weather, the faster the clothes dry!

As previously mentioned, dryers are rough on clothes. All the lint in the lint trap? That’s your clothes being worn away. The heat of dryers also sets stains. With line drying, you get a second chance to tackle a stain. You may not share the same compulsive behavior I have, but we all share a need to conserve our personal resources and the earth’s.


Author Mary Ellen Kaluza is a Certified Financial Counselor at LSS Financial Counseling and an important member of our blogging team. For more tips, check out another one of her posts, Three Frugal Tips from a Lover of Frugality.

LSS is a nonprofit, consumer credit counseling agency in Minnesota. We focus on helping people get out of debt. Give us a call today at 888.577.2227 or visit us online at Meeting with a financial counselor is free, confidential and will help you gain control of your financial situation.