Laundry on the Cheap

There are tons of tips for saving money on laundry (even without counting making your own detergent, which seems like a lot of work to me.)  Some are great for homeowners or renters with their own machines, and other save money for people going to the laundromat or doing their wash in the barracks.  Check it out:

Laundromat or Barracks, plus everyone else:

  1. Don't overwash.  It takes up time and it wears out your clothes.  Hang up your clothes when you take them off and let them air out.  If it isn't dirty, and it isn't underwear or socks, wear it again.

  2. Don't buy dry clean only clothes.  This is one of the simplest and easiest pieces of laundry advice anywhere.  Dry cleaning is expensive and often inconvenient.  If you don't own any dry clean only clothes (or only certain uniform pieces), you'll save money and time.
  3. Hydrogen peroxide makes a great replacement for bleach, is often less expensive, and comes in smaller bottles (great if you have to drag it to the laundry.)
  4. Don't use dryer sheets.  There isn't any particular benefit to the sheets and they can leave a film on your clothes (or so I hear.)
  5. Make sure that you clean out the lint filter before you dry your clothes.  A dirty lint filter might make your clothes need a second time in the dryer before they are dry.
  6. Use the half recommended laundry soap, unless your clothes are really dirty.

Washing at home:

  1. Use cold water for most things.  Water heating costs are one of the top three utility expenses in most houses.

  2. Sometimes a second spin in the washer is better than a longer run in the dryer.  It uses a lot less electricity.
  3. Hang your clothes to dry.  Outside is lovely, but inside works, too, especially in the winter when your house is likely to be dry.
  4. If you use the dryer, don't over-dry your clothes.  Use the moisture sensor or check them regularly.
  5. Check your vent to make sure it is clean and not blocked

Don't let laundry be an expensive job!  With a little planning and creativity, you can have clean clothes, spare time and a little extra cash as well.

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • Excellent ideas. Some I knew but found new ones also. I really enjoy reading your blog and learn something from every post.

  • Mary Q Contrarie

    I would like to reccomend that if you are going to purchase a clothes drying rack, don’t scimp on the up front cost. Here is one that I found that looks like I will be able to leave it for my grandkids some day.