The Frugal Laundress

I was thinking about my laundry routine lately (minus diapers), and figure that I have it pretty much down to an art.  So, I thought I’d be all egotistical and share it with you! 😉  If you’re looking to save a few bucks, here are a few ideas.

  1. Make your own detergent.  I do this by using 1 shredded bar of sunlight soap (Fels Naptha is the recommended soap, but I haven’t found that one locally yet, but I haven’t been to an organic store, so maybe that’s why), 1 cup of WASHING soda & 1 cup of borax.  Mix it all together, and in my HE front loading washer I use about 1-2 tablespoons, depending on how dirty the load is.  Usually only 1 tbsp, though.  If you want to scent your clothing, it’s really easy to do – add 2-3 drops of your preferred essential oil to the detergent after you measure it into the washer.  EO’s usually cost between $6-12 per vial, depending on the scent.  I love the smells of lemongrass (light and lemoney without being sweet) and bergamot (spicy citrus).  An EO vial should last you quite a while.  This system will cost about 1 penny per load, or so.  I was using up my detergent every 2 months, and we’ve been doing this for about 6 months now (give or take).  So after my initial $10 for supplies, I’ve saved at least $35.  Not tons, but well worth it.
  2. Skip the fabric softener.  I usually use vinegar instead of fabric softener, and I use dryer balls & Static Eliminator sheets (reusable) in the dryer.  During our dry Alberta winters, there are a few things that I still use fabric softener on because this system doesn’t elimate all the static cling.  If you’re looking for softness, this system totally works.  I can purchase 10L of vinegar at Costco for just over $6.  That is an incredible amount of savings!  I don’t know exactly how much fabric softeners cost, but I know it’s not that cheap (my dryer balls were $20 and the Static Eliminator sheets were $11, so there was a fair amount of initial cost involved… but they are supposed to last for years).
  3. Line Dry.  Since it’s warmed up, I’ve been putting all my laundry outside for at least an hour.  When it’s almost dry, I toss it in to the dryer with the dryer balls for 15 minutes.  This takes any of the line crispness out of the fabric, and makes my towels so buttery soft.  Oh, and put the dryer on “no heat”, as it saves you electricity, and won’t over dry your clothes. 
  4. Hang stuff up.  If you put your clothes away right away, you won’t have wrinkles and you won’t be needing to iron or put stuff back in the dryer.  This will save you in time and electricity.
  5. Make friends with dishsoap.  So, a few weeks ago I spill salad dressing all over myself (and the kitchen, but that’s another story), and totally forgot and put my shirt through the wash (wash and dry).  When I went to hang it up, I realized that I had salad dressing stains ALL OVER it.  So, I decided to put my Norwex dish soap to the test (sink soap, not dishwasher detergent).  I put half soap half water in a spray bottle and ran the shirt through the wash again.  Every part of the stain came out.  I’ve since used the soap stain remover on pretty much every stain, and have had incredible results.  Baby poo, dirt from the park, black rubber marks from the park, tomatoes… all of it has come out!  I am so impressed.  I spent $1.50 on the spray bottle (from Ikea!), then used 1/2 cup of soap ($5 for a full bottle, but it’s something we already had) and 1/2 cup of water.  I haven’t tried other brands, but pretty much any soap that will cut through grease will work really great on any oil-based clothing stain.

Of course, some of my tips won’t work for your family.  Some people are allergic to EO’s, and vinegar can irritate other people’s skin.  So, see what works for your family.

Do you have any other easy/cheap laundry tricks?  Tell me what they are!