5 easy ways to save money on laundry

Overflowing laundry basket
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

There are many ways to save on household expenses and fight inflation, including changing up the way you wash your clothes. Doing laundry can be expensive, especially with rising energy costs. But there are ways you can cut back on those laundry expenses to save some extra cash. 

The next time you wash your clothes, make sure to use these five tips to save as much money as you can.  

1. Make your own detergent  

Laundry detergent is expensive — one bottle easily costs more than $10. An alternative to expensive brand name detergents is to make your own at home. It’ll be just as effective and cost significantly less. 

In just three easy steps, you’ll be able to have homemade laundry detergent at a fraction of the price of store-bought suds. For a breakdown of these simple steps, read how to make your own laundry detergent and save money.  

2. Do laundry at off-peak hours 

Did you know that doing your laundry at certain times of day can help you save money? Most utility companies charge more per kilowatt-hour (kWh) during peak hours of the day, so it’s best to avoid running your washer or dryer at these times to save as much as you can. 

Off-peak hours are the cheapest time to do laundry, so only doing laundry during these times can be a simple way to save on energy costs. During the summer, wash your clothes in the mornings and avoid washing in the afternoons. When it’s winter, washing your clothes late at night will allow you to avoid peak hours. As a general rule, try to wash your clothes either before 4 p.m. or after 7 p.m.

3. Wash fewer loads

An easy way to save on laundry expenses is to wash fewer loads — or to put it another way, wash bigger loads when it is time to do the wash. 

Regardless of load size, your washer will still use the same amount of electricity. Therefore, you should wait until you have a full load before starting up your washing machine. 

This simple tip will cut back on energy usage, water consumption, detergent use and drying costs. Plus, washing your clothes less will help them last longer. If you have to do a smaller load, make sure you’re at least choosing a lower water setting. 

4. Use cold water

You’ll also be able to save on laundry by opting to wash your clothes in cold water. Switching to cold water can cut energy usage in half when doing a load of laundry. 

Washing clothes in cold water is generally just as effective as washing in warm or hot water. Additionally, cold water is better for your clothing most of the time anyway. It’ll help garments last longer, which in turn can help you save on clothing costs as well.  

5. Limit drying time

You may be over-drying your clothing if you’re using the timed cycle on your machine. Drying clothes for longer than needed uses unnecessary energy and hikes up costs. It’s damaging for your clothing as well. 

Many dryers have a moisture sensor mode that can monitor when clothes are dry and automatically shut off. Separating out heavy clothing, which typically takes longer to dry, from lightweight clothes, can help your moisture sensor work even better. Additionally, make sure you clean the lint filter. This increases air circulation, which in turn dries your clothes faster, using less electricity. 

If you have the space, line-drying your clothing can help save money as well. Hanging your clothes on an outdoor clothesline or drying rack is a good way to avoid energy usage and save some extra cash.

Erin Bendig
Staff writer, personal finance

Erin pairs personal experience with research and is passionate about sharing personal finance advice with others. Previously, she was a freelancer focusing on the credit card side of finance, but has branched out since then to cover other aspects of personal finance. Erin is well-versed in traditional media with reporting, interviewing and research, as well as using graphic design and video and audio storytelling to share with her readers.