Guest post by Vanessa Miller
When it comes to being frugal and eco-friendly, many people may not realize the amount of laundry that they do can have a significant impact on their expenses and their energy-consumption. The average size household will do at least 7 loads of laundry per week, which totals around 400 loads of laundry per year. A load of laundry can use 20-40 gallons of water meaning a year’s worth of laundry will use 16,000 gallons of water.
That is not to mention the amount of electricity that will be used to wash and dry 400 loads of clothes, towels, and blankets.
Pro Tip 1: Wash in Cold Water
By washing your clothes in cold water, you can cut the amount of electricity you use by more than half! The average load of laundry washed in hot or warm water, uses 4.5kWh of electricity (about $0.68 per load-$265/year) whereas a load washed in cold water uses a mere 0.3kWh ($.04 per load- $16/year). [Source]
Pro Tip 2: Use Other Drying Methods
The clothes dryer is a major culprit in raising electric bills. Any item that generates heat uses more electricity to operate. Use a clothesline to dry your clothes or hang them from hangers on the shower rod in the bathroom. Clothes will take longer to dry; however, you will save a great deal of money on your energy bill.
Pro Tip 3: Avoid Expensive Detergents
Yes, expensive detergents smell great and will leave you with the impression that your laundry is clean because of the way it smells. However, cheaper, economy-sized laundry detergents contain the same basic ingredients and will work just as well.
For half the price, you can purchase larger containers of laundry detergent and your clothes will be just as clean. Furthermore, there will be less packaging to recycle or toss out. You can also choose eco-friendly detergents. Environmentally-friendly ingredients to look for include grain alcohol, coconut plant oils, rosemary and sage.
Pro Tip 4: Top Load Versus the Front Loading Washer
If you are still using the outdated washing machine that you bought ten years ago, chances are you are wasting a lot of water. The average top load washer uses almost 40 gallons for one single load of clothes. A front-load washer only uses about 20 gallons per load.
Upgrading to a new washer can dramatically reduce the amount of water that you use in your home and is an eco-friendly choice.
Pro Tip 5: If It’s Not Dirty, Don’t Wash It!
Okay, this does not mean that you and your family should wear dirty clothes just because you are trying to reduce the amount of money you spend on laundry. Just make sure that you are not washing clothes that are not dirty. If you wear your nice dress slacks for an hour and then change, they most likely will be fine to fold up and put back in the drawer.
Some other tips to try:
- Cut your dryer sheets in half (or omit them altogether). This way you can cut these dryer sheet costs by half!
- Dilute your laundry detergent. By keeping an extra detergent bottle aside, you can fill it half way with detergent and the other half with water.
- Use vinegar instead of fabric softener. ¼ cup of fabric softener (for big loads) saves money and does just the trick.
By paying a bit more attention to how, and when, you do your laundry, it will be completely possible for you to save hundreds of dollars each year.
This will help reduce the impact that your family has on the environment by cutting water and energy usage as well. Everyone likes to have clean clothes to wear, but this should not come at such an expensive cost and it really does not have to.