Not only is laundry a necessary and seemingly never ending chore, but it’s also expensive! In addition to the equipment and utilities costs for a home washer and dryer, the cost of laundry products quickly adds up. Fortunately, you can save money by making your own laundry products. However, if you prefer the convenience of store-bought laundry products, there are plenty of simple things you can do to save money in addition to couponing.
Less is More: How to Cut Back on Store-Bought Detergent, Fabric Softener, and Dryer Sheets
- More often than not, you can use less than the recommended amount of detergent and your clothes will come out just as clean. Everyone should experiment with diluting their laundry detergent. Typically, diluted detergent will get your clothing just as clean as full-strength laundry detergent. Depending on your desired savings, you can make a laundry detergent mixture that is equal parts detergent and water or two parts detergent and one part water. A mixture of equal parts detergent and water can save you almost $80.00 a year!
- Add a half cup of baking soda per load of laundry to boost the cleaning power of detergent thereby requiring less detergent to clean your clothes. Baking soda is especially effective at removing germs and odors.
- While liquid fabric softener may make your favorite blanket snugly and soft, it may be doing more harm than good. Liquid fabric softener can add a filmy layer to the inside of your washer. In turn, this causes an expensive drop in the washer’s energy efficiency and will ultimately cut the appliance's life short. Also, excessive fabric softener can leave an unsightly blue-gray stain on your clothes.
- Half a dryer sheet provides almost the same amount of softness and static protection as a full dryer sheet–you probably won’t be able to tell the difference. Go ahead, get your scissors and try it out!
- Do you use dryer sheets to combat static cling during winter? If so, as a cheaper alternative, put a small ball of aluminum foil in the dryer to break up the static cycle. Replace the aluminum foil ball every fourth dryer load.
DIY Discount: Make Your Own Laundry Products
Many families (including the infamous 21-person Duggar family from TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting”) make their own laundry products to save money. Making your own laundry products is not only a frugal option, but also a green one. Homemade laundry products are less wasteful and less toxic than their store-bought counterparts. We recently posted on here’s how to make homemade spray starch, dryer sheets, and stain remover spray:
Homemade Spray Starch – For only $0.78 you can make enough spray starch to last 21 years!
- 20 oz. cool water – the temperature should be between 45F and 65F
- 1 tbsp. of corn starch – any brand
- Shake up your bag of starch. Then combine 20 oz. of cold water and 1 tbsp. of corn starch into an empty spray bottle. Use the homemade spray starch just as your would store-bought spray starch. Refrigerate the solution between uses. Make sure to let the solution return to room temperature before each use.
- Cost of 16 oz. bag of Great Value: All Natural Cornstarch at Walmart.com: $0.78
- Cost of 20 oz. can of Fautless Premium Starch at Walmart.com: $1.87
- Annual Savings, assuming you would use three 20 oz. bottles of store-bought spray starch a year: $5.57. While that doesn’t seem like very much, look at it this way: for $0.78 you can make enough spray starch to last you 21 years!
Homemade Dryer Sheets – Save $96.00 a Year!
- Old wash cloth
- Liquid Fabric Softener -any brand
Soak the old wash cloth in 1 oz. of liquid fabric softener. Let the wash cloth dry out. Then add it to your dryer load as if it were a normal dryer sheet. You can reuse this same wash cloth in your dryer up to 25 times. You can repeat this process with the same wash cloth (make sure to wash it in the washer first) or another wash cloth if the original wash cloth is starting to fall apart.
- Cost of 96 oz. bottle of Snuggle Exhilaration Liquid Fabric Softener at Walmart.com: $6.97. If you re-use each soaked wash cloth 25 times, this bottle of fabric softener is enough for 2400 dryer loads. Cost per dryer load $.0o3
- Cost of a 70 ct. box of Snuggle Fabric Softener Dryer Sheets at Walmart.com: $2.97 .
- Savings per dryer load for homemade dryer sheets: $0.26
- Annual Savings for Homemade Dryer Sheets, assuming that the user does the national average of 400 dryer loads a year: $96.00
Homemade Stain Remover Spray – Save $29.25 a Year!
- 16 oz. rubbing alcohol
- 32 oz. water – You may use smaller quantities of rubbing alcohol and water so long as the proportion of the two ingredients remains one part rubbing alcohol and two parts water.
Fill a spray bottle with one part rubbing alcohol and two parts water. Before using this homemade stain fighter, you should spot test it on a hidden part of your clothing.
Cost of 16 oz. bottle of Equate Rubbing Alchohol at Walmart.com: $1.48
Cost of 22 oz. bottle of Shout Stain Remover Spray Bottle at Walmart.com: $7.99
Annual savings on homemade stain remover spray assuming user would alternatively buy four 22 oz. bottles of Shout Stain Remover Spray a year: $29.25
Want to learn how to make your own laundry detergent or a Borax-based stain remover? If so, check out these other articles from the KCL Contributor Network: “6 Ceative Uses for Borax” and “Save Hundreds on Laundry with this Do It Yourself Detergent.”