Hard to believe that thirty years ago, my mom was trying to teach me how to do my own laundry as I headed out the door to college.
Now I have three college daughters of my own who really need to start doing their own laundry…the right way…(So they can’t ever say that their mom never showed them how to do their own laundry…I am writing it here in plain English.)
1. How much detergent…Too much detergent is a waste of money and produces an excess of suds in the wash. Too little detergent can keep your clothes from getting clean at all.
2. How many clothes per load…Cramming every single article of clothing you own into one wash load makes it harder for clothes to get cleaned effectively. Use your common sense.
3. How often should I wash my clothes…Socks, underwear, and workout clothes should be washed after every wearing. Everything else, at least for the most part, can simply be aired out and put away for another day…(no, girls, that does not give you a valid excuse to leave your entire wardrobe all over the bedroom floor)…
4. What settings should you use…Select the smallest load setting and shortest wash setting appropriate for each particular load…again, use some common sense…or call your mom…
5. What water temperature should I use to wash my clothes… According to the U.S. Department of Energy, up to 90 percent of the energy used while doing a load of laundry is used to heat the water….
We have been told differently since birth…or maybe since college days…because there was a time when hot water was needed to dissolve powdered detergent, but times have changed…and liquid laundry detergents have now advanced to the point of being able to get clothes just as clean in cold water as hot.
So stop…(stop using hot or warm water, that is…not sure that any of us can get by with not doing laundry, at least not for very long.)
Now that I have started doing smaller loads throughout the week, I am enjoying the freedom of “bachelor washing”…washing almost anything and everything in one load.
Cold water makes doing this “safer”…is gentler on fabrics than warmer water…and helps keep clothes from fading or shrinking.
Even better, switching to cold water is the simplest way to save money. (There are detergents specifically made for cold water use, if throwing all your clothes into the same water scares you still)…
6. What water temperature should I use to rinse my clothes… rinsing in hot or warm water doesn’t get clothes any cleaner…it just increases your monthly utility bills.
7. Which detergent should I buy…Be smart enough to look beyond those super-expensive brands so that you can see the generic and store-brand options.
Read the label to see how best to use a particular product. Forexample, some detergents go into the soap dispenser, others go right into the drum.
Many of my friends were on a laundry detergent-making sprint back when Pinterest first got big…(I personally never found time to try making my own…too busy on Facebook, I guess)…but here’s a recipe for homemade laundry detergent that was given to me back then…
Homemade Laundry Detergent...3 cups washing soda, 3 bars of Castile soap, 3 cups of Borax, and 1/2tsp essential oil-such as grapefruit, lavender, lime or orange.
Rosemary Mint Fabric Softener...6C water, 3C white vinegar, 2C Suave Rosemary + Mint Conditioner…Add 2Tbsp to your wash cycle for smaller loads, or 1/4C for larger loads. You can also pour 1/4C of the fabric softener onto a clean washcloth and toss it in your dryer just like a store-bought dryer sheet.
8. How do I wash extremely stinky clothes…Soak very smelly clothes in a machine filled with the hottest water available and 1C vinegar for an hour before washing them as normally would. Add a few drops of essential oils-such as lemon or lavender-to the water in the washing machine.
9. How do I deal with that stain “will never come out”...Simply pray hard and then work a few drops of detergent into the stained fabric and wash as usual. If the stain doesn’t come out, you needed a good excuse to go shopping anyway, right?!
The Dryer…Your dryer is the most expensive appliance to operate…so using it less will obviously save you money. A wall-mounted, folding drying rack provides the perfect spot to air-dry clothes without hanging your undies in plain sight for everyone outside to see.
Here are a few more ways to save money when drying your clothes.
1. Empty the lint trap and wipe the lint filter clean with a used dryer sheet after each load. Making sure the dryer lint filter is clean before starting each load will ensure peak performance of your dryer and prevent fire.
2. Make your own dryer sheets…Homemade dryer sheets, using the natural smell of essential oils, can be added to your dryer along with your clothes to leave them pleasantly scented.
Homemade Dryer Sheets…Combine 1C white vinegar with 25 drops essential oil in a Mason jar. Put the lid on securely. Shake vigorously to mix. Dunk pieces of fabric or towels in the solution and wring out any excess liquid before using.
3. Use your dryer during off peak times…Power companies often charge more per kilowatt-hour during peak usage times. This obviously means that the next load of clothes will cost more to dry during these times.
4. Put an extra dry towel in the dryer with the wet clothes to help absorb the water so that your clothes dry faster.
5. Regularly use a small amount of detergent and a toothbrush to clean your lint trap. Also take this time to clean the dryer exhaust vent and clear out the air hose behind your machine.
6. Select sensor dry instead of timed dry, if you have the option.
7. Switch loads right away, instead of allowing your dryer to cool down orrest between loads. Your dryer is built to handle such back-to-back cycles…so do not wait.