Friday, July 13, 2007

Frugal Friday Laundry

Washing clothes for a family of 5 can be expensive. Or not so expensive.

A few ways I save on laundry:

1. I can spend $15 at S*ams for a big bucket of laundry detergent or I can spent approximately 52¢ to make the same amount.

I've posted before about how I make my own laundry detergent. I've done this pretty much exclusively for a year now and have had no problems (or complaints) at all.

2. I wash everything I can in cold water, year round. The only thing that gets hot water is the whites (occasionally) when I use the Yellow Out. I know it's cheaper to use cold water on the gas bill and it's more than likely easier on the clothing.

3. I usually (time permitting) hang most of our clothing* to dry year round. I do not have an outside clothes line. I have this:

Just a simple drying rack.

It's easy to put up in the pantry on laundry day. It holds almost 2 full loads of clothing if I'm mindful of how I position them.

Use the ends.

Here I've added hangers to add extra space.

The stuff is dry in a few hours unless the weather is icky and even then it's dry the next day. And I don't have to run the dryer, which saves on the electric bill. Plus, it's definitely easier on the clothing than machine drying. No shrinking!

The contraptions collapses to nothing when not in use. And is easy to put away.

*Towels and jeans get dried in the dryer. I've found that they tend to want to mildew if hung to dry inside.

ETA: You can find the info on washing soda (one of the ingredients in homemade laundry detergent) here. Thanks for bringing it up CharityGrace

For more frugal tips, be sure to visit Crystal at Biblical Womanhood.


"My Little Wonders" said...

This is a great tip! Thanks for sharing.
Blessings Lori

Charity Grace said...

Where do you find washing soda, and how is it different from regular baking soda? I looked in the detergent section at Wal-Mart, where I get borax, and all they have is regular soda. However, it has a picture of a shirt on the front and mentions that you can use it for laundry as well as baking! I'm confused.

Charity Grace said...

Never mind, I see that you answered the question below.

Michelle said...

Thanks Lori! You're always so gracious.

And thank for bringing that to my attention charity grace. I've edited the post to add that link so no one has to search for it.

Homeschooling Momma said...

Michelle, I have been making my own laundry soap for a while too - and we love it! I tried washing in cold water, but it appears like the deodorant doesn't get washed out of the shirts. Especially on the sleeveless ones. Have you had this problem, or have any pointers? Thanks Tonya

Michelle said...

We have the same problem here, but it doesn't seem to be related to washing in cold water? Even if things are washed in hot water (like the whites) we still seem to have that yellowing of the underarms at times.

What I have found that helps a little is if you use your homemade laundry detergent as a stain treater. Just pour some full strength on the armpits of the clothing. And let that soak for a while (I've been known to let it dry on clothing and not had any problems, but ymmv with that). Then when I wash the load I'll add some washing soad AND some borax extra to the load.

And sometimes even this isn't foolproof.

I'd love to hear others ideas on this one.

Andrea said...

Hey Michelle!
I made your potato salad last night for dinner. Well it appears you have won the heart of my husband! :) I wish I had video recorded his response so you would know I tell the complete truth-He said it was the best potato salad he had EVER eaten in his life! He said it was ABSOLUTELY PERFECT, and he insisted I keep some in the fridge! I am not kidding. So, looks like I owe you one! I am going to put a post on my blog telling everyone where to find perfect potato salad. (Truth be told, I agree with him completely, it was really good!) :)

Michelle said...

Awww...Andrea, thank you! I'm so glad your family enjoyed it. You're so sweet for posting and telling me.

Jennifer said...

Michelle, I have been wanting to try this but have some questions. I have a whole family with sensitive skin, would it affect them? Also, do you really need to have entire separate pots and buckets strictly for use in making laundry soap? I don't want to have to purchase new pots to make my own. Thanks! Thanks for stopping by my blog as well.


Michelle said...

Hey Jennifer. If your family has sensitive skin, I would recommend that you use the same soap that is used to take a shower. I can't imagine, though I am no expert, that a soap that you put directly on your skin could possibly cause a reaction after being rinsed out of clothing?

I would also, with any detergent, use far less if my family had sensitive skin.

I have a "laundry bucket" because I don't have a laundry (meaning big and deep) sink. I use that bucket to make the laundry detergent. (I also use it to soak stained clothing.) I then pour it into big old store bought detergent containers. They're easier to give a little shake to before I pour it into the laundry. This detergent needs to be sloshed a little before you use it sometimes at it can separate.

I didn't buy the bucket. I think it contained pool chemicals at one time?

And I use the same pot that I use to cook. I've never given it a second thought until you just asked! LOL I do wash it out well afterward and then put it in the dishwasher as well. Because the soap can make a kind of film on the bottom.

If you end up making it, let me know how it turns out.