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I had always worn an item of clothing only once before washing it. Same with bath towels. I've recently begun inspecting my clothing before automatically throwing something into the hamper. If an item of clothing isn't visibly dirty or less-than-fresh smelling, its get put into the "refresh" pile.
On laundry day, clothing that needs only to be "refreshed" either goes through a short rinse cycle with 1/2 cup of white distilled vinegar, or into the dryer with a wet towel and dryer sheet for 5 minutes. And the bath towels? They get reused until I find a reason to have to wash them (usually a bath towel is good for nearly a week.) By Leann D
I just can't justify wasting warm water and soap so I often plan for at least two loads of laundry and reuse the wash water from the first load to do the second load. (Or even the third) I have a large garbage can and a couple of pails handy that I keep in my laundry room strictly to use as my suds saver equipment. If I wash a load of light clothes like white t-shirts, I will leave the lid up while the washer is washing to prevent the cycle from draining the water. My machine needs the lid down for draining and spinning. When I am ready with the hose in the large container I will put the lid down and set the cycle to drain the hot soapy water into my containers. I replace the hose into the pipe so I don't also catch the rinse water into my saved soapy water. (It would also overflow!) I keep a small sieve to scoop the lint that seems to swirl to the centre of the saved water as my machine has feature that empties the lint with the wash water so I screen it out before I reuse the water. (If there is any lint) I also hang an empty water softener bag on the taps to recycle as a garbage bag.
When the load of laundry is finished and I am ready to wash the next load I use a smaller pail to scoop the water to fill the machine with my saved warm, soapy water. This is great exercise. I also have a wringer washer that I sometimes use if I want to soak something or speed up washing clothes by washing two loads at once. Saving your wash water, if it is not too dirty to use again will save on soap, save on the gas to heat the water and save on water.
I always turn the shirts and sweaters inside out before washing them so the deodorant washes off better and there is less wear and tear on the decals on printed t-shirts. My oldest son actually told me about this. He also said to never dry his shirts because I shrink them so if I use the dryer I always take them out while damp. I also turn the pants inside out for washing.
I mix my soap and water before adding the clothes by setting the level to minimum and after it agitates I reset it to high to finish filling as I add my clothes.
My favourite laundry soaps are Wonderwash, Country Save, Nellies and I often add some Borax or Pink Solution. I recently bought some Ecos from Costco, which is also an environmentally friendly HE laundry soap. In the summer, I hang the clothes outside. Just before the t-shirts are dry, I take a handful of braided hangers to hang them on to make room on my lines for more clothes. The pin marks also seem to disappear. If they don't, a light spritz of water will relax the wrinkle. In the winter, I will fluff them in the dryer and then hang them on my braided hangers to finish drying. I bought foldable laundry umbrellas from Regal Gifts for drying. The t-shirts then go directly into the closets to eliminate folding. I hang the heavy jeans by the bottom of the legs, one leg on each side of the towel rack held by two clothespins. I have two towel racks so there is plenty of room and the bathroom is the warmest room for drying.
I never use fabric softeners as they just coat your clothes and towels and they will not be absorbent. Why wash them if you are going to grease them up again? It also coats your dryer so it is best to "Never" use any at all. Dryer sheets are also the cause of "streaky windows" if you use cloths dried with softeners to dry your windows. My boys have also mentioned that they are not itchy any more since I have quit using dryer sheets. Our family is also healthier and have had fewer colds. Those scented products might hinder your immune system. I know that I cannot sleep if I visit someone's house overnight that has used dryer sheets or scented laundry soap.
In the summer when I am really ambitious, I will even save the rinse water and carry it outside for my trees, grass, flowers and garden. I have also carried out some of the soapy water to splash on the vines on my garage to rid them of aphids. (dishsoap as well)
My house faces north so I tied yellow ropes in the front to use as lines and also in the back of my house. In the summer, I like to mostly be in the front yard and in the fall the sun shines best behind the house so I use my lines in the back yard. Sometimes it is too windy in the front so I'll use the ones in the back. (or visa versa) While hanging clothes I set my basket on a lawn chair so I can shake all of the shirts out, and drape them over the chair ready for hanging. I also have two ironing boards. I keep one handy to give me extra counter space outside for folding clothes. (or even doing vegetables on) You can set it to any height if you are sitting or standing.
As you can tell I enjoy laundry and all of the games that I can play doing it. (My boys tease me and ask me if I am playing my laundry games again, ha ha)
I mentioned "Pink Solution" as one of my favorite products. It can be used as laundry soap, carpet shampoo, jewelry cleaner, added to dish soap to give your dishes a shine like you've never seen and give dishwashing a whole new experience, (it quickly soaks anything off of your dishes) added to dishwasher soap for superb shine again, in the carwash bucket with water to wash a car and have it look like you just waxed it, (I do this often in the rain so the rain rinses the car) (chrome bumpers and hub caps too) wash your white runners to give them that new look again, to wash my boat and boat windows so there is no water spotting, to clean my folding shower doors and marble tub surround, to clean my ceran top stove and other appliances, to clean yellow fur balls off my white carpet, to clean house windows so clean that they are invisible, to make my mirrors glow and my list goes on. It is my number one product that I would not be without! It is safe for any job and the environment.
One last hint of mine is with borax. I dissolve some in a spray bottle with water to use as a freshener for carpets before I vacuum, on the litter box to cut the litter dust and on my furnace filter to freshen the air.
There are websites for all of my favourite products. Easy to search and find. All well worth your while. I can't say enough good things about them.
My favourite dishcloth is the micro fibre cloth with mesh on one side and micro fibre on the other side. It is great for scrubbing or wiping. Their matching tea towels are also the best. I keep some for dishes, windows, and dusting and for the car. I sew two together to make a big one for drying dishes. They are cheap and available at Giant Tiger. Some people don't like them because if you have rough hands or nails they tend to grab.
To keep my hands soft I use rubber gloves to protect them and Beeswax skin cream for a moisturizer. (Beeswaxskincream.com) I use this on my face as well. After many products this is my one "must have". Great for my face, lips, hands and I have even given this as baby gifts for diaper rash prevention and cure. I am getting off topic but this is to keep in line with all of the other products that I use that are healthy for sensitive skin.
I could go on about my pots and pans, mixers, waffle iron, steam iron and flour mills. I will try to find another thread for those. Thanks for reading and I hope that I have given you a few ideas to try or research. I'd be glad to help you find websites or more info anytime. I braid my own hangers and crochet my own pot scrubbers and have hints on those too.
By Joyce from Regina, Sask. Canada
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Everyone that has kids, has lots of laundry! I've got four myself. The kids never wanted to pick up their towels and re-use them. I had to get tricky. I now take the towels they use and hang them over other laundry baskets to dry.
Here you will see a Costway mini washer. It's great for anyone looking to save water, soap and the light bill. I run my washer all hours of the day and night. I save money because it's good on everything. You only use two buckets of water and about two tablespoons of soap gives you a machine full of bubbles.
Re-spin your wet laundry for an extra water-removal step. The clothes go into your dryer or hanging out on the line much dryer than if you use just the one spin cycle. This works fantastically for jeans and towels.
When you're doing a load of washing, set the cycle to "drip dry". The clothes will come out wetter (even dripping a bit), but if it is really hot/windy they will dry in adequate time.
A full size dryer sheet is not necessary. I cut mine in thirds and it works fine. !00 sheets become 300.
Another cost saver when doing laundry: when the washer has finished all cycles, reset to the final spin and do again. This extra step will remove all excess moisture possible and cut your dryer time by at least 1/3.
More ways to save money on energy costs:
You can save your clothes wear and tear from the dryer and save electricity on your electric bill by putting a dry large towel in with clothes when you go to dry them. The towel cuts time down in the dryer and makes them fluffier.
When using fabric softener in the wash, I use a fraction of the amount suggested on the packaging and add water to make up the difference. The wash comes out just as soft and nicely scented.
Add a half cup of white vinegar to your wash. It is better than buying Oxiclean type products and better for your machine!
When washing, to save on electric and detergent, use 1/2 cold water and let clothes soak (reduce detergent and add baking soda). Do something else while they soak. They will come out just as clean.
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Tips for saving money on laundry. Post your ideas!
I always try to only do FULL loads of laundry. It saves so much on water usage! I also wash as much as I can in cold water. Another savings!
I have replaced everything in my laundry room except the soap and bleach with vinegar. 1/2 cup in your rinse cycle boosts the colors in your wash. 1/2 cup in your wash load boosts the performance of your bleach, and removes odors from fabric. I also use less laudry detergent when I use vinegar. I spray it full-strength on my husband's greasy clothes. It is a great grease-cutter and removes most of the stains, all but the very worst. A teaspoon on a rag or washcloth in your dryer replaces your fabric softener - and no, you can't smell it after they dry :)
Wash as many loads as you can in cold water. They fade less and it costs less to use wash in cold.
Get a front-loading washing machine...they use much less water and electricity. They get your clothes much drier, so your dryer runs less. They're gentler on clothing, so your clothes wear out slower. You can even do hand wash stuff in them and be fine. And you can sit down while loading and unloading the machine.
And when I say they cost less to run, my average, not so special Kenmore uses 16 dollars a YEAR of electricity with electric hot water. (Gas would be 8 dollars a year.) How can you beat that?
I've always had a washer with a suds saver. I'm able to use the same water and soap recyling it for an additional one or two loads. For example, first I do a load of whites, then a load of medium or colors, and finally a load of jeans, work clothing, or dark towels.
I have been told that using 1/2 of the amount of laundry soap that is recommended on the bottle in the wash does just as good of a job as does using the whole recommended amount. It is also easier on your machines, both the washer and the dryer. Soap build up affects both of them. Using 1/2 of a dryer sheet or half of the recommended use of liquid fabric softener also works well.
You can wash with half of the amount of laundry detergent if the clothes are not very dirty. I have used dryer sheets cut in half, but they always end up in my filter screen. They don't if left full size. I do put the used ones in a baby wipe container with liquid softner, to reuse over and over.
Washing with soft water means you can use less detergent.
Don't overload your washer so that there's room for agitating (cleans better).
Hi! I always start to fill the washer with water and detergent before I put clothes in. I put a good splash of vinegar in, and a small (about fill the bottom 1/8th inch--not much) of the bottom of the cap with Arm and Hammer liquid detergent(or any other, but A&H is cheap on sale) then I stir up the water-vinegar-detergent mix and froth up the suds--then a whole load of clothes. I am single, but wash a lot of jeans, etc. because I wear them constantly(I drive school bus) and I buy a lot of clothes from the Salvation Army. I can stretch a 64oz bottle of detergent for a couple months. If the weather is at all right, I hang it out. No ironing anything, and what a great smell and feel the clothes have. I am kind of a laundry nut--I'd rather do that than do most any other chore.
I always wash in cold water. I always hang my laundry. I am not allowed to hang it outdoors, so I have clothes lines in my basement. Works just fine. It also seems to save time. I just fold items as I take them off the clothesline.
The dryer costs between .40 and .50 a load to run, so I figure over a year's time, at 5 loads a week say, I am saving between $104.00 and $130.00 per year by line drying my clothes.
It also saves wear and tear on your clothes. The lint that collects in your dryer is actually pieces of your clothes that are falling off in the dryer. Ugh!
Call me crazy, but I think that since I have started using just 1/2 as much soap, my family actually sleeps better at night - less dreaming and talking in their sleep.
I use a plastic scoop that comes in powdered iced tea containers for a laundry scoop.
I found that the scoop that comes with powdered laundry uses too much for the job. It leaves too much soap in the clothes.
I use half a scoop for a small load, 1 full for a medium load, 1 and a half for a large and 2 for an extra large load.
It seems like too small an amount, but my clothes come out clean and much softer every time. My towels don't come out 'crusty' from the dryer either.
By Fran Marie
Whoever buys all those fancy brands of stain removal (spray n wash, etc) will never buy one again after they try this simple cheap trick. Buy the cheapest dish soap you can find. For extra heavy grease or dirt stains just squirt it on the spot before hand and let it sink in (even for a few days) then toss in the was like normal. Takes out grease stains (especially from frying food) I've never had this effect my clothing except to make it CLEANER..
make homemade laundry detergent. It's easy and fun and works even better than tide and the cost is about .30 cents a gallon. Just look up homemade laundy detergent on the web and you will be amazed at all the options.
Don't fill up the cap when you're measuring your laundry detergent. Your clothes will still get clean if you use half a capful!
By Elaine O.
Editor's Note: This is true of many cleaning products you use to do laundry. It takes a little trial and error but eventually you get a feel for the right amount to use for a particular load and it stretches a box or bottle of laundry detergent a long ways.
Not surprisingly fewer clothes reduces the large laundry piles. You can sort through your closet and get rid of old, worn, unused clothing items. Of course less clothing does mean more frequent laundering, but the trade off may suit your needs. This page contains an essay on reducing laundry by reducing clothes.