- Hang clothes to dry on a clothes line.
- Cut your drier sheets in half or use them twice (drier sheets have FAR more stuff in them than the average load needs. Since the sheet usually ends up in the middle of the clothing, and I rarely see it until I've hauled all the clothes back upstairs, I just cut them in half.)
- Wash in warm or cold water rather than hot. (I use hot for the diapers, warm for undies/socks, and cold for everything else.)
- If you use a drier, do several loads back to back. The residual heat in the drier from one load to the next means it won't have to heat up as much for the next load, which saves electricity.
- Wash large loads rather than several smaller ones--it saves water.
- Wear clothes more than once before washing (ha, I just snuck that one in there!)(It's true though--if you wear a garment a couple of times before washing it, then not only will you spend less on washing it, but the garment will last longer because let's face it, washing machines are hard on clothes!) (Obviously if the item is visibly dirty or smells bad you should wash it, but I'm talking especially about things like jeans that can go all week!)
- Add a little plain cheap salt to your laundry--it loosens the fibers of the fabrics and makes the detergent more effective (so you can use less detergent per load)
- Use half the amount of laundry soap for average loads--you rarely need the full scoop.
- Make your own laundry detergent (recipe below).
- If you've been buying the expensive liquid detergent because it's gentler on your clothes, try this instead: get an old cup, and put the powdered detergent in the cup with some hot water. Mix until dissolved, then pour into the washer--voila, liquid detergent! (and also no more white detergent residue on dark clothes!)
- Be sure to regularly clean the lint screen on your dryer. If it's full of lint, it inhibits air circulation and slows drying time. (Also it's a fire hazard!)
please note that this recipe is NOT appropriate for cloth dipers with PUL, as the borax breaks down PUL...it'll work for everything else though!
1 cup borax
1 cup baking soda (it's milder than washing soda--washing soda is actually caustic and dangerous, and with the possible exception of diapers, you just don't need it)
1 grated bar of soap (~1.5 cups) (fels naptha is usually recommended, but it is pretty hefty stuff, I have used "pure & natural" and it's worked great...I have heard that you do NOT want to use ivory since it's a soap rather than a detergent...I have no personal experience, except to say that if you want to make a mix for washing diapers, you definitely want a detergent, NOT a soap!)
Mix all ingredients together. Add 3cups salt if desired.
Use 1 Tbs per load (2Tbs for heavily soiled items, or if you used salt)
Now see, that was easy!