Thursday, July 19, 2012

Thrifty on Thursday-The Laundry Room

Growing up, I didn't quite understand the value of money.  I came from a family that always had enough.  I wasn't spoiled by any means (at least in a materialistic way), but I didn't ever have to go without a lot of things.
My parents often remind me of a time when I came face to face with my ever frugal grandmother quoting "what good is money if you can't spend it?"
Fast forward to today.  Having gone through 4 years of university and 1 year of unpaid internship, I can now say with confidence that I understand the value of money.  I'm cheap, frugal, a thrifter.  Some would say I can squeeze a nickel until the beaver craps.
I realize that life comes with many compromises and sacrifices.  We can't all have it all.  We must prioritize and decide what material things are important to us.  I have become great at finding ways to save money to get the things that I want.
One area in which Ryan and I save money is in the Laundry Room.  Here are just a few ways that we cut costs while doing our laundry.
  1. We only wash our clothes if we have a full load.
  2. We almost always use cold water to wash our clothes.  According to BC Hydro,  heating water accounts for 90% of the energy consumption of washing machines.
  3. We try to line dry as much as possible.  As you can imagine, machine drying takes up quite a bit of energy, but it also heats your home in the summer, leading to increased costs of cooling your home.  Hanging your clothes on a sunny day with a slight breeze can be quicker to dry than the dryer.  The sun is also great at taking stubborn stains out of white clothing.  Tip: If you don't like the crunchy feel of line dried clothes, throw them in the dryer on air fluff for five minutes after line drying.
  4. We make our own laundry detergent for both our regular laundry and our cloth diapers.  In terms of cost, the regular detergent costs us $0.02 per load and although I haven't calculated the cost per load of the cloth diaper detergent, I am guessing it is much cheaper than the commercial brands marketed as cloth diaper friendly.  Regular commercial laundry detergent would cost approximately $0.10 per load (based on sale price of $9.99 for 96 washes).  See our recipes below.
  5. We (or at least I) don't use fabric softener.  Instead, I use dryer balls.  Although a one time investment, they are said to reduce static and pull clothes apart in the dryer, therefore reducing drying time.  Commercial fabric softeners work by breaking down the fibres of your clothing, so by avoiding these products, your clothes will also last longer.
  6. We recycle the hot air from the dryer in the winter.  We bought a contraption for around $10 which attaches to the dryer vent.  In the summer, the air goes outside and in the winter, we can vent it back inside.  By doing this, we reduce our home's heating bills as there is less wasted heat.
How do you save money in the Laundry Room?

Homemade Laundry Detergent (Liquid)

2 cups grated soap
2 cups Borax (stain remover)
2 Cups Laundry Soda (deodorizer)
9 L water
  1. In a saucepan, bring 4 cups of water to a boil.  Remove from heat and add soap flakes.  Stir until dissolved.
  2. In a large pail, combine Borax, Laundry Soda and remaining water.  Stir until dissolved.
  3. Add soap mixture to pail and stir. (Note: You may end up with some stringy goop floating at the top of the pail.  This is normal. Just stir it up before using it.)
  4. Add 1/4-1/2 cup detergent to each large load of laundry.
DIY Cloth Diaper Detergent (Powder) (from The Eco Friendly Family Blog)

1 cup washing soda
1 cup borax
1/2 cup of oxiclean
  1. Mix all ingredients together in container.
  2. Use 1-2 tbsp per load.

1 comment:

  1. I love my dryer balls...I wish I would have known about them years ago!

    Interesting about the dryer contraption to filter the heat back into the house. I've never heard of this and only ever see huge warnings on the dryer making sure it vents to the outside.