When it comes to doing laundry, it can be a long and repetitive process; not to mention expensive.
Depending on the size of your household, the cumulative cost of detergent, fabric conditioner and stain removal sticks can quickly stack up.
But with economic uncertainty prompting many of us to tighten our purse strings, everyone is looking for easy ways to cut costs on these everyday expenses.
Laundry expert Deyan Dimitrov, CEO of Laundryheap, shares his top tips on how to save money on your weekly laundry routine.
Work out the cheapest time to wash your clothes
The time at which you wash your clothes greatly affects the cost of your wash. Using your washing machine at peak times – for example between 4pm and 7pm – could end up costing you more, as increased demand between these hours can make electricity more expensive (depending on your tariff). If your washing machine has a time delay setting, putting your washing in during the evening and setting the machine to run in the early hours of the morning could reduce the cost of electricity. You could also wash your clothes between 12pm to 4pm – if you’re home – as this is another time when it tends to cost less to run your machine.
Swap fabric conditioner for white vinegar
Many of us love the soft, sweet scent of fabric conditioner on our clothes; but this is an optional step that could be amping up the cost of your wash.
Fabric softener also leaves a build-up of residue on your clothes which, over time, can make them turn dull and scratchy.
White vinegar is a great substitute for fabric softener, as it has the same softening qualities and is great at getting stains out. You don’t need to worry about your clothes smelling of vinegar, either. The smell neutralises as your clothes dry, and you can dry them outside to get that fresh air scent for free.
You can usually find white vinegar in the condiments section of the supermarket and a 500ml bottle can be picked up for as little as 60p. A tidy cost saving.
Use a limescale remover
If you’ve ever found yourself in a situation where your washing machine has broken down and you’ve had to fork out for a new one, you’ll know that the cost can be eye-watering.
To keep your washing machine in tip-top condition, try using a limescale remover created especially for washing machines. This will get rid of any build-up of limescale inside the washing machine and keep things functioning properly, so you can get the longest life out of your machine.
Wait longer between washes
Many households do daily – even twice daily – washes, especially those who have a large family. But each of those small washes could be costing you more money. Try holding on by washing your laundry every 3 days or longer, if possible. If something desperately needs a refresh, try handwashing items using hand wash solution instead.
If you are washing clothes less frequently, don’t be tempted to overload the machine, as this could reduce the effectiveness of the wash.
Use short, low-temperature cycles
Washing clothes at lower temperatures (ideally 30 degrees) with shorter cycles will help you save money on water and energy. Plus, washing cooler and shorter is better for both the environment and your clothes. Most machines have a quick wash setting which usually washes clothes at 30 degrees for 30-45 minutes. Try to keep your hotter washes for bedding, towels and sportswear only.
Buy bio capsules and laundry detergent
If you regularly wash your clothes at 30 degrees, it’s wise to start buying bio capsules or bio laundry detergent. Bio detergent contains enzymes that are activated at a lower temperature than non-bio products, so are better at breaking down dirt and stains during a cooler wash. If anybody in your household has sensitive skin though, non-bio detergent would be better as it contains gentler ingredients.
Take care of your clothes
Taking care to wash your clothes carefully – on lower heats, in separate colour batches and with less fabric softener – will help them last longer, which in itself can save you money in the long term. Washing certain items and fabrics at too high a heat and with too many chemicals can damage the fibres, resulting in shrinkage, stretching or fading. Buying new clothes will always be more expensive than washing the ones you already have;, so even when looking to save money on your laundry, always be sure to take care of your laundry as you wash it – especially more expensive items.