Do you use the right amount of detergent when you do your laundry? If you use a liquid detergent, it seems obvious to fill up the cap to the top. Not so. If you read the side of the bottle, it will tell you to look closely at the cap and you'll see that there are faint lines inside that indicate the amount you should use for a small/medium load and a large load. These lines are unbelievably hard to see. I had to feel for them with my fingers so that I could mark the outside of the cap for this photo. You will notice that both of these lines are significantly below the top of the cap. By filling your cap to the top for every load, you are using more than double the amount recommended for a small/medium load. This also means you are not getting your full loads/bottle for your money. Instead of the advertised 40 loads, you are getting about 20, doubling your cost to wash each load of laundry.
The same is true for those of us who use powdered detergent. The lines on the scoop in the box are much easier to see, but probably just as ignored by most of us. Again, filling the scoop up to the top with detergent uses about twice what the manufacturer recommends in their directions on the side of the box. Congratulations! By using the right amount, you're suddenly going to be getting twice as many loads of laundry from your detergent purchase. That could add up to about $100 saved per year -- and that's before coupons. In addition, if you have a High Efficiency washer, your washer is made to rinse clothes until the soap is gone from the fabrics. Using too much detergent means your washer will rinse and rinse and rinse to get all that extra soap out . . . your energy prices will really climb!
For years I have ripped my dryer sheets in half before putting them in the dryer. This one step saves me 50% on dryer sheets every year. When I'm feeling REALLY frugal, I rip them into thirds. Trust me, there's plenty of "stuff" on the half (or 1/3rd) sheet to stop the static in your dryer. Suddenly your little box lasts twice or three times as long. The savings just keep on comin'!
Lastly, doing your laundry before noon or after 7:00 PM will significantly reduce your electricity costs. No kidding! All electricity does not cost the same. Check your electrical company website for their Time of Use rules. Electricity costs a lot more from Noon - 7:00 PM (peak use hours) when everyone in town is using it too.
A Cautionary Tale:
Frugal and Cheap are different animals.
Last fall, I bought a dozen bottles of a liquid laundry detergent on sale -- and I had some coupons. I was so proud of myself!! Month after month I've delighted in bringing down a new bottle when the old one was empty, knowing how little I had paid for this detergent. This was not an off-brand or a store brand, but it wasn't one of the big names either. However, a few weeks ago, I was visiting my parents in Idaho and did some of my laundry while I was there. My mother had her big box of Tide sitting on the washer, so I used it, of course. I was amazed (and embarrassed) to see how noticeably whiter my socks came out of the wash. Hmm. I'd saved a few dollars and ended up with dingy laundry. Not a savings, in my book. Now, I'll watch for sales and coupons and go back to a product that cleans better. Cheap is getting the best price, no matter what. Frugal is getting a good product for the best price. Very different.
Anyone else have some good laundry ideas?