Frugal Laundry

(37 Posts)
DebugMe Sun 26-Jan-14 14:36:48

For various reasons we have been making a real effort to have a more frugal lifestyle recently. But I'm getting a bit stuck on the laundry.

I use an eco-ball thing and home-made fabric conditioner so cut down loads on those costs. Plus PIL bought us an efficient machine, which is great.

However I'm struggling to cut down on the volume of laundry to be done. I've been experimenting with how long I can leave it before washing towels, bed sheets, clothes, etc but am starting to feel a bit of a minger to be honest. Sheets are now down once a month (ugh!), unless the DCs have any accidents, but I'd rather do them more often than that. Towels are once a fortnight, likewise would rather do them more often. Clothes are every day for undies and tshirts, every 2 days for trousers and jumpers unless food is spilt. (DCs are 3 and 2 - so quite a lot of stains still).

But - we've put the heating down, and are all wearing more clothes. And have extra blankets on bed at night. And the cat is hiding indoors from the rain and leaving mud and hair everywhere.

And we're not tumbling anymore, but drying on a rack by a dehumidifier - its just too wet outside. Even with the dehumidifier, we're still having problems with damp and mould in the house, and its taking days to dry stuff. DH doesn't like me airing the house too often as we've spent so long trying to draught proof it and conserve heat!

How do you keep laundry costs down without smelling nasty? How do you balance having a cold house vs having loads of laundry? How do you conserve heat without getting damp and mould?

Sorry for the length - but really grateful for any tips.

ShatnersBassoon Sun 26-Jan-14 14:42:17

If having unwashed bedding and a damp house is making you miserable, you have to decide if you'd be more miserable being less well off but washing more and using the tumble dryer.

NannyR Sun 26-Jan-14 15:35:41

I don't have any figures to prove it but I would guess that running a tumble dryer for an hour to dry off one load of washing may well be cheaper than running a dehumidifier for how ever many hours it takes to dry a load on an airer. And it will certainly be cheaper in the long run than sorting out a mould problem.

I have in the past used a dehumidifier to help dry laundry (when the drier wasn't working) and I found the most efficient way to do it was to put the airer and dehumidifier in the bathroom with the door closed. It works best in an enclosed space and the walls were painted with bathroom paint to deal with steam and moisture.

Rattitude Sun 26-Jan-14 15:44:25

If I were you, I'd wash bedding every two weeks and towels every week.

However, I would wear trousers and jumpers longer than a couple of days. If they are not dirty and do not smell, there is not much point in washing them.

specialsubject Sun 26-Jan-14 18:01:02

you need to air your house, open the windows for 5-10 minutes in the morning after the heating goes off. See various Piglet John posts for an explanation of the science.

eco-balls do nothing. Fabric conditioner unnecessary.

sheets two weeks maximum and towels when they get smelly - if you have an airing cupboard this really helps. Adult jumpers and trousers can easily go a week.

I can normally keep up with washing and drying easily year round with a dryer, but am struggling a bit at the moment because it really never seems to stop raining! I think you need to use that dryer at the moment.

Iamnotanugget Sun 26-Jan-14 18:03:53

Try your local library and see if they'll loan you, free of charge, a basic energy monitor. Ours do and it'll give you a good idea what's costing you money. You could also get for around £10 a more advanced monitor that plugs into the appliance and tell you exactly how much each wash is costing you. You may find the eco wash is cheaper per hour but because it runs for ages costs you more than a short wash.
I also agree that tumble drying is probably cheaper than running the dehumidifier, although you need to run that to keep your house dry. Again, an energy monitor will help you decide what's best.

Fluffycloudland77 Sun 26-Jan-14 18:27:51

Well, I bought a new A+++ rated washing machine but after 8 years with his ex gf machine I felt entitled to it! It does wash twice as much for the same electric as the old one. It's a 9kg load machine.

I use laundry gloop for coloureds & delicates, aldi bio for whites.

I use cheap vinegar for softener.

I have a spin dryer to speed up drying but you can't use it on woollens <admires jumper that used to fit dh>

I wash sheets weekly though.

DebugMe Sun 26-Jan-14 19:44:25

Thanks everyone for the replies.

Shatners I dunno - miserable in a cold and damp house surrounded by laundry, or miserable putting the heating and tumble on and watching my pennies slide away into the abyss. Damned either way!

NannyR yes we hang laundry and dehumidify in the tiny 3rd bedroom when its just close - but when its sheets, they're strung up over the doors all round the house sad

specialsubject thanks for the pointer to PigletJohn posts, he/she talks sense! Airing or not is a source of marital discontent... I agree with the ecoballs, not sure they do much more than water - when they are gone, I will be moving to home-made laundry powder. Just reluctant to throw them away and admit defeat quite yet!

Iamnotanugget DH has measured ?voltage of all machines while running and swears the dehumidifier is more efficient even taken into account the fact its on 24/7. I am unconvinced but don't have the numbers to disprove him! Also tumble drier is 15 years old or so, so not likely to be efficient.

Fluffycloud likewise I use vinegar for fabric conditioner, and do a second spin cycle to help drying times. Its just the volume of sheets - how do you manage doing them every week, without your house being permanently adorned with sheets?!

Would it be cheaper to take all the sheets and towels to a laundrette once a fortnight?

DebugMe Sun 26-Jan-14 19:45:44

close = clothes!

Fluffycloudland77 Sun 26-Jan-14 19:46:59

Spin dryer wink, sheets dry overnight on the airer in a room with the window on the latch.

I run it for about an hour in total which is about 4p on my tariff.

cherrycola86 Thu 13-Feb-14 14:42:45

I've never had a dryer, mainly due to not having the space for one TBH. There's me, DP (who changes his clothes far too much) and DC (who often has night time accidents) in the house.

I cope during winter by using a drying rack and washing a smaller amount each day . This lets the washing machine spin more of the water out and means you can space them out on the rack better . I usually put them out after tea and they are usually dry by morning when I can open the windows and air the house. I hand tshirts and shirts on hangers off the shelf in the airing cuboard if needed and make sure towels are hung over the shower doors straight after using to allow them to dry (and not smell!)

In the summer I was my bedding weekly, but in the winter cut down to fortnightly and go up the launderette. I wash them at home then just up the launderette to dry along with the towels. Only costs about a £1 for sheets and £1 for towels. IS well worth it IMO can't stand things draped on doors! Although if DC is going through a bad patch with night time wetting this is the only way forward! Feel your pain, why is electricity not cheaper sad

sonlypuppyfat Thu 13-Feb-14 14:51:08

I find a spin dryer great for speeding up drying it takes loads more water out than your washing machine.

misscph1973 Thu 13-Feb-14 14:54:40

OP, it sounds like you are doing very well with your laundry, I can't imagine how you could do better.

Perhaps you can use this for washing your bedding cheaply instead of the ecoballs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-eMmvpQeoQ&feature=c4-overview-vl&list=PLp7B7s7uE2MtxBHIwg6ZKkLVsbqYJNt

About the drying, it's just not easy for anyone without a tumble drier at the moment! In a few months you can dry your washing out again and you will forget all about the winter ;)

Ditch the eco balls, they won't be getting the washing clean, or washing out the fabric conditioner from last time. This means all you get is a build up of fabric conditioner which makes the fabric of your clothes wear out quicker!!

I am a super-scrooge when it comes to all things domestic.

We are in a soft water area so can use less detergent anyway. I've a bosch 1400 spin speed very good washer.

Don't bother making your own washing powder. Just don't buy the expensive stuff. Washing tablets from Lidl, I only use half the recommended dose and its easily enough, one tab for a full load. Then I also have a separate spin dryer and after the machine has finished, I put the laundry in that for 15min spins at a time. Gets loads and loads more water out - 3/4 pint for a load of towels for example.

We don't have a tumble dryer so I hang things outside whenever possible. Even for just an hour can make a huge difference. Had schoool uniforms out for 3 hours this morning. I never, ever dry clothes on racks in the house straight from the washing machine. Might put the school uniform stuff on the airer in our bedroom later with the window open, but the clothes are practically dry already. Moisture going into the air in the house makes the house feel colder. Also contributes to cold and damp. So when I have a backlog I just save all the washing till Friday night, wash and spin it, then take it to the laundrette on a Saturday morning where I can get 3 loads completely dry for under £2.

You need to put clothes outside whenever you can, and get the tumble dryer going to get the moisture out of the house. Drying inside = higher heating bills imo.

Don't forget we are having a very very wet few weeks. HOPEFULLY very soon we can all just hang our washing outside a few times a week.

Newbizmum Sun 02-Mar-14 14:28:59

I use liquitabs (Ariel / Persil etc.) and conditioner. Buying at opportune times reduces the cost per tab by around 60% from the "normal" price. If they have offers on 4 times a year, you need enough stock to cover 3 to 4 months each time.

If you have budgeting problems (to shell out the £100 or so replenishment cost for 6 months or more) then put a jar near the laundry items and put a pound in every wash day.

Mintyy Sun 02-Mar-14 14:32:59

Really, is it worth it for the few pennies you will be saving?

Bearleigh Sun 02-Mar-14 14:33:43

Buy loose powder not tablets. It is much cheaper, and you can more easily control the quantity.

legohouse Tue 04-Mar-14 14:36:28

You could wash the pillow cases and bottom sheets (ones you lie on) weekly and the duvet covers fortnightly?..just a thought...i guess if your cat is going on the beds then that may not work though.

onepieceoflollipop Tue 04-Mar-14 14:43:14

I change adult pillowcases every 3-4 days, but sheets far less often than that. Dh and I wear pjs, and shower daily, so in our house it is the pillowcases that need cleaning more often.

Like others have said, jeans, jumpers, cardigans etc can last significantly more than 2 wearings, as long as they have no stains and not been worn in dirty environment. (personally I wash more frequently if I have food smells on stuff, e.g. from cooking or eating out).

it is possible to hang washing out most of the year, unless heavy rain, fog, or temp is below freezing. A good tip my grandad told me is to look at the paving stones, if they are partly dry or dry, it is worth giving the laundry a flap on the line.

If kids' jeans, jumpers etc have a small spillage, wipe off firmly with a damp cloth or flannel.

horsetowater Tue 04-Mar-14 14:43:44

Has anyone actually worked out how much it costs to wash a load in terms of power used?

And drying? I find this thread quite depressing because you may just be saving 20p a day, which is £1 a week. Not much for clean laundry and a dry home without damp and mould.

horsetowater Tue 04-Mar-14 14:44:09

*£1.40 a week blush

onepieceoflollipop Tue 04-Mar-14 14:45:30

To add to my comment re hanging out, obviously you will still need to finish clothes off inside (dryer or airer) during the winter.

horsetowater Tue 04-Mar-14 14:48:33

Mine go on the radiators in winter, they are done in an hour and you heat the house at the same time with no extra costs. Might need to finish them off in the drier for a few minutes.

Or economy 7 at night which is about 1/3 of the day rate.

Vickiyumyum Tue 04-Mar-14 14:52:11

A tumble dryer really doesn't use that much electric. We have key meters fitted in our house, a 3 bed semi and we use less than £5 a week in electric, most clothing, underwear, towels and sheets go into the dryer. (that's for all electric, so lights tv, chargers, oven fridge dishwasher etc as well as dryer and washer) there are 5 of us in this household, 2 child sized and 3 adult sized.

I wash sheets weekly and towels every few days. I keep detergent costs down by shopping around and buying what's on offer.

Shosha1 Tue 04-Mar-14 14:57:53

Lakeland heated airer 5p a hour to run and I can dry two single beds sheets and duvet over night ( with a load of small people clothes on the bottom rungs)

Or one double bed and a load of small people or t shirts

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now