I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’ve been doing a lot of laundry lately. Wearing sweatpants and sweatshirts everyday really starts to add up! But I’m also trying to save money right now, so let’s look at how to save on utility bills when doing laundry.
Use Energy Efficient Appliances
Though you may not be in the market right now for a new washer and dryer, when you are, be sure that you’re purchasing an energy efficient appliances. An easy way to determine this is to look for the Energy Star label. Energy Star washers use 40% less energy and 60% less water than traditional appliances. Energy Star dryers use sensors to determine if your laundry is dry. Yes, they tend to be more expensive, but they should last you for years to come, and that’s years of saving on utility bills while doing laundry.
I just recently bought a new washer and dryer because my old ones were breaking down and not worth repairing. I’m so impressed with how fast they complete their cycles. So in addition to a cost savings, you’re also getting a time savings.
Choose the Right Water Temperature
I always thought that washing in warm water or washing in hot water used about the same amount of energy. Not so! Washing in warm water instead of hot water reduces the energy needed to heat the water by about half. That’s amazing. And of course, you save even more energy if you wash in cold water. Thankfully, you can now buy detergents that are specifically made to work in cold water so your clothes will still get clean. You’ll also save some wear and tear on your clothing.
Of course, if an item is heavily soiled or someone has been sick, you may want to use hot water. Just use it sparingly and always choose a cold water rinse cycle in order to save on utility bills while doing laundry.
Separate Your Clothing and Consider Hanging to Dry
Some types of clothing dry faster than others. It’s obvious, right? So when you’re doing laundry, try to separate those items. Don’t put your towels in with your synthetic workout t-shirts. Both will dry faster if separated. One easy thing to do is hang those synthetic items on a clothesline or drying rack. I have two drying racks that I use for a lot of my clothing and it’s amazing how it saves on wear and tear. A collapsible drying rack doesn’t take up a lot of space, and I’ve used them in small apartments. Clothes do dry surprisingly quickly, so they don’t need to be hanging there for terribly long.
Though it’s tempting, you also don’t want to overload your dryer. I know I’m guilty of this. I’ll put too much bedding into the dryer and then as I’m pulling it out, the sheets that were stuck in the middle are still damp. While you don’t want to run a nearly empty dryer, don’t overload it either.
Clean Your Dryer Vents
This tip is both a financial one and a safety one. Clean out your dryer vent with each load of laundry you dry. You should also consider getting a narrow brush to clean the space where your dryer filter sits, and also occasionally clean out the full duct. If there’s more room for the air to move, you’ll save money, and you’ll also prevent dryer fires. Additionally, make sure that the exit point for your dryer duct outside your house stays clear. It’s easy to forget and prop something up against that part of the house or allow a plan to grow too close.
Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.