How to save money on washing

The cost of just about everything in our lives is surging, including the price of keeping your clothes clean. But these simple laundry tricks can save you hundreds each year.

With inflation going through the roof recently, you’ve probably noticed the cost of detergent, water and electricity (among others) have gone up. But doing the washing is a necessary evil, if you don’t want to smell like an armpit.

The way you do your washing can have a big impact on your budget, whether it’s the brand of detergent you use or how you operate your washing machine.

Follow these tips from consumer group CHOICE and you could save as much as $500 per year.

Read: Eight tips to save money when shopping online

Run a full load

Running your washing machine at less than full capacity equates to a more expensive wash per item. Your washing machine can usually hold a lot more than you think too. Don’ be afraid to really pack it in there.

“A full laundry basket is only around 3.5kg of laundry, and your machine can take much, much more – so much you may even have trouble getting the door shut,” says Ashley Iredale, CHOICE laundry and white goods expert. 

Use cold water

Washing in hot water doesn’t really provide much benefit over cold, especially with many detergents today being designed specifically for cold water. Running your machine cold will save you quite a bit of electricity, depending on your machine model.

Change detergent brands

Have been using the same detergent brand for years out of habit? You may be paying far more than you need to. One of CHOICE’s top performing front-loader detergents was Aldi’s Almat Concentrate Sunshine Fresh Powder, which at just $4.99 for 2kg, works out to roughly 49 cents per wash.

Read: Ditch the ‘big three’ to save money on your phone bill

Use less detergent

You’re also probably using more detergent than you need to. Most of the recommended amounts on the box are deliberately inflated so you’ll buy more. Try using half the recommended amount and you’ll see it’s impossible to tell the difference.

Don’t use softener

Fabric softener is expensive and, according to CHOICE, unnecessary and even dangerous.

“Fabric softeners reduce the moisture absorbency of your laundry, which is bad news for your towels, and reduce the fire retardancy of clothing, which means you absolutely shouldn’t use them on children’s sleepwear,” says Ms Iredale. 

“And because the fabric softener has to stay behind in the fabric, you’re actually re-soiling your clothes with petrochemicals, which you then wear against your skin.”

Read: Want to save money on your groceries? Here’s a little secret

Use dryer sparingly

It can be tempting to throw your clothes or towels in the dryer to get them nice and toasty, especially in winter. But you can save a lot of money by letting your clothes air dry.

Most places in Australia are warm and dry enough to not need a dryer, but if you do have one try to use it as little as possible and you’ll soon notice the savings.

Upgrade your washing machine

If your washing machine is decades old, you’re probably losing money because it’s not energy efficient. Today’s washing machines are designed to use as little power as possible, saving you on electricity bills.

Do you wash your clothes with hot or cold water? How old is your washing machine? Let us know in the comments section below.

Written by Brad Lockyer

Brad has deep knowledge of retirement income, including Age Pension and other government entitlements, as well as health, money and lifestyle issues facing older Australians. Keen interests in current affairs, politics, sport and entertainment. Digital media professional with more than 10 years experience in the industry.

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