If you’re anything like me, you’re constantly washing clothes. By the time I’ve got one load of laundry sorted, the washing basket is full again – and I don’t even have kids. Seriously mums and dads, how do you do it?
On average, a washing machine takes around 2.5 units of electricity, which is roughly 50p to run a 1-hour long wash. Your iron probably uses around 0.5-1 unit of electricity (or around 10-20p) for every hour you use it. In fact, most irons cost around £4.50 a year to run.
It all adds up, so here are a few little hacks that can make your life easier and save you a few pennies.
Make your own washing powder
I’ve done this a few times and it’s brilliant. There are loads of recipes out there to choose from, and I picked a powder one (there are liquid recipes too!). The version I make combines a block of soap (I used a Dove bar) which you grate into a tupperware box. You then add half a tub of Wizz Oxi (or something similar) from Poundland. Then throw in 4 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda and mix. If you have a blender, stick the ingredients in and give it a wizz so it becomes powdery. Remember, the smaller the grains are, the better.
Here’s the thing, you aren’t going to get a load of bubbles – but you don’t need them. Thats just fancy marketing and dodgy chemicals making you think that bubbles = clean. Not the case.
Of course you can double, triple, half, go crazy with the recipe. Maybe even add some essential oils to make your clothes smell nice. Up to you.
I added one heaped tablespoon in the washing machine and if I had loads to do, or it was extra dirty (my boyfriend likes biking in the mud!), will add 2 tablespoons.
Now please use your head, and do your own research – I really don’t want people complaining to me that they’ve ruined their £1000 Gucci suit – I ain’t replacing it. 😉
Wash socks in a mesh laundry bag so they’re easier to pair up when folding
Where do they go? Do you know? Because I don’t. If you have mine, can you get in touch? You put two socks in the washing machine – then *BAM!*, WITHOUT FAIL one will go missing.
But don’t you worry your little cotton socks (YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE?!), here’s the solution – invest in mesh washing bags, they’re only a couple of quid and they’ll keep all your delicates in one place. My washing machine is kept in the garden shed (yeah I know, blame my landlord), so I leave a knicker trail behind me on the path like a pervy Hansel and Gretel when I don’t put them in a bag. There too much to carry!
On a side note, you ever think you’re having a heart attack, but then realise your bra underwire has decided to break free and stab you in the chest? No me neither (blushes). Well to avoid that, you can get bra wash bags/balls with protect them and make them last longer, which is useful considering the price of them!
Use Soap Nuts
Ok, this is going to make me sound a bit nuts (WOO!), but I can’t believe this isn’t a ‘thing’ yet. Soapnuts are a super cheap way of washing as they last forever, and do the job well. It’s just… a bit weird… for us in the UK anyway.
So basically Soapnuts are a natural washing detergent that is literally grown on trees (they look a bit like conkers – don’t use them though!). The Soapnut shells contain Saponins which on contact with water release mild suds and can be used as an environmentally friendly alternative to Laundry detergent.
You place 4 to 5 half shells in a cotton bag (which you’re provided with), and stick it in with your laundry in the washing machine. Ta da! And you can use them with everything, delicates, silk etc. A 1KG bag is about £8 delivered and is about 140 washes at 60 degrees (more if you wash at a cooler temperature).
Trust me, I’ve used them myself, they’re a great and super cheap way of washing your clothes – less than 1p a wash.
Get stains out with shaving cream
Shaving cream is the perfect way to get rid of food and greasy stains like coffee from clothing and carpets. All you have to do is spray some on the stain, wait a bit (15 minutes or so) and then blot the shaving cream with a damp cloth, and boom – the stain has gone. If the stain is really persistent, give it a spray and leave it overnight.
WARNING: Make sure you only use white shaving cream, you start spraying blue foam, or gel on carpets, it might discolour your clothes/carpet.
Put talc on an oil stain and let it soak up the oil overnight
If the stain you have is literally just oil – and It’s Sod’s Law, that if I have a new top, i’m going to get oil on it. The last thing you want to do (according to my mother anyway) is to put water on it. Tip some talc on it, rub it in and let it soak all night, then brush away.
Mark on your machine items you can’t wash
I can’t tell you the amount of times my boyfriend and I have argued about washing clothes. I also can’t tell you the amount of times my boyfriend has stuck in expensive, beaded jumpers or silk in the wash, with everything else and ruined it.
I read somewhere that a way to sort this, is to sellotape a list of clothing that can’t be washed in the machine, or needs to be dealt with separately, so you are reminded, OR you’re significant other knows not what to wash.
Soften clothes with vinegar (or use tin foil balls)
There’s no need to spend £3 – £4 on expensive fabric conditioner to soften your clothes as vinegar will do the same thing. We’re talking white vinegar here, red wine or balsamic. Pour ¼ – ½ cup vinegar (depending on your washer type) in along with detergent for your wash cycle – then enjoy static-free, lint-free, soft clothes. The best bit, you won’t smell like a chip shop either, as the clothes come out smell free.
If you’re clothes come out really statically, ball up some tin foil and stick in the dryer. I’m no scientist, so cant exactly tell you how it works, but it does!
Don’t wash your jeans – stick them in the freezer instead
Ok hear me out – I haven’t lost it (yet). Got this from Extreme Cheapskates (my favourite programme of all time!). This one man had a pair of jeans for over 10 year and NEVER washed them. He would just stick them in a bag and keep them in the freezer. It kills the bacteria and therefore not smell.
Actually I’ve been hearing that jean aficionados and hipsters who spend serious amounts of money on jeans, never wash them, because it ruins them.
Look, if they are covered in food, this isn’t going to clean them. But if you have dirty ‘feeling’ jeans, just fold them up and put them in a plastic Zip-Lock bag. Seal up the bag and put the jeans in the freezer for a week. Your jeans will feel crisp and clean again, with no bacteria on there.
If you do it (please let me know how it goes!) for the love of God, please check for fish fingers and over frozen bits in your pocket.
Get rid of armpit stains with baking soda and lemon juice
I pretty much avoid wearing white, because I can’t eat anything without getting food on me (when will I grow out of that one?), but you can’t avoid white shirts some times, and there’s nothing worse than those yellow sweat stains.
But al you have to do is squeeze fresh or concentrated lemon juice and water onto the stain and rub the mixture in. Allow the shirt to dry out in the sun for extra stain-removing power. You can do the same thing by creating a paste of baking soda and water and apply to the stain. Let it sit for about an hour before throwing into the wash.
A bit of me is thinking – what about combining the two? But not tried that myself. Has anyone else?
Dry clothes quickly by throwing in a clean, dry towel with wet laundry
If you stick a dry, clean towel in with your wet cloths, it will absorb the moisture, reducing the drying time and using less energy. You need to take the towel out after about 15 minutes to be effective, otherwise the towel is contributing to the moisture in the dryer or even extending the drying time.
I hope that helps! Do you have any laundry tricks that can save time and money? Let me know!