Save money on laundry by washing items only when needed
As ever on this website, we are not looking at wholesale changes to your lifestyle. Instead, we focus on the little things (the small steps) which make a huge difference over time. Today, let’s look a how we can save money on laundry by washing towels and linen less frequently…
Chuck it in the washing basket
I’m currently sitting in a hotel, where this week they have taken my towels away each day to wash them even though they are folded and placed back on the rack.
This got me thinking how much unnecessary washing and drying of our household items could cost if we do it too frequently and how to save money on laundry.
Let’s take an average family in the UK: Mum, Dad, teenage son & ten year-old daughter. 3 beds with full linens, 4 large towels, 2 small towels & 2 hand towels.
Let’s assume that this family washes its large & hair towels twice per week, its hand towels three times per week and its linens twice per week. The large & hair towels consist of two separate loads, the hand towels of one, and the linens also take two loads. Therefore, we are doing, on average, eleven separate wash loads each week.
We have put the figures into an online calculator, which assumes a front loader washing machine on a hot wash with a 60 minute dry cycle, a cost of water per 1000 gallons of £4.43, and a cost per use of washing powder & fabric conditioner of 18p and 25p respectively.
This provides an estimate of £1.72 per load, which amounts to £987 each year.
Save money on laundry by washing less often
Instead, let’s examine the recommended time that these items should be used for without washing. I’m not a hygiene expert myself, but a quick browse on the web suggests to me that the use of bed sheets and towels for longer than two weeks would start to become hygienically detrimental.
Therefore, let’s assume we will wash each of our items every 2 weeks. This would mean 2.5 wash loads per week (every two weeks we will have two loads for large & hair towels, one load for hand towels and two loads for bed linen). Also, we will start to dry our washing on the line rather than using the electric dryer.
This reduces the estimated cost per load to £1.06 per load, amounting to £138 each year.
If we save the difference between these two amounts each year over 25 years, at the average bank interest rate, we would have £48,599 extra in savings after that period.
So this shows that we can save money on laundry. But what other benefits are there? Firstly, let’s look at the time impact. I would estimate that each wash load will take around 5 minutes each (collecting washing, filling machine, setting machine, putting in washing powder & conditioner and folding the clean items). This will total around 43 minutes extra each week. That equates to 932 hours, or almost 39 full days, over the course of the 25 year period we previously looked at.
How about the environment? The Guardian website reported that the carbon footprint of a load of laundry washed at 60°C, dried in a combined washer drier, is 3.3kg of CO2e. With 11 wash loads per week, this will total 1888kg of CO2e in a year. The difference is the equivalent to two return flights from London to New York each year.
Money saving tips
- Save money on laundry by washing towels and linens less frequently unless required due to specific spill or stain. This shouldn’t impact hygiene.
- Try to avoid the use of the dryer and instead use a clothes line/horse in your home.