Now that I'm in the post-vacation laundry throes, I thought I'd take the opportunity to reassess my washing needs and see if there are some ways I could be more frugal.
I have front loading high efficiency machines (bought on sale, of course!) that are great for reducing the amount of water being used. I really only need to use just a little bit of detergent. When my water was hard (we now have a water softener installed) I added borax to each load to decrease mineral buildup and aid in cleaning. I've also added baking soda to my laundry before, which is a great cleaning agent as well. See how little soap you can get away with!
I know the Internet hosts a ton of great resources on the subject, but to keep it simple, here are two links that I've found very helpful:
This post from "Fabulously Broke in the City" titled, Eco-Friendly yet Frugal Laundering, has some great suggestions and is a good starting place. I like her reminders to consider what your laundering needs are-for example, have a load of just gently worn clothes? Then you probably don't need soap at all!
This article on "About.com" has some good tips on using vinegar as a Frugal Laundry Booster. Vinegar has been a long-time companion of mine! I use it all over the house, in addition to laundry.
I have been trying to stretch the time between washing our jeans. They don't get that dirty in the winter anyway! I can often wear my shirts 2-3 times if I hang them up between uses. I always air dry my shirts-keeps them from shrinking and reduces wear and tear on garments. Plus, then they usually don't need to be ironed!
Incidentally, laundry has never been my forte. Ugh-I'd rather ignore it and do dishes instead! Because of that, I've really tried to change my attitude toward laundry and make it into my own "fine art" to keep me motivated. Coming up with ways to do it frugally adds to the fun for me.
So get creative with your laundry!