It used to be that my husband dutifully put his laundry in the hamper when he was done with it.
I was happy when he wouldn’t leave piles of clothes on the floor, but unfortunately, "when he was done with it" often meant after one wearing. Most items weren’t dirty at all!
At $1.25/load for a wash, plus the time it takes me to do, and factoring in earlier wear and fading on clothes–it becomes quickly apparent to me that washing most items after one wear was is not the frugal thing to do.
Now, we have a better system in place. I’m getting by with washing 2-3 loads per week, and I’m not washing clothes that aren’t dirty (I hope).
- All socks, underoos, and undershirts get one day of wear. It’s not reasonable to try to stretch those further.
- Shirts for everyday wear get the "sniff test" and "stain check." If it passes those tests, it goes back on the closet with a little trick: The hangar now is hung backwards so that we know the shirt will be on its second wear the next time around.
- As long as sweaters pass the sniff & stain tests, they are folded and worn again.
- Sweatshirts can be worn quite a bit before a wash. I love the softness of a new sweatshirt, and I hate to see it get pilled prematurely.
- Jeans can be worn many many times without washing them. Do you know that for some untreated denim jeans, you’re not even supposed to wash them for the first few months? So, we wear them until they look like they need a wash, usually after 3-5 wears.
- Bath towels do not need to be washed after every use. They’re drying off clean bodies and then hung to dry–I don’t see the part where they get dirty. Changing the towels once per week seems more than sufficient to me.
By wearing clothes more often between washings, we’re saving ourselves work. But, we’re also preserving the life of those garments.
What are some laundry tricks you use?