Save Money On Laundry And Train Your Kids!

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save money washing laundry

Save Money On Laundry

From a reader:

I didn’t even realize how much laundry I was doing until we started having drain problems. We live in a rural area and the closest town with a laundromat is 45 minutes away. Using a laundromat is not really a feasible option every week, so I purchased a washboard and wringer and had at it. That’s when I really noticed how many clothes my 2 teenage boys were going through every week. So I put rules in place as far as laundry goes. Jeans or shorts need to be worn at least 3 times unless they are very obviously dirty. Shirts must be worn at least 2 times. I have been doing laundry by hand since probably August or September, and it has begun to actually seem like a sort of therapy for me. And just my 2 cents, I think our clothes are much cleaner this way, especially socks!!



I really liked this post! It reminded me of a story of an aunt who took her niece out of town to visit some friends of theirs. The second day they were there, the aunt decided to help out by doing the laundry for the mom so she had everyone bring their dirty laundry to the laundry room. When her niece arrived, she had about 4 times as much laundry as the others. There were 3 pairs of jeans, 6 tops and 3 pairs of pajamas among other things – and they had only been there 2 days and 3 nights. The aunt pretty much said the same thing to her that you told your boys.

A couple of years earlier, the niece’s mom had gotten so tired of washing so much laundry that she told each member of the family they had to do their own. (The mom herself had taught them that they had to wear a clean pair of jeans and pajamas every day but then complained about having so much laundry.) She showed them how to put the clothes in the washer, add the soap and start it.

What she didn’t teach them was how to sort the clothes, remove stains and keep the clothes from wrinkling. This is pretty much like giving your child a box of macaroni, a pan and a spoon and saying, “Now cook it and feed yourself.” I am daily amazed at how many parents don’t bother to take the time to teach their children basic skills in so many areas. God gave us those children for about 20 years and He did that not just so that we would care for them but so that we would teach them. Showing kids how to perform a task once is not going to get it. God knew that, which is why He gave us 20 years to do it and not just 10.

But the main point I want to make is that the niece’s mom was one who always bemoaned the fact they never had any money and had no place else where they could cut back. By teaching your children only how to put things into a washing machine without teaching them to be careful about how much laundry they make, you could spend lots more money a year on laundry detergent, hot water and wear and tear on washing machines and clothes, not to mention electricity for the dryer.

Most of the time, when kids wash laundry on their own, you don’t have a clue about how much they’re washing or how they are doing it if you haven’t spent a good deal of time training them. A child may decide she wants a top for school the next day so she tosses in 3 tops and 1 pair of pants and, after washing them, runs the dryer for a full cycle to dry them instead of doing a full load.

Why do I bother to mention things like this? Well, there is a verse in the Bible that says it is the “little foxes” that spoil the vine. We often focus on the big things in our lives that we believe are causing our money worries like the car breaking down, the refrigerator dying and other “large” things like that but we often let all the “little” money wasters in our lives slide, not realizing how much they are adding up.

Make sure you aren’t just showing your kids how to do things but that you’re training them to do things. Training means repeatedly showing them how to do it and then supervising for as long as it takes until they get it right.


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Photo By: Weidner Apartment Homes


  1. says

    My boys do their own laundry. FULL loads at that because they don’t like doing laundry. LOL! At our house we don’t sort clothes. We wash/rinse everything in cold water. Each person does their own and towels are done separately. We don’t have a dryer (well we do but I don’t think it’s safe to run) so we hang our clothes to dry on a couple drying racks and put a fan blowing on them. It works for us. :-)

  2. Donna says

    I taught my children to wear clothes until dirty, and wear work clothes repeatedly since they will also always be dirty. Everyone gets a towel per week, they get washed after the week. After all, you showered or washed, so they shouldn’t get dirty. Dressy clothes are hung up nicely, never worked in, and worn until dirty.

    All my children do laundry, but it is a family chore, all clothes get washed together once a week, to 1. have full loads, 2. keep them nice longer by having like clothing washing/drying together. Having jeans rub against t-shirts wears the shirts out faster, and lights weight mixed with heavy in the dryer overheats the lightweights, if you use a dryer.
    In our family of 6, we have 6-8 loads a week, and that is with all adult size people. We hang most of the clothes to dry year round, but then throw them in the dryer for a touch up cycle to get rid of the stiffness.

    Another reason all laundry is done together is to foster working together. I think having children only do their own laundry fosters only thinking of themselves. Our family is a team, and we share jobs as a team. Kitchen duty is for the whole family, laundry duty is also.

    We also make our own laundry detergent, and use a fraction of the softener called for, or use vinegar in the rinse.

    • says

      I totally agree with you Donna. Working together as a team is a point many people don’t think about or think of as important now a day. Another thing too was I would have my kids sit with me after school and help fold clothes (and other things) but we would visit, they would tell me about their day and it also was a training time. They would watch me doing a job and learn how to do it right and if they were doing it wrong I could show them how to do it right. Kids need to be shown over and over how to do things and to learn more and more as they get older.

  3. Diana says

    Well I’m a 30 yr old mum who lived at home with her parents till 23 , and I was never taught to do laundry – my mum just didn’t need th extra hassle of having to show and teach another to do it! Im only JUST starting to figure out this stuff for myself now! With kids of my own I have learned the best time to start teaching them is when they are young and see this stuff as fun. Sure, I ought to have taken the iniatitive and asked my mum to teach me but by then I was too used to getting all those things done for me- because she never spoke about it or complained about it I imagined I would just find it easy but little did I know just how large a part laundry would play in my life!
    I’d love to hear from the first lady how she gets her clothes so clean. Can sum1 tell me how to wash dishcloths, how to wash woollens and how they keep their laundry ticking over. While we’re at it can anyone explain or give me a how to of what chores they do daily so they have free time with hubby in the evening (I seem to never get out of the kitchen) and how they plan so they can be more available to their family on the weekends when schools out I seem to have never ending laundry, mess and dishes , I’m starting to crumble even tho I’m tryin so hard to be organised and prepared! Any tips, cheats or shortcuts appreciated!

    • says

      Diana you have come to the right place. We have thousands of tips and how tos for all of the things you mentioned. I have given you a few links below to get you started but there are a ton in each category. Click on the icons at the bottom of the article and it will lead you to many more which answer every single question you asked. Also if you need even more then go to the search box on the right of the page and type in things like laundry, cleaning kitchen, schedules, bathroom, organize etc.These should give you a good start. Most of them are very simple and easy to understand ways to do things.

      If you need even more help then all the free things listed below on laundry you could try our e book series Keepin’ It Clean. I cover everything in there about cleaning and get very detailed on laundry from how to get the clothes into the hamper, stain removal (more then just a stain chart), what temps of water to use for what, pre soaking, hanging on the line outside or on a rack, how to build a clothesline, folding clothes, ironing clothes – how to- when to use starch or pre sizing and recipes for homemade products if you want them. When I say I go into deal in this book I do. I wrote so beginner could do laundry step by step and so someone who has been doing laundry for years can get some new and faster ways to do things.There are lots of pictures in it too to help you understand the different things.

      If you have any more questions after reading this then give us a holler.

      This is how to Clean Your Kitchen in 7 Easy Steps

      This deals with schedules Spring Cleaning Schedules and Lists

      How to get Laundry under control Clothes Organization and Storage

      This has more practical ways to get organized. Get Organized Part II

      This deals with how to get motivated to get organized. Get Organized Right Now

      This teaches how to keep things organized. Secrets of the Organized

    • Nancy says

      Diana, I do the shopping and cooking, so my husband (and kids when they were home) does the dishes. Daily I sweep, dust, and wipe up bathroom surfaces. Everyone wipes down the shower after using, so heavy cleaning is seldom necessary. Once a month I clean the shower fiberglass walls and wax them (paste wax makes them shine, water beads up and soap film doesn’t build up. I mop and vacuum weekly. I do laundry once a week. When my kids were young, I let a lot of things go in order to spend time with family.

  4. says

    Two super important rules to make my life easier, Check washing labels!!!!!!!!
    Rule #1 must wash and dry via machine
    rule #2 no special instuctions!
    This goes for both clothes and dishes.
    I have a small number of exceptions in my kitchen, my cooking stones that require hand washing with no soap, and my cast iron, that is also hand wash.
    For laundry, I buy the Shout Laundry color catchers and split them in half, usually using them more than once because anytime I have new colored clothes I wash them with a half cup of white vinegar, this sets the color, not every load just anything with bright or dark colors mixed in. This allows me to wash our cothes even when I don’t have a full load of one whites or a full load of colors.

  5. Vicki says

    I have loved this website for many years and have used many recipes and suggestions…this is the first time I’ve replied. I find myself mid-fifties with a full time stepson who is about to turn 15. After a number of years alone with my new husband (my children grown and out and a tween grandchild), being a fulltime “mom” again has been a challenge – I do still work fulltime. I happened to mention something about the laundry and my adult son said “Mom – we had to do our own laundry once we hit junior high – why doesn’t he?”. Frankly, I didn’t remember when they started and I’m still not sure it was 7th grade…but, I do know it was somewhere in that range. So, my stepson got laundry lessons from me and now does his own, which actually only amounts to one load of “darks” per week and then his sheets…Between the 3 of us “whites” are limited, so I combine them for all of us, as well as the towels – it just makes sense for us. He puts the whites away once I’ve washed & dried them. I think I must have done ok with the teaching – he’ll ask me questions about pre-treating or load size…Even reducing my laundry by 1 or 2 loads a week means a positive difference for me and I know he has a valuable life skill.

  6. Rachel says

    Like Vicki I had my kids doing their own laundry by middle school. It’s a huge relief for me. I have only one left at home and he does his own, but I throw his whites in with ours once a week to make a full load. My mother bought detg., Clorox, Clorox II, and dryer sheets. So when I got married I did the same. Eventually I asked “Do I need all this?” So now I only buy detg. and clorox. I use the clorox sparingly, it will put holes in the clothes if you use too much. Having fibromyalgia, I really cannot imagine doing my laundry in a ringer machine or on a washboard! I like to hang out my laundry, but some days that seems like too much, so I use the dryer.

  7. Heidi M says

    Our children have rotating chores, including hanging laundry out and folding laundry, everyone puts away their own clothes. When my oldest son was about 14, he told me that laundry was woman’s work…”Well, you will not be doing laundry one week a month any more. You will now do all the boys clothes (6 sons on a farm) every week for a month. And then, you will continue to do it until I feel you are doing it properly and there are no piles of dirty boys clothes piling up in your room” (we don’t have a laundry room, so clothes stay in a hamper in each room until they are washed each day) He did boys laundry for about 6 months! But he learned and he learned to appreciate having to do it only one week out of the month.He lives on his own now and knows how to care for his clothes :)

  8. Denise W says

    When I was young I never really learned the washing part of laundry. I would help mom fold towels, or was clothes. When I was in high school I started washing my own clothes. All I knew is you throw it all together, add soap and start the machine. We all knew not to throw in anything red, because we had all seen dad’s pink t-shirts and underwear. When I had my first child I used cloth diapers. My mother in law said these are getting real stained. Just put bleach in the pail and soak them till you wash them. So I bought 2 gallons of bleach and soaked them. Obviously I never used bleach before. I ate up 4 dozen diapers. She never told me to dilute it. We laughed, I had to buy all new diapers, lesson learned. I still don’t like to use bleach.

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