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 Frugal Laundry Tips


Delicate Items

When we wash delicate items in our washing machine, we usually put them in a mesh bag to protect them. The mesh will still let the water in, while providing protection against the abrasion of the agitator. If you don't have a mesh bag, just use a pillow case. This will still let the water in, and the fabric will cushion your items. This is a great use for older, worn pillowcases.  Also, Instead of buying expensive products designed to launder delicate items, try this. Use baby shampoo.

Dishwashing Detergent

If you run out of laundry detergent, and must do the wash, use a 1/4 cup of dishwasher detergent. This will work, but is a harsher solution. Do not use on delicate items, and items that will not tolerate bleach.

Knitted Items

Be careful when washing knitted items- especially casual wear. Knitted items tend to shrink. You may find after washing a pair of long knitted long pants that they become crop pants. Some people wash their knitted items in the washer, but instead of putting them in the dryer, lay them flat to dry on the ground. Some stores are notorious for "shrinking" clothing. If you buy quality knitted items, you won't have this problem.


Here is an inexpensive alternative to a traditional hamper. Use a duffle bag. All my boys had a duffle bag (easy to make) for their dirty clothes. They kept it in their closets and it was very easy for them to take them to the laundry room.

Water Temperature

90% of the cost of using your washing machine is heating the water. Keep this expense down by only running full loads, and use cold water when possible. Unless you are trying to whiten your clothing, you usually never need to go hotter than warm.


We all suffer the occasional bloody nose or other reason why blood gets on our clothing or linen. Don't try and remove the stain with hot water. It will set the stain. Apply hydrogen peroxide and then rinse with cold water, repeating the process if necessary.


If you get gum on your clothes or on your household items, there may be an easy way to remove it. If the item is small enough, put it in the freezer. When the gum is frozen, you should be able to peel it off.

Homemade Stain Remover

Here is a homemade solution for removing stains. Mix equal parts of 409, rubbing alcohol, and water. Or use:

1 Quart of Water (approx amount to fill spray bottle)
1/8 Cup of Ammonia
1/8 Cup of Vinegar
2 Tablespoons of liquid dishwashing soap
2 Tablespoons Baking Soda

Put all the ingredients in a spray bottle. Shake well, and apply to spots before washing.


Lipstick can be a tough stain to remove, especially if it is a shade of red. Try this. Rub vegetable shortening into the stain. Then rinse with club soda. Repeat if necessary.

Oil Stains

If you are cooking and splatter some oil on your clothes, here is a way to get it out right away. Quickly mix together some cornstarch and water to make a paste and apply it to the stain.
It should remove the stain so it doesn't set in.


The sooner you can get to spots and stains on your clothing, the better chance they will come out. If you can't attend to them right away, at least put them the stained garment in water to soak.

Stubborn Stains

If you have some tough stains on your clothes that you don't think will come out in the regular wash, try this. It's a strong solution, and this should not be tried with any item that cannot tolerate bleach. Take a big bucket and fill it with about a gallon of hot water. Add 1/2 cup of dishwashing detergent and 1/4 cup of bleach. Soak for at least 20 minutes. Then wash as usual.


Here is another laundry tip. The easiest, and most economical way to clean shirts with "ring-around-the-collar" is to use shampoo. Apply shampoo to the stained area and let the shirts sit for at least 15 minutes before you wash them.

Baking Soda

Here is another one of those great uses for baking soda. Use it in your washer to freshen your clothes when you do the laundry. Just add about 1/4 cup to your washing machine. Dry as usual.

Fabric Softener

Here is a way to save a little money on fabric softener. Keep a small bucket of water in your utility room (up high if you have children). Fill it up with water, and add a little fabric softener. Place a few sponges in it. Throw one in the dryer with every load. Another option for fabric softener- Fill a bottle about 1/4 full of store bought fabric softener. Then fill the bottle up with vinegar. Use about 1/4 cup per load.

Water Softener

If you live in an area where the water is hard, and you need to use water softener when you do your laundry, here is a substitute that may come in handy. Use a little hair conditioner. Just add it during the rinse cycle.


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