How Much Does It Cost to Do Your Wash?

Once you know the real cost of something, such as doing your wash, you may be surprised. And that surprise can turn into motivation for doing things differently, and thus saving money.

Let us look at three households: Mrs Average, Mrs Conservative, and Mrs Thrifty. They each do laundry a different way, and so they spend different amounts getting the same size load completed. We will assume that they all have a standard washing machine and dryer. It is true that you can usually save more with a high efficiency washer and dryer. We’ll also assume that they do their laundry at the same time of day and use electric machines and water heaters (in some arrangements, you can get lower electricity or water rates at off peak times).

Okay, Mrs Average puts her load of laundry into her washer. She sets it at hot/warm or hot/cold and uses the recommended amount of her favorite laundry detergent that she purchased just that morning at the grocery store. When she is done, she will throw it into the dryer with a softener sheet as usual until it is done. Here are the costs:

Water plus heating the water: $.69

Detergent: $.39

Dryer: $.47

Dryer Sheet: $.10

Total cost per load: $1.65

Mrs Conservative knows that she can save some money on laundry by making a few frugal choices. She washes her laundry load on the warm/cold setting because there is no reason to rinse in hot or warm, right?. She could choose a cold water detergent, but they are a little pricey. Instead, she buys her favorite regular powder detergent in bulk. When her load is done, she will hang about half of it, mostly the less bulky items, in her basement overnight. She buyers her dryer sheets in bulk as well and uses half a sheet at a time. Here are the costs:

Water plus heating the water: $.32

Detergent: $.14

Dryer: $.23

Dryer Sheet: $.04

Total cost per load: $.75

Mrs Thrifty wants to lower her laundry cost as much as possible. She still wants to use a washing machine to do her wash. She also washes her laundry on the cold/cold setting and uses the presoak option on her machine so she can use her detergent more effectively without the hot or warm water. She also makes her own laundry detergent out of a few common grocery store items. She rarely uses her dryer at all. In fact, she hangs her laundry outside on good days and inside in bad weather. If she needs to soften a load of wash, she uses a tablespoon of generic vinegar bought in bulk. Here are the costs:

Water plus heating the water: $.14

Detergent: $.01

Dryer: $.00

Dryer Sheet: $.00

Vinegar: $.01

Total cost per load: $.16

You can read more blog posts by Mary Ann Romans here!

Favorite Deal Websites:


Related Articles:

A List of the Best Generic Brands

Tackling Mount Washmore: Easy Laundry Solutions

Emergency Laundry Detergent

This entry was posted in Frugal Laundry and tagged , , , by Mary Ann Romans. Bookmark the permalink.

About Mary Ann Romans

Mary Ann Romans is a freelance writer, online content manager, wife and mother of three children. She lives in Pennsylvania in the middle of the woods but close enough to Target and Home Depot. The author of many magazine, newspaper and online articles, Mary Ann enjoys writing about almost any subject. "Writing gives me the opportunity to both learn interesting information, and to interact with wonderful people." Mary Ann has written more than 5,000 blogs for since she started back in December 2006. Contact her at maromans AT or visit her personal blog