More Bang for Your Buck: Cheaper laundry costs

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - I dread it, but it has to be done. It's the laundry and on average, it costs about a dollar to wash and dry one load. But you can do it for less without compromising your wardrobe.

When it comes to detergent, know your price point. I won't pay more than $3 for mine. And be careful how much you pour. Little marks inside the cap tell you where to stop. If you've got delicates, skip the expensive stuff and try baby shampoo instead.

A cheaper alternative to fabric softener is white vinegar. A cap of white vinegar removes odors and softens clothes.

There are three easy ways to save with the washer. First, use cold water. Its costs one fourth of what hot water does. Choose a shorter cycle and you'll use less energy and run your washer off peak hours-that's before 11 a.m. or after 9 p.m.

Moving onto the dryer, make sure your lint catcher and vent are free of clogging fuzz. I use the castoff to make fire starters with toilet paper rolls. Shake your clothes before you put them in to increase the surface area for drying. Tear dryer sheets in half or take 2 or 3 used sheets and put those in the next load together, your items will be just as soft.

A pair of tennis balls can help break up clumps of clothes. If you throw a dry, clean towel in with the wet load, it will absorb a lot of the moisture, cutting down on drying time.

The cheapest way to dry is good old fashioned hangers. Heavier items like jeans and towels slow the load when it comes to drying-good candidates for the hanger. Hung clothes have less pilling and fading, stretching the life of your clothes.

Making your own laundry detergent drops the price per load from 20 cents down to 2 cents a wash. To view a highly recommended recipe with instructions, click here.

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