The 'old way' of doing laundry is really much easier and cheaper!
Doing Laundry the Old-Fashioned Way
contributed by Francine
I live in an apartment building and don't have a washer or dryer. And my apartment is a fifth-floor walkup. The fact of the matter is that I haven't spent a dime on laundry in months. Washing clothes the old fashioned way is actually not only cheaper but also easier.
I save the plastic buckets that my scoopable cat litter comes in. I usually have four or five around, and fortunately, they are stackable, so they don't take up much room in my one-room apartment. When I go to one of the outer boroughs, I stock up on Fels-Naptha bar soap, which isn't sold in too many places in New York City. I also looked for and found a clothes wringer for under $20 on Ebay.
Every day, I put the clothes (sorted with regard to colors, whites, etc.), water of the appropriate temperature, and a piece of the Fels Naptha into buckets. I let the mixture sit for about 15 minutes, then take a large dowel (like a broom handle) and stir it around about 50 times. I let it sit for another 15 minutes, and then I put the clothes into a perforated plastic laundry basket, which I got at the dollar store. I pour the water out and let the clothes drain into the bucket. I then put the clothes back into the bucket with more water. This "rinse cycle" is repeated once more, and then I put the clothes through the wringer. If there are buttons or zippers, this part can't go through, but the rest can be wrung out quite well. I hang the clothes up to dry, which takes only a very short time. So what do I accomplish by doing clothes this way?
- Doing laundry costs me about 10 cents a month or less.
- The clothing lasts longer than if it were washed/dried by machine.
- I don't have to hurt my back hauling clothes up and down five flights to the basement.
- I feel really great having "beat the system."
- I don't have to leave the apartment, so I can accomplish other things.
If anyone thinks doing laundry this way is strenuous or excessively time-consuming, it isn't. I work full-time and I am an evening student. Typically, I "put in a wash" before I leave for work in the morning (you can let it soak) or in the evening when I am taking a break from studying. I do almost all of my laundry this way; most things that are supposedly dry clean only are not. I guess I probably spend about $20 a year on dry-cleaning bills, and I am pretty proud of myself for figuring out two years ago that the "old way" of doing laundry is really much easier and cheaper.
Reviewed March 2018
Take the Next Step:
- Try these recipes for homemade laundry soap.
- Spend less time and money doing your laundry. The Dollar Stretcher Frugal Laundry Guide can help you do both.
- Do you keep your finances as clean as your laundry? If debt has stained your budget, the TDS ebook How to Conquer Your Debt No Matter How Much You Have can provide you with the tools you need to clean up your finances.
- Join those who 'live better...for less' - Subscribe to The Dollar Stretcher newsletter, a weekly look at how to stretch both your day and your dollar! Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE!
Share your thoughts about this article with the editor.
Trending on TDS
Helpful Tools & Resources
- How to save $1000 while living paycheck to paycheck
- Cheat Sheet: How to get the best auto insurance deal
- Do I have a debt problem?
- Reduce your debt step by step
- Find a better credit card rate
- Where can you get the best savings account rate?
- Simplfy budgeting with this recommended tool
- Get your free credit score
- Cost cutting tips and tricks
- Sources of extra cash