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13 October 2023

10 ways to save money doing the laundry

Washing your clothes can be expensive when you consider the cost of the machines, the power to run them, buying detergent and calling someone to help if there’s a problem. Read our best tips for saving money doing the laundry.


1. Do more cold washes

If you’ve got a front loader, the cost of the power you’ll use to do a warm wash is three times more than if you ran a cold wash. In a top loader, the difference between a cold and warm wash is even higher – about six times! Save the warm washes for really dirty loads that need the disinfecting power of a higher temp.

2. Don’t wash too frequently

If you can cut back on how often you wash your clothes, you’ll be saving on power and detergent as well as making your clothes and washing machine last longer. Airing out your clothes in the sunshine can help reduce the need to wash them. Check out our other tips on how to cut down on washing.

3. Look after your washing machine

If you take care of your machine you won’t have to pay the hefty bill for calling a repairer to come round and sort it out. Check pockets are empty before clothes go in and check your pump filter regularly – it’s the last line of defence against foreign objects. Never use fabric softener! It creates scrud, which sticks to parts of the machine you can’t see and eventually your clothes. And remember to periodically use the machine’s cleaning cycle, or give it a hot wash with just detergent and no load inside. We recently made a video that shows you how to maintain a washing machine.

4. Get the best washing machine you can afford

If your washing machine has spun its last spin, you don’t need to spend megabucks to get a decent new one. We’ve recently looked into whether you can get a good washing machine for under $1000. We found there’s a couple with solid scores that you can pick up for under a grand.

5. If you use the dryer, be smart about it

Of course drying washing in the sunshine is going to be cheaper than putting it through the dryer, but sometimes the weather doesn’t play ball. Try and shorten the time your washing is tumbling, by giving it a higher spin in the washing machine first. That way you’ll get as much water out as possible before it hits the dryer. Also keep the filter clean, so your dryer doesn’t need to work harder than it needs to.

6. Don’t underestimate a vented dryer

Heat-pump dryers are the most energy efficient type, but they also cost a few thousand dollars. You might think forking out for one will pay off in the long run, but you need to consider how much washing you’re actually drying. We’ve calculated you’d have to dry a load of washing 549 times a year for a heat-pump dryer to be a better option than a vented dryer.

7. A great dryer doesn’t have to be the flashest

There are some very fancy $3000+ models among the dryers we’ve tested. But the one we love the most costs less than $800.

8. Sign up for a time-of-use plan

If you’re a night owl, you could look into switching to a time-of-use power plan. These plans give you cheaper power outside the peak times. If you can hold off pushing “go” on your washing machine or dryer until later in the evening, or use a delay button, you could make big savings.

9. Check out the energy rating label

When you’re buying a washing machine or dryer, check the energy rating label. More stars at the top means it’s more efficient, so you’ll be paying less in power.

10. Buy the best laundry detergent

If you get a good detergent, you won’t be having to rewash to get marks out of clothes. We’ve been able to make our laundry detergent test results free for everyone to check out which ones are worth buying.

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