How Do I Save Money On Laundry When I Live In An Apartment? (Your Advice)

Your Advice - help answer readers' questionsSometimes the advice that is given time and again doesn’t apply to you. This is the case with the current reader who has found a lot of advice on saving money when you own your own washing machine, but who is looking for saving advice for those that live in an apartment and don’t own their own washing machine or dryer:

Almost all of the saving advice that I see for laundry is for those that have their own washing machine and dryer. My problem is that I live in an apartment and so I do not have a washer or dryer. My question is what are the ways that I can save money on my laundry since I live in an apartment?

Currently I spend about $25 a week on the washing machines and dryers at the local laundromat. I would like to try and cut this amount by at least $10 a week so that I can use the extra money to put toward savings. Are there any steps that I can take to reduce these costs?

If you have had an experience of living in an apartment where you couldn’t do your laundry in your own machines, did you find some tricks to help you save money? Please share them here and any other advice you have for this person.

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13 Responses to How Do I Save Money On Laundry When I Live In An Apartment? (Your Advice)

  1. PiggyBank Raider says:

    Babysit in exchange for use of washer/dryer. Many young couples are happy to accept this offer, since it means they don’t have to pay you actual cash. You get to do your laundry while you babysit, and all you need to provide is the detergent!

  2. Karen says:

    Check to see if the larger washers are a better deal. If you can fit two loads in a large washer, it’s usually a better deal. (But don’t overstuff the washer too much, since the clothes won’t clean as well.)

    If possible, do your laundry less often. If you have your own washer, it’s most effective to do laundry frequently. But if you’re using a laundromat, it’s usually better to wait so you can run a full load every time. (And it takes just as long to wash two or three loads at a laundromat than it does to wash one.) I don’t mean to wear dirty clothes, but it may be worthwhile to buy a few more underwear and socks so you can go two or three weeks between laundromat visits.

  3. mitchell says:

    i was in your shoes until recently. i moved to an apartment with washer/dryer connections. if that isn’t an option, here’s what i did when i was doing laundry in a laundromat:

    1) only wash what really needs washing. if you can bear to do it, rewear some clothes.

    2) a lot of coin-operated dryers allow you to put in extra money for extra time. for me, it ended up being cheaper to buy extra time and split the time between two loads that needed to be dried, instead of loading both loads into separate driers.

    3) hang things up to dry to minimize dryer use.

  4. Tim says:

    $25 to do your laundry? How many loads do you do? Do you wear clothes multiple days?

    $25 dollars seems a bit excessive to me.

  5. Debbie says:

    1. Don’t pay to dry. Bring your wet (heavy!) laundry home and hang it on dryer racks. That would probably save you the $10, and your clothes (especially the ones with elastic) might last longer. Your arm and back muscles might get stronger, too.

    2. Save on supplies. If you live someplace with soft water, you can use less detergent than what is recommended on the container. If you use dryer sheets, you can rip them in half and just use half of one in each load. I’ve also seen recipes for home-made detergent that is cheaper.

    3. Wash less stuff. If you throw things in the hamper after each use, you might try having more than one use. For example, you might save the shorts you wore on the weekend (if they still look and smell clean) to use again while exercising. You might use your bath towel more than once before washing it.

    4. Do your own wash. I’ve also heard of people who wash their clothes in the sink each night and hang them up to dry. (These people are all travelers who want to pack light, but you could do it too and save a lot of money!) You could compromise and wash only easy-to-wash things in the sink (socks, undies, t-shirts), and bring only things like sheets, towels, and pants to the laundromat. That could probably save you the cost of a load per week. In the olden days people used wash tubs and wash boards (maybe easier than using a sink?). I’ve also heard of wringer washers you can buy that don’t require electricity. It certainly would make it easier to wring water out of thick items.

  6. Tracey says:

    Get a small in-apartment washer that hooks up to your sink like this one:

    For $200, you can justify the cost in 8 trips.

  7. Megan says:

    I diddo all the ideas of wearing clothes more than once. We will go wearing a pair of jeans until they smell (or get dirty!)…which is easier to do in the winter when you’re not sweating.

    Also hanging dry saves a lot. Look into installing a retractable clothes line on your deck, that would help. Or for indoors just get a drying rack ($10 at Walmart I think), after our laundry day our apt. is filled with things hanging – we hang things wherever they fit (ie my husband’s dress shirts all get hung on hangers then get placed on door knobs, light switches, etc.)

    Some more ideas on my blog (also centered around “greening” your laundry, but also some frugal tips):

  8. ToothCutter says:

    I second Tracey’s comment. Spend some time researching small portable washers (especially the EnergyStar ones). You’ll realize the savings over a few months, or a few weeks if you have infants/toddlers.

  9. crazyliblady says:

    Hi. I second all of the reader’s comments as possible ways to go. However, if you are really looking for something to drastically cut your laundry costs, check out this article about a non-electric washing machine. I have never used one of these things, but I do know people who use similar machines and find them to be quite handy. After washing them in this hand-operated machine, you could hang your clothes up on a drying rack or clothes line or dry them in a dryer.

  10. Gris says:

    How about looking around for other laundrymat that offer a lower price for load. I just recently moved, and was lucky enough to find an laundrymat for .75 cent machine. It saves me a $1 per machine as if i were to use the ones at the apartment complex.

  11. Abby says:

    Another thought is that if you have too many clothes, get rid of some. Not undergarments, but clothes. You don’t need 40 t-shirts, and it will save you time to not have to fold all of them as well.
    I don’t know if you are spending this on 1 person or a family, but I agree about wearing clothes until they are smelly/dirty and not washing things that you only wore for a couple of hours. I wear pj’s at least 3 times before washing them, they don’t get dirty, just stinky, and you take a shower after wearing them anyway, so you really don’t notice it.
    Don’t be wasteful about what you wear. If you wear a business outfit, it probably won’t be dirty, hang it back up and wear it in a couple weeks. It will air out in that time, anyway, and if you are worried about smell, spray on some body spray.

  12. interactivebs says:

    This applies to anyone, but I make my own laundry soap and have for years. It is about 2 cents per load and isn’t perfumy like the store bought stuff.

  13. Nicki says:

    I live in a small apartment with a screened in porch. I do my laundry by hand in the bathtub. I separate the clothes as usual, put soap in tub and fill it up. I let the clothes soak for 30 minutes and sometimes scrub stains if needed. Drain. Soak in clean water 30 minutes and drain. I’ve had problems with my clothes not getting clean or soap clumped to them at the mat. They never smell clean and I have allergies to detergents. This way, I know they are rinsed of detergent. I hate the mat for many reasons, but mostly because it takes more than 2 hours to do my laundry there. This way, I can stay home. I take towels an d sheets to dry at the mat and hang most everything on a line I strung with two hooks on my porch. Some also wherever there is space inside my apartment. I used to spend $40 or more on laundry a month. With student loans breathing down my back and repeated issues with detergent allergens, I started doing my laundry this way! I hope this helps.

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