"$uper" frugal living. "$aving" money...one idea at a time.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Laundry Updates PLUS How To: Deodorize your washing machine

It's been two months since I first started seeking out tips to $ave money in the laundry room.  I thought it time I report back.

First, the Homemade Laundry Soap is working out fabulously.  Now, although I have never been a Tide snob, I do have certain expectations for the cleanliness of my laundry and this soap passes the test.  Which is fantastic...because it's $uper cheap and easy to make.  In fact, I'm making my second batch today.

Then, I discovered a way to get rid of static in the dryer by using a tightly wadded ball of aluminum foil.  We tried it for a while (and it worked great at first) but have since abandoned this idea.  As winter set in, and there were no signs of precipitation, things got really dry around here...and our clothes got extremely static-y.  The aluminum balls just weren't cutting it.  Plus, we started noticing some black/grey streaking on the inside of the dryer.  I don't think they were denting in....just leaving marks...and so we said "bye, bye aluminum balls" for now.  Shucks....I hate it when frugal ideas don't pan out. (if you tried this out....leave a comment and tell me how it went for you.)

One last thing to update on.

We've been using vinegar as a natural deodorizer/fabric softener, as a supplement to the Homemade Laundry Soap , for "soiled" loads of laundry (thanks for the tip livingrichwithcoupons).  It totally works.  I highly recommend it.  (Fresh smelling underwears and sheets makes for one happy mama).

Speaking of vinegar and laundry (I swear, do I ever have a chance to think about anything else?), today I wanted to share something new with you.

How To:  Deodorize Your Washing Machine

Have you ever opened up the lid to your washer and almost passed out from the stench.  I used to...all of the time.  Then, one day, I couldn't take it anymore and went about looking for a way to remedy this problem, without spending a lot of $$ on those brand name (expensive) washing machine cleaners you can find at the store.

That's when I came upon some pretty interesting information (at ehow.com).
In 1999, Dr. Charles Gerba, a University of Arizona professor, conducted a study on the cleanliness of Americans' washing machines. After washing a sterile washcloth in 60 homes, he found evidence of fecal matter and E.coli in approximately 25 percent of the machines. Dr. Gerba theorizes that laundry has become less clean due to fewer Americans using bleach and hot water in addition to shorter washing and drying cycles. Deodorizing your washing machine should be a frequent task not only to eliminate odors, but to kill the bacteria and germs left behind when you finish a load of laundry.
Nasty, yes?  Luckily, following were some tips on how to clean out said odors/bacteria....which I got to, right away.

First step: Pick your cleaning agent.....distilled white vinegar or bleach.

To clean interior (rim, lid and dispensers) and exterior of your washing machine:  Soak a cloth in equal parts distilled white vinegar (or bleach) and hot water.  Wipe all surfaces thoroughly. **Don't forget the rubber seal (especially on a front loader)**.  Allow surfaces to dry and resume normal use.

To clean the tub:  Start a normal wash cycle and allow the tub to fill with HOT water.  Once full, add one GALLON of distilled white vinegar (or 2 CUPS bleach) and allow machine to completely run through the cycle (washing, spinning, rinsing, draining).

WALLAH!  Stench free and sparkling!  For under $2.

Other tips/ideas:
*Leave the lid of your washer open in between loads to allow for drying/airing out.
* If you frequently wash in cold or warm water, consider adding at least one HOT water load to your weekly routine to prevent mold and mildew from forming.
*According to ConsumerReports.org, four common culprits cause odors most frequently in washing machines: using too much detergent, using fabric softener, washing clothes in cold water, and infrequent use. Modifying these habits may decrease the need to deodorize your machine as often.

Have a happy, stink free day, y'all!  :)


  1. so it's always white vinegar when it comes to laundry... correct? this is such cool information, thanks!! happy and soon-to-be stink free in Utah!!

  2. I try to run a bleach load once every week or so, with whites of course. That, with leaving the door and detergent drawer open after washes, really eliminated my moldy smell issues. The repair guys recommend the bleach wash too, dumping the bleach in the tub before you start the load, as your bleach dispenser cup may limit the amount going in with a single wash. Now, about this detergent you make, is is good for HE washers? I am intrigued!

  3. Yes, Jeanne...because it is a VERY low suds-ing soap it does very well in HE washers.

    Someone told me that if you don't use an "approved" HE detergent that you could void your warranty. You might want to check on that before you try this.

    If you want to, I am making up a new batch today (okay..possibly tomorrow...I'm way behind), and you can come over and see the magic yourself. :)

  4. Yay, I'm glad to hear that the laundry detergent recipe worked out well for you! I was living vicariously through you. :) I'm definitely going to try it now.

    I love the idea of adding vinegar in. Does it not make the clothes smell like vinegar?

  5. Corinne....no, it does not make the clothes smell. The room smells for a few minutes but the clothes do not. They just smell fresh...and not logged with urine (which is a HUGE feat in our house). :)

  6. I tried using aluminum in the dryer and did not notice any difference - clothes still clingy. I'm still looking for a frugal alternative to dryer sheets. I've heard that over-drying clothes is the main culprit for static cling.

    Cleveland Laundry Care

  7. This is very interesting. I think I will be trying this!

  8. What you can do is take a clean washcloth and blot some liquid fabric softener on it and toss it in with your clothes to be dried. Just keep reusing the cloth or designated clean rag and replenish the rag. You can
    use fabric softener tissues more than once.

    Also if you have a top loader you can take a tennis ball and prop open the lid in the corner and it will give some ventalation. If you have a built in
    additive cup in the corner more the merrier.


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