How much does it cost to do one load of laundry? I calculated the cost of doing laundry before we got into cloth diapers, and one load of laundry came to just under $1. I found it empowering to know how much money each wash and dry cycle was taking out of our wallets, so I wanted to share my process. Or, go straight to our quick tips to save money on laundry.
Here’s how to calculate the cost to do laundry.
Step 1. Estimate how many loads of laundry you do each week.
Step 2. Look up your last purchase of laundry detergent. Divide the cost by the number of loads you get out of each container. (If you use half the recommended soap, double the number of loads you get.)
Step 3. Calculate your electricity and water costs, plugging in your answers in Step 1 and Step 2, using Mr. Electricity’s awesome laundry calculator. You may need to pull out a recent utility bill to see how much your utility charges your for gas or electricity.
One thing I love about Mr. Electricity’s laundry cost calculator is that you can change one factor – for example, the percentage of loads you run on HOT – and see how it effects your per load cost. His calculator takes into account every laundry-related cost I can think of!
My cost to do laundry is $.89 per load.
I was surprised that the dry cycle ($.51) costs more than the wash cycle ($.38)! Especially because about half our loads we wash with hot water (the cloth diaper loads). If we switched to all cold water washes, and used a clothesline to dry our clothes, the total cost of doing a load of laundry would drop to $.23 per load!!! Wow, what a savings.
Making these two changes would reduce our annual bill from $277 to $73 – a net savings of $204. YOWZA!
Of course, in the winter we would move the clothesline drying operation inside, and we would probably use the dryer for some heavy items, like jeans, that take a long time to hang dry. So the total yearly savings would be slightly less. But saving $204 a year is motivating – that’s almost an extra month’s contribution to our daughter’s 529 college savings plan.