Money & The Economy

Frugal Laundry Tips That Will Save You A Fortune

If you’ve ever suffered the heartbreak of stains or other kinds of annoying laundry issues, you’re going to love this! These laundry hacks will elevate you to laundry genius in no time.


Getting any kind of paint on clothes or other items you care about is awful. Even if latex paint is dried on for a long time — on laundry items, car upholstery or even carpet — here’s the way to remove it: Not paint thinner or mineral spirits. It must be lacquer thinner. (Find it in the paint aisle of your home improvement or craft store.)

Do this in a well-ventilated area: Using a clean white cloth (so you don’t transfer dye or color to make the problem even worse), saturate that paint stain with the lacquer thinner. Allow it to soften for a few minutes and then rub and scrub until it’s gone. Launder as usual, or in the case of carpet, rub and scrub then rinse well.


Acrylic paints can be tricky to remove from your clothes once dry, but here’s a method that will work most of the time. If your shirt is already ruined, you don’t have much to lose by giving this a try:

Soak a clean white cloth with rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol. Now saturate the paint stain. Super-saturate it; get it really wet. Use that cloth to really scrub that stain until it begins to lift. Continue with more rubbing alcohol until the stain has disappeared. Launder as usual.


The only thing I miss about the commercial laundry detergent I used to use (I’ve been making my own for years now) is the scent it left behind. Sure, I know I can buy laundry products like Downy Unstoppables or Arm and Hammer Scent Boosters Clean Sensations, but I save a lot of money making my own laundry scent booster — and I know what’s in it.
Pour 2 cups Epsom salt into a big bowl along with 20 to 30 drops of your favorite essential oil. Hint: 15 drops each of lavender oil and lemon oil makes for a wonderful, clean scent. Stir well to combine. Allow to sit and dry in the open air for an hour or so, then transfer to a clean glass jar and apply the lid. Label clearly.

To Use: Add about 1 tablespoon of laundry scent booster to the washing machine before loading the clothes and or linens. Even with laundry detergent and vinegar rinse, you’ll notice a subtle clean, fresh smell once the laundry dries.


Armpit stains on white T-shirts are caused by the reaction between antiperspirant ingredients and the salts in human sweat. Most antiperspirants contain aluminum compounds to reduce wetness. It is the aluminum that causes the buildup and yellowing on fabrics. The stains don’t appear overnight, but without proper washing of shirts after each wearing, the stains will start to show, and the show will be yellow on white shirts.

In a small jar or bowl, make a mixture of 1 part Blue Dawn dishwashing liquid and 2 parts hydrogen peroxide. Protect your countertop or work area with a thick white towel. Fully saturate the stains with the liquid. Now, sprinkle baking soda over the stain and with an old toothbrush or bristle brush, scrub the areas well. Allow to sit for at least an hour, then launder as usual.


Don’t you hate it when some of that makeup foundation lands on your pristine white top? Not to worry.
If it’s an oil-based foundation, get it with dishwashing liquid. Rub in a few drops, let it sit for at least an hour then launder as usual.
If it’s an oil-free foundation, treat it with shaving cream. Yes! Saturate the stain well, allow to sit for a bit, then launder as usual.


The grass stain on your new white pants or your son’s baseball uniform is more stubborn than a mule. Try this: Mix 1 tablespoon Blue Dawn with 2 tablespoons fresh hydrogen peroxide*. Apply to the stain and follow with a good deal of elbow grease. That should do it! Launder as usual.


I’m talking ballpoint pen ink and ever-permanent marker ink. Hit it with the cheapest hairspray you can get your hands on. Why? Because the cheap stuff is mostly acetone, which will take out ink stains. Or if you happen to have acetone on hand, of course, that will work just as well.


If something must be line-dried, put it in a zippered bag before it goes in the hamper. That’s a pretty clear alert and reminder that item can’t go in the dryer or in some other way will need special treatment. These bags are fairly inexpensive and a great addition to your laundry room.

*: Hydrogen peroxide dissipates with age and exposure to light. It’s good for up to six months once opened, provided it has been stored in a dark place completely out of the light. Make sure it’s fresh for this treatment.

Copyright 2022


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Mary Hunt

Mary invites you to visit her at, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at, "Ask Mary." Tips can be submitted at . This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."

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