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Consumer Reports: Save Money on Laundry



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    The average family does 400 loads of laundry per year. Those costs add up. You're paying for water, detergent and energy, not counting the washer and dryer.

    The first money waster in the laundry room is using too much detergent. Detergents are super-concentrated now. When you use too much, you're not just wasting detergent, it can trigger your washer to use an extra rinse cycle. That makes it take longer to do your laundry and it wastes water. Very often you can't even see the lines in the detergent's cap. If you mark it yourself, you use exactly the amount you need.

    Consumer Reports found that as much as 90 percent of the energy spent on a wash load is for heating the water. Instead choose the cold-water cycle. Your clothes will come clean, and you probably won't see a difference.

    Wash only full loads of laundry. It saves wear and tear on your machine. If you must wash a small load, adjust the load size. And whatever the size of your load, use the highest spin setting your fabrics allow. This reduces the amount of moisture in your clothes. Then your dryer will have less work to do, and save you energy.

    Don't dry your clothes using the timed-dry setting. Choose the "auto-dry" setting on medium and let your dryer's moisture sensor decide when the load is dry. And fabric softener sheets can gum up the sensors in your dryer, making it run longer. Wipe them monthly with rubbing alcohol.

    Another thing that many people forget or don't bother to do is clean out the lint filter on the dryer after every load. That keeps the air circulating and it will take less time to dry your clothes, saving even more money.

    Lastly, you won't get the cleanest clothes if you stuff everything in at once. It's more energy efficient to wash and dry similar items together, like just jeans or just t-shirts, so everything will dry evenly.


    Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports' website.