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5 Tricks to Save $100 in Laundry Costs Every Year

  •     Wash in Cold Water

Washing in cold water will save cash, and still get your clothes clean – particularly when using a good high-efficiency detergent like Tide Coldwater. The Department of Energy estimates that up to 90% of the cost of doing laundry (in an older top-loader) comes not from electricity running the machine, but from fuel to power your water heater.

  •     Dry Clothes on the Line if Possible

It isn’t always convenient, but line-drying clothes can save about $85 a year. That’s the average cost of running a clothes dryer, according to the California Energy Commission. Line-drying also preserves clothing (lint is made up of the fibers beat out of your clothing during machine drying).

  •     Run Full Loads

This might sound obvious, but it pays in the long run to run washing machines and dryers only when they are full. (Same goes for the dishwasher.) Also check the clothes washer settings; try quick cycles to reduce wash times and high-spin modes to reduce the need for drying.

With the clothes dryer, use moisture sensors if available – and don’t forget to remove lint from the filter in between every load to keep the machine running efficiently.

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  •     Upgrade to an Efficient Washing Machine

While we don’t think about it, the average household does about 300 loads of laundry a year, and each of those loads adds to our electricity and water bills. Energy Star clothes washers use half the water and a fraction of the electricity; plus, they typically have a bigger capacity, which helps with doing fewer loads. The average new Energy Star washer costs just $60 to run annually, about 30% less than other models for sale, and far less than old top-loaders, particularly agitators built before 1998. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that U.S. homeowners could save $2.6 billion annually in energy and water costs if it replaced those old clunkers.

While new clothes washers can be costly, among the more affordable are solid choices like the Haier HWF5300AW retailing for around $750.

  •     Try Homemade Laundry Products

Front-loading clothes washers are designed to use High Efficiency detergent, which means a lot less detergent is used up per load. (Regular detergent will create too much suds, and prevent proper rinsing.) But beyond detergent, many of the additional laundry products sold are unnecessary. Here are some low-cost natural alternatives to try: lemon juice or hydrogen peroxide as stain removers, baking soda as fabric softeners, and vinegar as color brightener.

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