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Save money by doing laundry the 'right way'

Posted September 24, 2014

Consumer Reports tests laundry detergents

Believe it or not, there is a “right way” to do your laundry, especially if you are hoping to save money.

The average family does 400 loads per year, and the constant use of water, detergent and energy adds up.

Follow this checklist to avoid money-wasting habits:

  • Pay attention to how much detergent you need. Overuse of detergent can add time to rinse cycles. Trace the fill line on detergent tops to make sure it can be seen.
  • Use cold water. As much as 90 percent of the energy spent on a load is used heating the water. In most cases, you won’t notice a difference in how clean clothes get.
  • Wash full loads only. It lessens wear and tear on the washer. When washing a smaller load, adjust the load size. Always use the highest spin setting that fabrics allow.
  • When using a newer dryer, allow the moisture sensor decide when the clothes are dry. Avoid using “timed” and “auto-dry” settings.
  • Fabric softener sheets can gum up the sensors, making the dryer run longer. Wipe them out monthly with rubbing alcohol. Read your owner's manual to find your sensors.
  • Sorting clothes helps them wash more evenly. For example, washing towels together or T-shirts together.
  • Clean out the lint filter. Do it before or after each load. A clean filter means it will take less time to dry clothes.

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  • redeyes2192 Oct 1, 2014

    The detergent I use "Rockin Green" is a big money saver for me. One bag costs $18, but contains 90 loads! It only takes one scoop to leave my clothes smelling fresh. The only time I use 2 scoops is for my extremely stinky workout clothes. The last bag I had lasted me for about 14 weeks!

  • bigredtruckman Sep 26, 2014

    On my dryer (relatively recent LG model) and my old dryer from the late 1990's, the auto-dry setting IS the one that uses the moisture sensor so the fourth bullet here could be confusing to some readers.