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Did you know that according to the most recent Environmental Protection Agency data the average American family washes about 300 loads of laundry each year? Reducing laundry costs can help families cut their related energy and water costs as well as detergent and laundry product costs.
If you are in the market for a new washing machine, make sure you get a front-loading model, which uses a third less water, heat energy and detergent than standard top-loading designs. Front loaders are more effective and efficient designs, think about it... they have been working hard at laundromats across the world for decades. These days, major brands (such as the Frigidaire Bosch, LG, GE, KitchenAid and Kenmore) are all making models for the home and not just industrial size front-loaders. Make sure your new machine is certified by the EPA's Energy Star program, which signifies high energy efficiency. According to GE, the average family will save enough on energy bills with the company's Energy Star washer and dryer to pay for the appliances in their entirety in 12 years.
Other ways to reduce energy and water use while doing your laundry: use only cold water to wash, only wash full loads at a time, and line dry instead of using the dryer whenever possible.
Some other great opportunities to save money include using homemade laundry products, rather than buying less eco-friendly choices off the shelves. Front-loading clothes washers are designed to use High Efficiency detergent, which means you can use a lot less per load. (Regular detergent will create too much suds, and prevent proper rinsing.) But beyond detergent, you don't need many of the ancillary products sold for laundry. Here are some low-cost natural alternatives to try:
For stain removal, before washing, try soaking the stain with water mixed with Borax, lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide or white vinegar. To whiten whites, instead of bleach add a half cup of lemon juice to the rinse cycle of a medium load of whites or try a half cup of Borax, while adding just a capful of vinegar in with your detergent can act as a color brightener and keep your brights from getting dull and helps prevent static cling.
Instead of over the counter fabric softeners which can cause allergic reactions in those with sensitive skin, add a quarter cup of baking soda to the wash cycle, And for an easy, fun way to refresh your fabrics in between washes, freshen your clothing with a spray and spritz of vodka diluted with water.
It's not just what you do, but how you do it when it comes to saving money on your laundry. Energy Star Appliances and natural products to remove stains, whiten whites, and freshen up your laundry are simple ways to save you money and time!