Laundry Room

Use these handy tricks to get clean clothes without harming your family.

By Leah Zerbe

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Energy Star WasherEnergy Star Washer

When the time comes to shop for a new washing machine, make sure it's Energy Star certified to save on your electric bill for years down the road. Look for washers that allow you to adjust water levels based on load size and those that have fast spin-cycle speeds (faster spins get more water out of your clothes, which means less time and energy in the dryer).

Energy Star doesn't rate dryers because all the models out there use roughly the same amount of energy. But you can find models that use less electricity. For example, look for models with "moisture sensors" that automatically shut off when your clothes are dry. A Whirlpool spokeswoman says pairing one of its high-efficiency dryers with an Energy Star washing machine can reel in $3,300 in energy savings over the life of the products.

No matter what washing machine you use, be sure to wash full loads in cold water to save up to 3,400 gallons of water annually and reduce energy use required to heat up the water.

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