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save loads on loads

Laundry drains time and money, whether it's done at home or at a laundromat. According to The Simple Dollar, the cost per load at a laundromat is more than $3, while the cost per load at home is 97 cents (not counting equipment costs). These tallies include travel (to a laundromat), energy (to run the washer and dryer), and water (in a home setting) but exclude the cost of laundry detergent and fabric softener. These necessary ingredients up the ante. Tide Original costs $14 at Amazon for 50 fluid ounces, which theoretically lasts through 32 loads of laundry and adds 28 cents to the cost of each wash. For 240 sheets of Bounce, Amazon charges $12, or 5 cents per sheet/load.

The grand total for each load of laundry: $3.45 at a laundromat and $1.30 at home. Multiply that by the number of loads you do each week, and, well, it's a lot of quarters. There are ways to wring out excess costs.
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know the scoop on detergent

Study the scoop, or the cap if using a liquid. The lines on the side indicate the amount suggested for loads of different sizes. Experts say the full recommendation is not necessary to get clothes clean. A fraction of the suggested amounts, and certainly no more than half a scoop for a full load, will get the job done. Using too much detergent stresses clothes and the washing machine, in addition to wasting money.

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buy detergent in bulk

Save money on laundry detergent with store brands and bulk sizes. Check out a warehouse club such as Costco or Sam's Club for lower prices on brand names -- and even more savings with club store brands.

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avoid small loads

Washing machines use almost the same amount of energy for small loads as for large ones, so don't waste money and energy (yours and nature's) on a less-than-full load.

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avoid loads that are too large

At the same time, take care not to overload the washing machine. Running a washer that's too full taxes the machine and makes it work less efficiently.

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always use cold water

Washing machines use much more electricity to heat the water, and washing with cold water cleans just as well. Plus, hot water is hard on clothes, causing them to show wear faster.

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choose the right wash cycle

Cut costs by using the gentlest cycle possible -- even for a full load -- without sacrificing performance. For instance, don't choose a "heavy duty" cycle if "normal" will do. Choose the high spin setting to remove much of the moisture from washables and cut down on drying time.

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line dry when possible

The cheapest way to dry a load is to hang everything on a line. This isn't practical in a small home, or when the weather is cold and stormy. But if this is a feasible option, add half a cup of white vinegar to the washing machine so items dry softer.

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invest in dryer balls

When opting for a dryer, cut costs by using dryer balls instead of fabric softener. Sure, dryer sheets are fairly cheap, but reusable dryer balls start at a little more than $7 for a set of four on Amazon. They can be used for more than a year to soften clothes and decrease drying time -- without harmful chemicals and lint buildup in dryer vents and lint traps.

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clean the lint trap

Be sure to keep the dryer free of lint. Clean out the trap, usually found near the door at the front of the dryer, after every load. Also take care to clean the exterior lint filter, found on the back of most dryers, every four to six months for better efficiency.

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don't over-dry clothes

Finally, avoid running the dryer after clothes are done. When they're dry, they're dry -- don't use more energy than necessary.