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Doing laundry can be a drain on your wallet. Here are three easy ways to save energy and money on laundry day, from BobVila.com:


1. Get energy-efficient machines: If your washer and/or dryer is over 10 years old, it’s time to replace it with an ENERGY STAR-certified machine, which uses about 20% less energy than a traditional machine. Additionally, “today’s high-tech heat pump dryers, which recirculate ambient air to maintain dryer temperature, can use 50% less energy than conventional models.”


2. Use cold water. Heating water represents about 90% of the energy consumed by washing machines. While good for removing grease stains, hot water is not required to clean normal dirt and sweat. Using cold water is also better for fabrics and less wrinkle-inducing.


3. Reduce washing frequency. “One key to a greener wash day is to do only full loads, in other words, loads in which the tub is three-quarters full. ENERGY STAR certified washers have a greater tub capacity, so you can clean the same amount of laundry in fewer loads.”


4. Opt for sensor drying: If you have a modern dryer, switch from timed to sensor drying. “Advanced moisture sensors on ENERGY STAR certified machines recognize when laundry is perfectly dry, then shut off automatically.” Also consider selecting lower heat settings and clean the lint filter after every load to improve air circulation and efficiency.


SPRING CLEANING


Don’t use paper towels to clean mirrors


Although paper towels are great for cleaning countertops, their hyper absorbency can soak up glass cleaner rapidly and leave streaks behind. Opt instead for a microfiber cleaning cloth to wipe away the cleaner.


GARDENING


New to gardening and don’t know what to plant? The biggest factor to consider when selecting plants is what your family likes to eat. Here are the top 10 plants recommended by the Old Farmer’s Almanac that are both productive and easy to grow:


1. Tomatoes


2. Zucchini squash


3. Peppers


4. Cabbage


5. Bush beans


6. Lettuce


7. Beets


8. Carrots


9. Chard


10. Radishes


The old Farmer’s Almanac also recommends marigolds to accompany the plants in your garden for color and to keep pests away.