Laundry is a basic chore, but knowing the best way to do it will save water, save energy, and save you money. You can save money and conserve water if you gain a deeper understanding of how laundry really works. It seems so basic, but doing laundry is a complicated science, and one that very few of us understand.

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Here are some best laundry tips to save clothes, water and energy

1: Soak stains immediately. When you get a stain on something, you have to deal with it immediately. If you let it dry, it’s permanent. When spills happen, it is recommended leaving the soiled article of clothing in a bucket full of water with a little detergent added until you have time to treat the stain.

2: Learn how to sort. You thought it was just about whites, darks, and delicates, but your clothes will wind up much cleaner if you separate them not just by color, but also by fabric type and water temperature. Experts recommend that you make five separate piles for colors: whites (entirely white), light colors that include striped whites, darks (blacks, blues, and browns), brights (reds, yellows, and oranges), and delicates. Then separate linty fabrics like towels, flannels, and sweatshirts from corduroys, permanent press, and other smooth fabrics to prevent lint from spreading.

3: Don’t overstuff. You want to wash full loads only so you save on water use and energy consumption, but you don’t want to fill your machine so much that your clothes can’t get clean. You should fill your washer about three-quarters of the way to the top of the drum.

4: Add soap, then stuff. Before you add your clothes, add your detergent, allowing it to dissolve in the water fully before adding your clothes. Your soap will work more effectively and, if you’re using powdered laundry detergent, there’s less of a chance for powdery residue on your favorite black jeans.

5: Add boosters. Washing soda and borax, which boost the performance of detergent; they act as both whiteners and water softeners, and borax is also a deodorizer. You can add them individually or together—about a half-cup each per load. Just make sure they’re powdery. Both can clump, at which point they don’t dissolve well.

6: Clean your machine. If you’re a chronic detergent overdoser, you’ll want to clean out your machine. Too much soap leads to soap scum in your pipes and tubes. Running an empty machine with no laundry, adding a cup of white vinegar to help remove soap residues. If the wasted water and energy make you cringe, run a normal load of clothes and add the vinegar to that. If you don’t regularly add white vinegar to your wash loads, run an empty load about once a month if you do tons of laundry, or once every six months if you’re not a frequent launderer.

7: Vacuum your dryer. You may be conscientious about cleaning out your dryer’s lint filter every time you dry, but lint can build up in your dryer’s hose and in the pipes running to the dryer’s external vent, increasing your dryer’s energy use by up to 30 percent, creating a fire hazard, and preventing moist air from venting outside, which can cause mildew problems. Every six months or so (depending on how much you use your dryer), vacuum out the lint filter with your vacuum’s hose attachment; detach the dryer hose and vacuum lint from the back of the machine and from the pipes where the hose attaches to the wall; and head outside to clear any linty obstructions from your dryer’s external vent.

8: Line-dry. Line-drying your clothes uses zero energy, poses no fire hazards, and can keep your clothes sparkling white—solar energy is a natural stain remover.

Do you have some special process that worked for you? Share with us in comments or on our Facebook page:

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