Dryer · Energy Efficiency · Energy Star · laundry · Washer

The Great Minnesota Appliance Sale

While we might not be “at” the Fair — as far as having a booth or being in the Grandstand — Warners’ Stellian annual State Fair appliance sale, Savings on a Stick, is a big one for us.

Not only do the Warners have a storied history with the Minnesota State Fair, but we also have some of our best deals (through Labor Day).

Because I’m a notorious spiller (and when are stains more apropos than during fair time?), I’m going to play favorites and talk laundry.

You can replace your washer and dryer for as little as $699 (which includes delivery, re-installation and recycling of your old units in the Twin Cities metro) with this Amana laundry pair.

But the smartest move is to upgrade to a front load washer and dryer — which tend to offer more capacity while using less water and energy. Energy Star washers can make up for the cost of the dryer in energy savings over their estimated lifetime. Plus, this Frigidaire washer and dryer pair is $300 off right now.

My personal favorite laundry feature, though, is steam. You can get the cleaning power in you washer (plus some more capacity) and the refreshing capabilities in your dryer for a few hundred more, starting with this Frigidaire steam washer and steam dryer.

If you happened to see us at the Eco Experience building in the Common Cottage exhibit on Sunday, you probably were lucky enough to score a $50 off coupon. In fact, there might still be some left if you hurry…

Cleaning · Dishwashers · Energy Efficiency · Washer · Water Treatment

Hard water wastes your energy and your detergent

If you’re not ecstatic about the performance of your dishwasher and/or washer, don’t immediately blame your machine. There could be something in the water.

Using a water softener can cut detergent use in washers and dishwashers by more than half and lower washing machine temperatures from hot to cold, as shown by two  independent studies released in the last two years.

Less detergent and cold water achieved the same stain removal in washing machines using softened water as double the detergent and hot water in hard water. And dishwashers using softened water needed less than half the detergent if used in areas having very hard water (Minnesota is among areas with the hardest water), while achieving the same results.

Plus, the study showed that untreated hard water can cause significant efficiency losses and added costs in water heating – up to 48% in some cases. In addition, hard water was found to rapidly lead to clogged showerheads, in some cases possibly as soon as a year and a half.

(After just one week of constant testing with hard water, more than three-fourths of showerhead nozzles became clogged, according to laboratory results. Showerheads using softened
water, meanwhile, performed nearly as well as on the day they were installed.)

All these factoids beg the question, at least for me: Do I have hard water? Is that why I have to wash my dishes after my dishwasher does?

Well, don’t look at me. I have no idea how to spot hard water. But our local guys, Water Doctors, can diagnose your water and if necessary, customize a water treatment system for your home.

Appliance Design · Washer

Front load washer capacity means you can take a load off – literally

If you’re deciding between a top load or front load washing machine, consider capacity and the value of your own time.

What used to take me four loads in my 15 (or so) year old top load washer now only takes me about two loads in my front load Electrolux washer.

The capacity — and lack of agitator — in a front load washing machine really makes that much of a difference.

Plus, a standard clothes washer can’t handle a king- or queen-sized comforter like my front loading washer can.

Just a thought I had today when I realized how little I think of having to do the laundry these days since I replaced my top load washing machine. Because I have to do the laundry much less.

Now, what to do with all this free time? 🙂

Design · Dryer · laundry · Washer

Laundry room ideas that do double duty

Because it’s the sole unfinished room in my house, my laundry room is my project in waiting.

I love browsing laundry room designs for inspiration, and my favorites incorporate multiple purposes into an otherwise underused space.

Now that washers and dryers are less noisy, people don’t mind setting up a gift-wrapping station into laundry room shelves. You might see a craft or scrapbooking station among laundry room cabinets and decor. Some people are even including laundry into mudrooms and bathrooms. I say it’s smart!

Check out these laundry room photos I grabbed (mostly from houzz.com) exemplifying some multipurpose room ideas.

Laundry Room traditional laundry room
Not only is a laundry room counter a great place to fold clothes, but it’s also ideal for wrapping presents.
Willowgrove Laundry Room contemporary laundry room
I’m a sucker for black and white, so I love this mudroom/laundry room. So clean.
Case Design/Remodeling, Inc. eclectic laundry room
Tuck a small office space next to your laundry to kill two to-do list birds with one stone. I especially like that the office chair can fold up easily.
Master bath / laundry eclectic laundry room
Why devote an entire space to doing laundry when most front-loading washer and dryers stack easily to hide in a bathroom cabinet?
No 2 contemporary laundry room
Another laundry room with a gift-wrapping station, but a bit brighter this time. I love the hexagon tile on the floor 🙂
inspiration contemporary laundry room
Another bathroom/laundry room, but a countertop acts as a supplies shelf and folding station this time.
woodlawn residence traditional laundry room
Clean your pets while you clean your clothes!
Modern Laundry Room by Normandy Builders modern laundry room
I believe that the washer and dryer are tucked in these cabinets? It also includes a gift-wrapping station and gardening center.

Haven’t you always wanted a corner office?

Center Street Mudroom traditional entry
Mudroom with peak-a-boo stacked laundry.

This laundry room, while less chic, makes space for everything in cute, colorful containers and includes a counter space for folding, wrapping and crafting.

Cleaning · FAQ · HOW TO · Washer

Washing machine smells? Stop shutting the door

Eww, your washing machine is stinky.

If you’re suffering from clothes washer odor, the solution could be as simple as leaving the front door open.

Front load washers clean better, use less water and energy and treat clothes more gently, but they’ve earned a smelly reputation. A frontload washer necessitates an airtight seal on the washer door to prevent water from leaking all over your floor. But the lack of airflow breeds that mildew-y odor in a washing machine.

Simple solution? Leave the door open after wash cycles, and teach your family to do the same. Then,  water remaining in a front loading washer following a cycle can dry out and you’ll go back to having the best washer ever.

To eliminate existing washing machine smells, try cleaning the washing machine with Affresh or run a vinegar cycle on the hottest setting.

Dryer · Energy Efficiency · Energy Star · Microwave · Ranges · Refrigerator · Sustainability · Washer

6 tips to reduce your energy use and energy bill

The biggest step toward making your house energy efficient is choosing Energy Star appliances. Energy Star appliances offer 10-50% energy savings compared to standard, new appliances.

So, I’m not even talking how much energy savings you’ll get from unplugging your decade-or-so old refrigerators, washers, freezers and dishwashers.

But just because Energy Star only rates those four appliance categories, doesn’t mean you can’t be energy efficient on your stove and dryer, for instance.

Here are six ways to further reduce your energy bill by staying mindful of ways you can save on home energy use.

1. Stop rinsing your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, which  wastes up to 20 gallons of water. Energy Star dishwashers use only 4 gallons of water on average.

2. Water heating consumes about 90% of the energy it takes to operate a clothes washer. Switching your temperature setting from hot to warm can cut energy use in half. Using the cold cycle reduces energy use even more.

3. Use the moisture sensor option on your dryer, which automatically shuts off the machine when clothes are dry, saving energy and reducing wear and tear on your clothes caused by over-drying.

4. Choose the right-sized pot on stove burners and keep it covered to cook more efficiently and keep your kitchen cooler.

5. Move your refrigerator away from the stove, dishwasher, or heat vents. Make sure the door seals are airtight. Also, keep your refrigerator and freezer stocked to hold temperature better and operate more efficiently.

6. Microwaves only use about half as much electricity as regular ovens, so using them is already a smart alternative. But you can save even more energy if you defrost food in the refrigerator instead of the microwave and cook food in its serving dish save the cost of the water used to do twice as many dishes.

Cleaning · HOW TO · laundry · Washer

Stain removal suggestions from regular people

Welcome to my life.

For those of us who end up wearing 10% of what we eat, stain removal is a constant battle.

Washing machines themselves are getting better at removing stains from clothing without any kind of pretreating or spot removal.

But for tougher jobs like grass stains, you might need to some additional help.

Tide Stain Brain collects real people’s successful stain removal tricks and displays them by stain type. So if you need to figure out how to get rid of wine stains, click on the wine button and you’ll find out that white wine actually removes a red wine stain, according to several submissions. Or learn that hydrogen peroxide is the best stain remover for blood.

If you have a smartphone, you can download a mobile app, which could be real handy when I spill coffee all over myself while walking into work (happens at least twice a week).

You can comment on specific submission or add your own. It reminds me of my second favorite website (after www.warnersstellian.com, of course) AllRecipes.