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5 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Washing Machine

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If you feel like your clothes aren’t coming out of the washing machine quite as sparkling clean as you expect, there are a few adjustments you can make in order to ensure your clothes look (and smell) fresh. Consumer Reports recently listed a few tips for boosting your machine's efficiency, discovered by its washing-machine testers:

1. DON'T STUFF TOO MANY CLOTHES IN.

It’s tempting to shove as much laundry as possible into one machine (especially if you’re at a laundromat or using a shared machine), but it will come back to bite you. If your clothes don’t have enough room to move around in the drum, they won’t get as clean. Refer to your owner's manual for the maximum load weight and stick to it. Exceed it, and the detergent won’t be able to distribute evenly throughout the load, and some stains might be left untouched.

2. PICK THE RIGHT DETERGENT.

If you feel like your clothes are coming out dirty, more detergent probably isn’t the answer. For one thing, clothes need to rub against each other in the wash to get clean, and too many suds can get in the way. Instead of using more detergent, use better detergent, like Tide Plus Bleach Alternative HE Liquid, which The Sweethome found to be the best at removing stains of the 29 detergents they tested. (Consumer Reports has its own list of best detergents.)

3. USE THAT HEAVY-DUTY CYCLE.

While a regular wash setting is good enough for most loads, if you do have muddy clothes, you might want to choose the heavy-duty option. The heavy duty or heavily soiled cycle has a longer cycle and agitates your clothes more quickly to get as many stains out as possible. This rapid agitation rubs your clothes together and gets that water sudsy for a deeper clean, making it ideal for muddy work clothes—but be warned that it could damage more delicate fabrics.

4. PRE-TREAT YOUR STAINS.

To truly fight stains, you should treat them as soon as possible. Stains are chemical reactions between the staining substance and the fabric, so it’s best to stop those reactions as early as you can. A spray-and-wash option is a good start—the review site Your Best Digs recommends OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover—but it’s also important to know whether to pre-soak, rinse, or rub stains. Different stains require different approaches because the molecules of oils, proteins, and dyes all interact with fabric fibers differently, meaning that some require a warm water soak (grease stains) while others should be rinsed in cold water (blood or dirt).

5. USE THE STEAM FEATURE.

While Consumer Reports has previously said that steam settings are a waste of money in terms of wrinkles, its tests have found that they do clean stains slightly better than a regular wash. If you already have a machine with a steam-clean setting, don't let it go to waste.

No matter how aggressive you want to be in washing your clothes, though, make sure to check the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions first.

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Peter P // Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0
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This Gorgeous Town in the Swiss Alps Wants to Pay You $25,000 to Move There
Peter P // Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0
Peter P // Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

If living in a fairy tale-like village in the Swiss Alps is like something out of a dream, then getting paid to do just that might be your fantasy life come true. But that’s exactly what the tiny town of Albinen, Switzerland is proposing. As The Independent reports, the town’s residents are getting set to vote on a proposal that would pay a family of four over $70,000 to commit to spending 10 years living there, as a way to bolster the dwindling population.

New residents will be eligible for grants of approximately $25,000 per adult and $10,000 per child for two kids. There are, of course, a few stipulations: new residents must be under the age of 45 and commit to making the town their permanent residence for at least 10 years. (If they leave before the allotted time frame, they’ll have to pay the money back.) They'll also have to choose to live in a home with a minimum price of $201,000.

Currently, the village is home to about 240 people, but that number is beginning to shrink, as longtime residents have chosen to move away. According to commune president Beat Jost, the recent relocation of three families in particular led to the loss of eight pupils at the local school, which forced its closure. While jobs in the village itself aren't plentiful, Albinen is close to several larger towns. And if you're game to do a bit of traveling, Geneva's only two hours away and Zurich is just about three hours.

The hope is that the promise of some cold hard cash, which could come in handy when it comes to purchasing a home in the town, can help to reverse this trend.

In a newsletter to residents detailing the proposal, the town noted that the program would be “an investment in the village’s future.”

[h/t: The Independent]

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Samsung’s Star Wars Vacuums Offer Everything You Want in a Droid
Samsung
Samsung

Hate housecleaning but love Star Wars? Samsung’s got the solution. In anticipation of December’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the newest film in the Star Wars saga, Samsung has transformed a limited number of its VR7000 POWERbot robot vacuum cleaners into two familiar faces from George Lucas’s legendary space opera: a Stormtrooper and Darth Vader (which comes with Wi-Fi connectivity and a remote control).

In order to create a unique device that would truly thrill Star Wars aficionados, Samsung consulted with fans of the film throughout each stage of the process. The result is a pair of custom-crafted robo-vacuums that fill your home with the sounds of a galaxy far, far away as they clean (when you turn Darth Vader on, for example, you'll hear his iconic breathing).

“We are very pleased to be part of the excitement leading up to the release of The Last Jedi and to be launching our limited edition POWERbot in partnership with Star Wars fans,” B.S. Suh, Samsung’s executive vice president, said in a press statement. “From its industry-leading suction power, slim design, and smart features, to the wonderful character-themed voice feedback and sound effects, we are confident the Star Wars limited edition of the VR7000 will be a big hit.”

Be warned that this kind of power suction doesn’t come cheap: while the Stormtrooper POWERbot will set you back $696, the Darth Vader vacuum retails for $798. Who knew the Dark Side was so sparkling clean?


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