No more mud
Have a problem with tracking mud into the house? To solve it, make a boot scraper by digging a foot-square hole near your door. Fill it with concrete and sink a shovel into it 6 inches deep. When it dries, you will have a permanent boot scraper, with a handle you can hold onto for balance. For added cleaning, place a sturdy scrub brush, upside-down, with bristles up, in the wet cement.
In the wash
If your washing machine is more than 10 years old, it's time to think about getting a new one. today's models not only save water and energy but they're also designed to keep you from making the kind of mistakes that turn your brilliant whites into dull pinks.
The choice is between front-loading and top-loading models. in a top-loading machine, an agitator moves the laundry in water and detergent to get it clean; after the wash cycle, the clothes are spun at a high speed to remove detergent and water. The washer refills, the agitator moves the items through the water to remove remaining detergent, and then they're spun again. A regular wash cycle uses about 45 gallons of water.
Higher-efficiency front loaders are built on a horizontal access and fill to just below the door opening, which reduces the water used to about 25 gallons. Clothes move with a tumbling action through the water, causing less wear and tear on the fabrics and seams. Front loaders can cost more, but the payback in savings is coming more quickly as energy prices climb.
What it will cost: $300 to $1,500, though you can pay more for added speed and cycle combos, larger capacity, and a wider variety of water temperatures and levels. Spend wisely: Don't buy more washer than you need.
Contact Features Editor Tharon A. Giddens at (706) 823-3347 or firstname.lastname@example.org.