Consumer Reports: Money saving kitchen tips

These days, every penny counts and who wants to throw money away? You'd be surprised at how much you can waste in just one room, the kitchen. Consumer Reports revealed where you're throwing money down the drain and what to do about it.

Start with the refrigerator.

Yes, follow your mom's advice and don't stand there with the doors open but also, and less obvious, don't over fill it.

"Cold air needs room to circulate in a fridge. If you over stuff it, it's going to use more energy and cause more wear and tear on the appliance," said Perry Santanachote, Consumer Reports' Home Editor.

And your refrigerator's condenser coils collect dust and other debris that tax the compressor and could lead to a pricey breakdown. To help prevent this, brush out and vacuum the coils every six months.

Next the oven, use it less and cook smaller meals with your toaster oven, microwave or air fryer to shrink your energy bill.

"Avoid using aerosol cooking spray on your nonstick cookware. It can actually build up on the surface and damage it," said Santanachote.

If you use your non-stick skillet for high-temperature cooking, like searing meat, your pan's coating will wear out more quickly and need to be replaced so consider investing in a cast iron pan. Some Consumer Reports Best Buy skillets cost around $25.

At the sink, don't scrub those pots and pans with running water instead soak with soapy water or boil water in it and then wash as normal.

And your dishwasher uses more water and wears out twice as fast if you run it half empty. So fill it up. Also, don't pre-rinse. Your dishwasher's built-in sensors should adjust the wash cycle to get them clean.

And to avoid spoiling keep milk out of the fridge door. Consumer Reports said that space is often the warmest part of the refrigerator. Keep long-lasting condiments there instead.

We throw out a quarter of all the groceries we buy so be aware that apples, apricots and pears might be causing your other produce to go bad. These fruits give off a gas called ethylene that causes produce near them to ripen so store them in a separate bin in the fridge.
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