Doing the Laundry


Did you know the typical American family does nearly 400 loads of laundry per year? Luckily, today’s efficient washers reduce energy use by about 30% and reduce water consumption by over 50% compared to standard washers. 

Whether you have a new efficient model or not, remember these actions so doing the laundry won’t drain your bank account:  

  • Wash Full Loads: A full load takes advantage of the water, detergent and energy used in the process.
  • Wash on Cold: Did you know that about 90% of the energy used for washing clothes is for heating the water? Washing with hot or warm water doubles the load’s energy use. Cold water loads can save the average household more than $30-$40 annually. Best of all, independent studies show cold water cleans just as well, if not better – and will lengthen the life of your clothing!
  • Select Shorter Cycles: Time is money, and choosing the shorter wash cycle will use less energy. 

If you are ready for an upgrade look for an ENERGY STAR rated washer – which can save $550 in operating costs over its lifetime. 

How you operate the dryer can lead to a big energy bill, or big savings.  Here are some easy tips to ensure efficiency: 

  • Use Energy Saving Features: Choosing shorter drying cycles minimizes your dryer’s energy use. A bonus of today’s new models – an automatic shutoff that senses when clothes are dry.
  • Dry Like Items Together: Save on drying time by drying similar fabrics together or doing a couple of loads in quick succession to take advantage of residual heat.
  • Opt to Air Dry: Some dryers have an air dry setting that uses little to no heat. If you do not have this setting, try using a drying rack or string up a line to dry your clothes to avoid using the dryer.  Remember, heat drying can cause shrinkage, generate static electricity, and shorten the life of your clothes – all the more reason to skip the dryer altogether.
  • Clean the Lint Filter: Clean the lint out of your machine filter regularly to help the dryer operate better.   

If you are ready to purchase a new washer and dryer, visit Buying a Dryer or Buying a Washer to learn helpful buying tips.


Learn more from the Environmental Protection Agency and ENERGY STAR