To reduce the amount of energy used for washing clothes:
- Use less water
- Use cooler water
About 75% of the energy used for washing clothes is for heating the water.
- Wash your clothes in cold water using cold-water detergents whenever possible. Hot water is only needed for greasy or heavily soiled items.
- Always rinse in cold water.
- Wash and dry full loads. If you are washing a small load, use the appropriate water-level setting.
- To reduce drying time, choose higher spin speeds if available.
Power fiction & facts
Fiction: Clothes don't get as clean if washed in cold water.
Fact: Laundry detergent manufacturers have developed products formulated specifically to get clothes just as clean when washed in cold water.
- Air-dry clothes on clotheslines outdoors or use drying racks.
- Dry towels and heavier cottons in a separate load from lighter-weight clothes.
- Don't over-dry your clothes. If your machine has a moisture sensor, use it.
- Clean the lint filter in the dryer after every load to improve air circulation.
- Use the cool-down cycle to allow the clothes to finish drying with the residual heat in the dryer.
- Periodically inspect your dryer vent to ensure it is not blocked. This will save energy and may prevent a fire. Manufacturers recommend using rigid venting material. Plastic vents may collapse and cause blockages. Dryer venting dangers
Purchasing new laundry equipment
Look for the ENERGY STAR® label.
- ENERGY STAR clothes washers clean clothes using 40% less energy than standard washers. Most full-sized ENERGY STAR washers use 18 to 25 gallons of water per load, compared to the 40 gallons used by a standard machine.
- ENERGY STAR models also spin the clothes more effectively, resulting in less drying time.
- Consider switching from electric to natural gas when replacing your water heater or clothes dryer.
For more information
Laundry Fact Sheet [164 kB PDF]
Dryer Venting Dangers [71 kB PDF]
The Power of Working Together [428 kB PDF]
Top Ten Energy-Efficient Appliances
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