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May 22, 2018  |  Login

Wash your dirty clothes in a cleaner machine

Save water and energy with a high efficiency washing machine and energy-conscious laundry habits

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Washing machines are second only to toilets as the largest water users in the home. A standard washing machine uses a whopping 41 gallons per load. But an Energy Star-approved machine uses up to 50% less water, and can save the average household 7,000 gallons of water a year. That’s good for your pocketbook and the fishes.

High efficiency washers also save tons of energy. Select “Cold” on the dial: new machines clean better using cold water—and less water—so less energy is used to heat water. Energy Star machines use up to 40% less energy than your mother’s old machine. The combined savings can lower energy and water bills by about $50 a year.

Having the right appliance is only part of cleaning up your laundry habits. Wait till you have a full load to start a wash, and think twice if that t-shirt really needs it; washing less is gentler on your clothes, too. If you reduce wash loads by 30%, you’ll save around 1,661 gallons of water per year (based on an average of 15 gallon daily per capita use).

Dryers are not all that efficient, but they’re getting better. Energy Star motors spin clothes faster, removing more water, so clothes dry in less time. A much better solution is to hang your clothes to dry: you’re saving energy and prolonging the life of your clothes at the same time. Using less energy means less air pollution and greenhouse gasses from power plants. Now that’s some fresh-smelling laundry!


Take Action / Next Steps
  • Look up Energy Star-qualified washing machines at, or look for the energy star label when shopping.
 Energy Star
  • Recycle old washing machines. Visit and enter your zip code to find recycling options in your area. Some recyclers may even pay you to take it off your hands. If not, you can probably recycle it for free or for a nominal fee (around $5).
  • High efficiency machines require low-sudsing detergents. Compatible detergents are typically labeled “HE.”


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Did You Know?

Click below for more facts about this tip.


1. US EPA and US Department of Energy. Energy Star Program. [undated] “Save Money, Energy and Water—Choose Energy Star Qualified Clothes Washers.” Available from: [28 November 2007].

2. California Urban Water Conservation Council. Water Saver Home Tour [undated]. “Clothes Washer Water Use.” Available from: [28 November 2007]

3. US EPA and US Department of Energy. Energy Star Program. [undated] “Clothes Washers and Dryers Best Practices and Energy Saving Tips.” Available from: [28 November 2007].

4. US House of Representatives. Committee on Science and Technology Subcommittee on Energy and Environment [3 October 2007]. “Research to Improve Water-Use Efficiency and Conservation: Technologies and Practices.” Available from: [29 November 2007].

5. US EPA. WaterSense Program. [undated] “What Are the Environmental Benefits of Water Efficiency?” Available from: [29 November 2007].

6. EnergySmart Library [undated] “Clothes Washers.” Available from: [28 November 2007].
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