Wash with cold water whenever possible, as water heating accounts for 90% of the energy used by washing machines. Use cold-water detergent and save the hot-water cycle for special loads such as cloth diapers or stained work clothes. Just switching from hot to warm water can cut energy use in half.
Always use cold water to rinse, since the rinse temperature has no effect on cleaning.
Use a drying rack or clothesline instead of the dryer – even taking clothes out a few minutes early to “finish” on a rack will save.
Plan to wash and dry full loads of laundry to save on energy and water.
Dry consecutive loads to take advantage of already-warm air in the dryer, and don’t add wet clothes to a partially-dried load.
Dry towels and heavy cottons in separate loads from lightweight fabrics.
Use the “air fluff” cycle to reduce the need for ironing — another big energy-user.
Check the dryer’s exhaust vent to ensure the outside hood opens and closes freely. If the “flapper” on the hood stays open, outdoor air can blow into your home through the dryer and increase heating and cooling costs.
Clean the dryer’s lint filter after each load to improve air circulation.
When shopping for a new washer or dryer, select a model with the ENERGY STAR® label. ENERGY STAR certified washers use about one-third the energy and about half the water used by regular washers. ENERGY STAR certified washers remove more water from your clothes during the spin cycle, saving you money on drying as well.
Look for models with the following water and energy-saving features:
Automated moisture sensors (or “auto dry”)
“Suds saver” feature
Water level controls
Load size controls
Spin cycle adjustment
When installing your dryer, vent the exhaust system to the outside of your home. This will prevent moisture from collecting inside the house.