The single best thing you can do to improve clothes washer efficiency is to replace an old inefficient machine with a new high efficiency washer. Traditional clothes washers use approximately 41 gallons per load (gpl) while high efficiency machine use only 23 gpl (Mayer, et. al. 2001).
High efficiency clothes washers are now offered by almost all the leading manufacturers and should be available wherever clothes washers are sold. For a list of stores in your area, try the ENERGY STAR store locator. All you need is a zip code!
No matter what kind of clothes washer you have, here are some basic tips that can reduce water use for clothes washing:
- Operate the washer with full loads only – even if the machine has an adjustable load setting. A full load is the most efficient way to wash clothes.
- If your washer has a variable water volume setting, select the minimum amount required per load.
- Pretreat stains to avoid rewashing.
- Use the shortest wash cycle for lightly soiled loads.
- Check your clothes washer hoses regularly for cracks that could result in leaks.
- Washing in cold water saves energy and lowers your energy utility bills but does not save water.
- Use less detergent or the appropriate “HE” clothes washing detergent, if directed by the manufacturer.
Vickers, Amy. 2001. Handbook of Water Use and Conservation. Water Plow Press, Amherst, Massachusetts.