If you’ve been washing and drying your clothes with machines that are more than a few years old, you’re probably missing out on significant energy savings. Today’s high-efficiency, energy-saving washing machines and dryers use about a third of the energy of older models. But even if you have older machines, there are still ways to save money by changing the way you use them.
Start by using lower settings rather than switching to hot water because, in most cases, your clothes will get just as clean, especially if you use detergent formulated for cooler temperatures. You can also manage water temperature by setting your hot water heater no higher than 120 degrees. Limit the amount of water your laundry carries to the dryer by choosing the high-speed or extended-spin option to reduce dryer time and energy. And don’t do the wash unless you have a full load, because small loads waste both power and water.
When it’s time to dry, separate clothes by fabrics. Synthetics dry faster and can use shorter cycles. For all laundry, guard against overdrying, which causes items to wear out more quickly. Select lower temperature settings for drying, and save yourself some ironing time by taking clothes out while they are slightly damp, smoothing away any wrinkles by hand, and hanging them to dry completely.
Try these tips and laundry day will be more productive and use a lot less energy. For more energy saving ideas, visit our Green Home, Saving Energy section.