Clothes washers, dryers, and dishwashers save time and our personal energy, but they use natural resource energy to heat the water used to clean our clothes and dishes. In fact, the two biggest energy uses when doing laundry come from heating the water and drying the load.
In the U.S., standards have led efficiency gains in household appliances including washing machines and dishwashers. A new clothes washer in 2017 used 70% less energy than in 1990, and a new dishwasher in 2017 used 40% less energy that in 1990. (DOE)
While the machines in our house have become more efficient, there are still things we can do reduce the energy footprint when we use appliances or wash by hand.
Energy Saving Tips:
Do it efficiently
- Aim for Full Loads: Get the most out of your wash by only running the appropriate size loads of clothes or dishes. If you are going to use energy to run the machine, best to be as efficient as possible and make use of the space.
- Find the Right Temperature: A higher temperature does not always mean cleaner. Because water heating is energy intensive, reducing water temperature can have a dramatic effect. Follow the care instructions on your garment to select the right water temperature. The lowest water temperature, will help preserve your clothes and save energy. Also, turning down your water heater slightly will also help keep energy usage in check.
- Consider Drying Options: Machine drying is energy intensive. When possible, consider line-drying your clothes. If that is not possible, chose a lower temperature drying option. With dishes, skip the heated dry and let them dry naturally.
- Maintain your Machine: Your machine will perform the best if you keep it well maintained. Always clean the dryer's lint screen after each load. Lint build up can increase drying time by limiting air flow.
- Upgrade: Replace old appliances with newer energy efficient models when possible.
Do it Once
- Do it right the first time: As much as possible, try to avoid re-washing the same items again. Re-washes means we use double the energy!
- Reduce the need for ironing: Ironing takes even more energy. Try to avoid clothing wrinkles by removing items from the dryer and hanging immediately after it has shut off.