Laundry – with two teenagers (or two toddlers) the laundry never seems to end. I am grateful that we no longer scrub clothes on river rocks or on a washboard. Washing machines save a lot of time and effort, but washing clothes still takes a lot of energy and water.
EPA’s ENERGY STAR program estimates that the average household does about 400 loads of laundry every year. With a regular top-loading washing machine, that’s about 13,500 gallons of water each year. Switch to an ENERGY STAR qualified front loading washer, and you could cut your water use in half. ENERGY STAR estimates that over the 11-year life of the washer, the water saved by using an ENERGY STAR labeled front loading washer would provide a lifetime of drinking water for six people! That’s a lot of water. ENERGY STAR washers are built with a super duper spin cycle which removes more water from your clothes, making it quicker and easier to dry them. Finally, EPA estimates that an ENERGY STAR front loading washing machine can save about $550 in operating costs over its lifetime, as compared to the regular top loading variety.
Here are a few other tips to get the most from washing your laundry:
- 90 percent of the energy used for washing clothes goes to heating the water (the rest of the energy is used by the motor in the washing machine). Using specialized cold-water detergents, your clothes will get just as clean as using regular warm water detergent.
- Wash full loads of laundry to ensure that your machine is operating at peak efficiency. If you have to do a smaller load, be sure to use the load size selector to use less water.
- Wear your clothes more than once! You’ll have to decide for yourself what needs to be cleaned, but your jeans probably don’t need to be washed after each use. Towels can be used several times before they need washing. The less you wash, the more energy, water, and money you save.
- And if you buy a new washing machine, be sure to look for the ENERGY STAR label to ensure you get an energy and water efficient model.
Stay tuned for more ideas on saving energy, water, and money while doing your laundry. Next up…Clothes dryers.
By: Joan Kelsch