- Wash your clothes in cold water using cold-water detergents whenever possible. Hot water heating accounts for about 90 percent of the energy your machine uses to wash clothes — only 10 percent goes to electricity used by the washer motor. Depending on the clothes and local water quality (hardness), many homeowners can effectively do laundry exclusively with cold water, using cold water laundry detergents. Switching to cold water can save the average household more than $40 annually (with an electric water heater) and more than $30 annually (with a gas water heater).
- Wash and dry full loads. Washing full loads can save you more than 3,400 gallons of water each year.
- If you are washing a small load, use the appropriate water-level setting.
- Doing full loads of laundry in the washer saves both energy and water. Sort and organize your laundry so that you will be doing full loads. Be careful not to overload the washer. Your clothes may not get fully clean and may need to be washed again.
- In your dryer, don't over dry clothes. Besides using more energy than is needed, over drying is hard on fabrics. If your machine has a moisture sensor, use it.
- Dry towels and heavier cottons in a separate load from lighter-weight clothes.
- Clean the dryer's lint filter after every load to improve air circulation and prevent fire hazards.
- Periodically, use the long nozzle tip on your vacuum cleaner to remove the lint that collects below the lint screen in the lint screen slot of your clothes dryer.
- Also remember to inspect your dryer vent to ensure it is not blocked. This will save energy and may prevent a fire. Manufacturers recommend using rigid venting material -- not plastic vents that may collapse and cause blockages.
- Use the cool-down cycle to allow the clothes to finish drying with the heat remaining in the dryer.
- Consider air-drying clothes on clothes lines or drying racks. Air drying is recommended by clothing manufacturers for some fabrics.