Washing machine and clothes dryer energy guide

There are two ways to reduce the amount of energy used for washing clothes—use less water and use cooler water. Unless you're dealing with oily stains, the warm or cold water setting on your machine will generally do a good job of cleaning your clothes. Switching your temperature setting from hot to warm can cut a load's energy use in half. Wash full loads of laundry. If you are washing a small load, ensure you use the appropriate water-level setting.

Look for the ENERGY STAR® and EnergyGuide labels. ENERGY STAR clothes washers clean clothes using 35% less water and 20% less energy than standard washers.

Modern high-efficiency washing machines can save you hundreds of dollars on your annual electricity bill and thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the washer including water and detergent savings. The table below shows how much you could be saving on electricity by using a more efficient washing machine:


Annual Electricity Use

Annual Operating Cost

Average Water Usage

Standard Top-Loader 580 kWh $250 40 Gallons per Load
High Efficiency Front-Loading Washer 113 kWh $49 10 Gallons per Load

Whe buying a new washing machine, ensure you select a model that uses less than 150 kWh a year.


Clothes Dryers

An electric clothes dryer typically accounts for 5–10% of your annual electricity consumption.

A dryer’s expected lifetime is eighteen years, unfortunately there are few ways to make them more efficient.

However, thanks to our warm sunny climate, clothes lines can save you hundreds of dollars on your annual electricity bill and thousands of dollars over the equivalent lifetime of a clothes dryer.

ENERGY STAR® does not label clothes dryers because there is little difference in energy use among models.

If you must use a clothes dryer instead of a clothes line, take the following steps to reduce its energy consumption:

  • Use the moisture sensor option if available, this automatically shuts off the machine when clothes are dry. Not only will this save energy, but it will also save wear and tear on your clothes caused by over-drying.
  • Clean the lint filter – Cleaning the filter after every load will improve air circulation and increase the efficiency of the dryer. It’s also an important safety measure.
  • Scrub the lint filter once a month if you use dryer sheets as they can leave a film on the filter that reduces air flow and, over time, can affect the performance of the motor.

Information on this webpage has been referenced from the US Department of Energy website.