Doing laundry is not a favorite activity for most people, and it’s made worse because washers and dryers are some of the most expensive appliances to operate. Since many of us do laundry weekly, it’s essential to take steps to reduce energy consumption.

Here’s how your washer and dryer compare to two other high-energy users in your home—your refrigerator and dishwasher:

If you’re in the market for a new washer and dryer, new efficient options are available that will save you money over the long term.

But there are ways to save money and energy in the laundry room and reduce the wear and tear on your clothes—some won’t cost you a thing. Here are some things you can do to save in the laundry room

Wash with cold water.

Using warm water instead of hot while doing laundry is advisable to save on energy. This simple switch can reduce energy usage by 50%. For even greater energy savings, opt for cold water. Additionally, using cold water detergents can effectively clean your clothes. If your washing machine calls for it, consider using high-efficiency detergents, which can be easily identified by the “he” symbol on their packaging.

Wash full loads.

To save energy, it’s best to fill up your washer regardless of the load size, as it will use the same amount of energy.

Dry right-sized loads for your machine.

It is recommended to fill your washer to capacity for optimal energy usage, as the amount of energy used will be consistent regardless of the load size.

Air dry when you can

To save energy, it’s best to fill up your washer no matter the load size. The amount of energy used will remain about the same.

Switch loads while the dryer is warm.

Doing this allows you to utilize the residual heat within the dryer for the following cycle.

Use dryer balls.

Using wool or rubber dryer balls can help separate your clothes during drying, allowing more air to circulate and reducing the drying time. Additionally, these balls can minimize static without the need for dryer sheets. As the wool balls absorb moisture, they further reduce the drying time. I personally use these dryer balls at home and have observed a significant decrease in the time it takes for my clothes to dry.

Clean the lint filter on the dryer.

The dryer will run more efficiently and safely. If you use dryer sheets, scrub the filter once a month with a toothbrush to remove film buildup that can reduce air circulation.

Use the high-speed or extended spin cycle in the washer.

To minimize drying time and prevent damage to your clothes due to high heat, removing as much moisture as possible is recommended before putting them in the dryer.

Use lower heat settings in the dryer.

By opting for a longer drying cycle, you can conserve energy and reduce the risk of over-drying your clothes.

Dry towels and heavier kinds of cotton separately from lighter-weight clothes.

You’ll spend less time drying the lighter-weight clothes.

Use a cool-down cycle if your dryer has one.

This process enables garments to complete drying using the residual heat inside the dryer.

Use the moisture sensor option if your dryer has one.

Many new clothes dryers come designed with a moisture sensor that automatically shuts off the machine when clothes dry. This will save energy and reduce wear and tear on your clothes caused by over-drying.

Sign up for time-of-day programs with your utility.

These programs offer lower energy costs at certain times of day—often overnight. If you can plan to do your laundry overnight (or use controls on your machine to schedule washing or drying), you can pay less to do your laundry. Contact your utility for more information.

Use an ENERGY STAR-certified washer and dryer.

Did you know that ENERGY STAR-certified washers consume 25% less energy than traditional models? Similarly, ENERGY STAR-certified dryers use 20% less energy, making them a more efficient choice for your home.

Consider a gas dryer.

Depending on gas and electric rates in your area, a gas dryer could cost less to operate, though it may cost a little more to purchase. Keep in mind a gas dryer does need a dedicated gas line.

Consider a heat pump dryer.

If you’re looking for a more efficient dryer option, heat pump dryers might be worth considering. Although they may have a higher upfront cost, they can save you anywhere from 20% to 60% compared to traditional dryers. This is because they take in ambient air, heat it up, and recirculate it. However, keep in mind that if you do decide to purchase a heat pump dryer, you’ll need to ensure that old dryer vents are properly sealed and that there is adequate drainage.


In conclusion, while laundry may not be the most favored chore and can be energy-intensive, several strategies can be implemented to significantly reduce the energy consumption associated with washing and drying clothes. These range from simple alterations such as washing with cold water, cleaning the lint filter, and using dryer balls, to more substantial changes like investing in ENERGY STAR-certified appliances or considering heat pumps or gas dryers. Additionally, many utilities offer time-of-day programs that may lower laundry costs. With these measures, not only can you help conserve energy and reduce your carbon footprint, but you can also cut down on your utility bills and extend the lifespan of your clothes.

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