Most of us don’t have the time to hand-wash our clothes and hang them up to dry. Washing machines and dryers are essential appliances, but if you’re not careful they can make your energy bill spike! Follow these tips to make sure you’re using your appliances as efficiently as possible.
Tips for the washing machine
- Use cold water when possible. Cold water keeps colors from bleeding and fading, and cold water prevents shrinkage. Some brands make detergent designed for cold water.
- If you have to use hot water, set your water heater to 120 degrees instead of 140. You’ll still save energy even with warm water.
- Wash full loads. Your washing machine uses the same amount of energy no matter how full it is.
- Separate towels and sturdy cottons from lightweight clothes. Different fabrics can require different washing cycles.
- Soak stained clothes before starting the wash cycle. Rub stains directly with soap or detergent so you don’t have to repeat a load of wash if the stain doesn’t come out.
Tips for the dryer
- Use a drying rack for delicates and silks.
- Clean the lint filter after each load. A clean filter will improve circulation and air flow in your dryer. Your clothes will dry faster and use less energy.
- Don’t add wet clothes to a load that is already partially dry. They will just slow down the drying process and make your machine run longer.
- Dry loads back to back when possible so the dryer is already hot. You’ll save the energy it takes to heat up the dryer.
- Don’t over-dry clothes. Check to see if your machine has a moisture sensor so it can detect when clothes are already dry.
Look for the ENERGY STAR logo
If your washing machine or dryer is more than 10 years old, there is a good chance it’s not running as efficiently as it could be. When shopping for a new appliance, look for the ENERGY STAR logo. With an ENERGY STAR appliance, you can save anywhere from 10 to 50 percent more energy than a traditional appliance. Keep in mind, you can also get ENERGY STAR refrigerators, freezers and dishwashers.