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Earth Month Tip: Wash your clothes in cold water

2014 April 30

Washing your clothes in cold water is an easy way to save energy and prevent carbon pollution. 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 as much as $40 annually.

Much like running the dishwasher with only a full load [link to dishwasher post], washing clothing in full loads can save more than 3,400 gallons of water each year!

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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3 Responses leave one →
  1. Electra27 permalink
    April 30, 2014

    Also change the lint filter frequently to get a better drying cycle.

  2. daysoftheyear permalink
    May 3, 2014

    EPA’s Home Energy Yardstick provides a simple assessment of your home’s annual energy use compared to similar homes

  3. Anonymous permalink
    May 13, 2014

    Agreed, but what about energy used in the dryer when using cold water only vs. warm water as rinse step.

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