Choose Energy Star, HE Appliances. The efficiency of these machines is amazing! They require about 40 percent less water per load, consume up to 60 percent less energy, and are more effective in removing water during the spin cycle -- so less time in the dryer.
Wash Full Loads. Sort clothes and schedule laundering so you can wash only full loads. It takes almost as much electricity to run a small load as it does a full one, and it is better for the machine to have a full load during the spin cycle so it doesn't fly off balance.
Wash in Cold Water. Every once in a while you may have a load that requires warm water, but tests show that cold water detergents are very effective for cleaning fabric in cold water. Washing just 80% of your laundry in cold water for a year could save you more than $60 in energy costs -- and up to $100 if you live in an area with high electric rates. (Find out how much you could save with our Get Out of Hot Water calculator.)
Follow Directions. Use the amount of laundry detergent that the manufacturer recommends. Using more detergent than necessary actually gets in the way of effective cleansing of the fabrics, which will then require an extra rinse cycle, which uses more energy and water.
Line Dry. You can save on energy costs by line-drying, and even when the sun isn't shining or the weather's too cold, you can use clothing racks indoors in place of a clothes dryer.
Wash Less. Your clothes will last longer. Some clothing belongs in the wash after only one use, but many garments can stand two or even three wearings before they need washing.
Don't Overload or Underload Your Dryer. Dry a full load in your dryer, but don't overload. It uses way too much energy, and it causes excessive wrinkling, which in turn may force you to iron your clothes, using even more energy.
Don't Over Dry. Set the timer on your dryer for the minimum time needed to dry your clothes. You can always add an extra ten or fifteen minutes at the end, but over-drying wastes energy!
Take out your clothes as soon as the dryer stops. Take out your clothes and fold them or hang them up right away, before wrinkles have time to set it. This will cut out the need for ironing, which saves electricity and your time.
Turn Off the Iron. Go ahead and turn off the iron a few minutes before you finish. The iron takes a while to cool, so you'll be able to complete the last bunch of your clothes with the heat remaining. Also, turn off the iron when your work is interrupted so you don't end up leaving it on for hours.