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5 Ways to Use Less Energy When Washing Clothes

5 Ways to Use Less Energy When Washing Clothes

OK, you've taken the first step toward energy-efficient laundering by purchasing an Energy Star washer. Here are five tips that can help your clothes washer use even less energy, courtesy of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star program.

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1. Always use high efficiency (HE) detergent. Front-loading clothes washers are designed to use HE detergent. Using regular detergent creates too many suds, which will affect the machine’s washing and rinsing performance, and could mean extra rinse cycles. Plus, over time, the wrong detergent can lead to odors and mechanical problems.

2. Fill it up. Clothes washers use about the same amount of energy regardless of the size of the load, so run full loads whenever possible.

3. Wash in cold water. Water heating consumes about 90 percent of the energy it takes to operate a clothes washer. Unless you’re dealing with oily stains, washing in cold water will generally do a good job of cleaning. Switching your temperature setting from hot to warm can cut energy use in half. Using the cold cycle reduces energy use even more.

4. Use a drying rack or hang clothes outside. Where and when possible, air-drying clothes instead of using a dryer not only saves energy, but also helps them last longer.

5. Avoid the sanitary cycle. This super-hot cycle, available on some models, significantly increases energy use. Only use it if absolutely necessary.

6. Activate the high spin speed option. If your clothes washer has spin options, choose a high spin speed or the extended spin option to reduce the amount of remaining moisture in your clothes after washing. This decreases the amount of time it takes to dry your clothes. Less water = less drying time. Less drying time = less energy use.

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