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Two practices can reduce the amount of energy used for washing clothes: using less water and using cooler water. Unless you’re dealing with oily stains, the warm or cold water setting on your machine will generally do a good job of cleaning your clothes. In addition to saving wear and tear on your clothes, switching your temperature setting from hot to warm can cut a load’s energy use in half.
• Wash your clothes in cold water using cold-water detergents whenever possible.
• Wash and dry full loads. If you are washing a small load, use the appropriate water-level setting.
• Dry towels and heavier cottons in a separate load from lighter-weight clothes.
• Don’t over-dry your clothes. If your machine has a moisture sensor, use it.
• Clean the lint screen in the dryer after every load to improve air circulation and prevent fire hazards.
• Periodically, use the long nozzle tip on your vacuum cleaner to remove the lint that collects beneath the screen in the lint screen slot of your clothes dryer.
• Use the cool-down cycle to allow clothes to finish drying with the heat remaining in the dryer.
• Periodically inspect your dryer vent to ensure that its vents, intakes and hoses are not blocked. This will save energy and may prevent a fire. Manufacturers recommend using rigid venting material—not plastic vents that may collapse and cause blockages.
• Consider air-drying clothes on clotheslines or drying racks. Air-drying is recommended by clothing manufacturers for some fabrics.
Long-term Savings Tips
Look for the Energy Star and EnergyGuide labels on new appliances. Energy Star clothes washers clean clothes using 35 percent less water and 20 percent less energy than standard washers.
Energy Star does not label clothes dryers because most of them use similar amounts of energy.
When shopping for a new clothes dryer, look for one with a moisture sensor that automatically shuts off the machine when your clothes are dry. Not only will this save energy, but it also will save the wear and tear on your clothes caused by over-drying.