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GreenYour Washing machine

Wash a full load of laundry

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Washing full loads of laundry can lower home energy costs and prevent water waste.

How to wash a full load of laundry

  1. Determine the capacity or size of your washing machine. It will likely range from 6 to 18 pounds. Front-loading washers can generally accommodate larger loads than top-loading machines.
  2. Weigh yourself while holding a load of laundry to determine whether or not it is a full load according the your machine’s capacity.
  3. If your laundry load meets the full-load guidelines for your machine, choose the highest water level.
  4. If your load is smaller than a full load, choose the appropriate water level for its size.
  5. If your washing machine has an auto water-level setting, skip the first four steps and choose the auto level option. Your machine will measure the size of your load and choose the most efficient water level to use.

Find it! Washing machines with water-level controls

Most manufacturers now have several washing machines with auto water-level controls, as well as those with manual water-level settings.

Washing full loads of laundry helps you go green because…

  • You’ll use less water and energy per pound of laundry.

On average, washing machines make up 21.7 percent of all household water usage.[1] This amounts to about 13,000 gallons of water per household per year.[2]

Washing machines are most efficient when operated with full loads of laundry. Only 10 to 15 percent of the energy used in washing a load goes toward operating the motor; the rest is used to heat the water.[3] Therefore, if a laundry load isn't washed in cold water, 85 to 90 percent of the energy used goes toward water heating. Because the same amount of energy and water is used whether the machine is full or not, significant amounts of both are wasted if a small load is washed at the full setting. Washing full loads can save the average home 3,400 gallons of water each year.[3]

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