Almost 25 percent of your household water use goes toward cleaning your laundry. If you assume that washer operation represents a fixed household cost you can't reduce, you're shortchanging yourself in terms of your water bill. Saving water in the laundry room doesn't require time-consuming, cleanliness-compromising procedures. With a few adjustments in how you wash, you can boost your conservation level and reduce the gallons you devote to clean clothes and tidy towels.
When it's time to replace your current washer, look for laundry equipment with a capacity that matches the composition of your household. Jumbo load capabilities make perfect sense when you need to keep up with a large, growing or extended family. On your own or in a twosome, you probably generate less wash and require less capacity. If you do want to clean large, bulky items such as king-sized comforters, however, look for a washer that accommodates the full range of your laundry.
Top-loading agitator washers use up to 40 gallons of water each time you start them. Even high-efficiency washers use more water to clean two small loads than to launder one big batch. You can conserve water and save time if you limit the number of less-than-full tubs of clothes, "saving" your dirty laundry for a comprehensive wash load and pretreating items that benefit from soil reduction. If your washer controls include settings that reflect the size of your load, adjust them carefully to match the amount of laundry in each batch you wash. Some washers include load sensors that adjust water usage automatically.
Sorting your laundry enables you to create efficient loads and set your washer controls to match soil level and fabric type. A heavy-duty clean cycle for thicker or sturdier fabrics wastes water if you use it to clean lightly soiled items made from lighter-weight cloth and subjects your wash to more cleaning action than it needs. If your washer includes a built-in touchscreen to access settings, controls and advice, take advantage of its recommendations to select the best options for your laundry, its care requirements and the types of soil you need to remove.
ENERGY STAR Qualification
If you're hanging on to a 20th-century washer, consider upgrading to a new and more-efficient model that uses less water and electricity to achieve better results. Look for the ENERGY STAR® qualification to choose a washer with highly efficient operation that uses as little water as possible to achieve great results. ENERGY STAR models skip the tub-filling cleaning mode in favor of advanced laundry "gymnastics" that move your laundry through a spray of water that reaches every crevice. The same water-saving tactics apply to rinse cycles.
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