The Natural Resource Council says the typical electric clothes dryer can consume as much energy as the total used by the refrigerator, washing machine and dishwasher combined. There are ways to save energy and cut costs on power bills through appliances in the home.
The best way to save on energy use when doing laundry is:
- Wash all loads in cold water unless they are extremely dirty. Just changing a hot setting to warm can reduce energy use by 50 percent.
- Wash only when there is enough laundry to fill the machine. Change the water-level setting when it is necessary to wash a less than full load.
- Add washing soda or detergent strengthener to increase cleaning power.
- Use less sudsing, quick-dispersing, high-efficiency detergent in high-efficiency top-loading and front-loading washers.
- Spot stains and dirt with stain removers before putting in the washing machine so they get clean with one washing and save on water use too.
- Use the highest spin speed cycle.
- Fill the dryer only two-thirds full and run the dryer on low temperature.
- Use the cool-down cycle that dries clothes with remaining dryer heat.
- Light weight clothes should be dried separately from heavy ones and towels.
- Clean the dryer lint screen after every use.
- Using a long nozzle attachment on the vacuum cleaner, vacuum lint beneath the lint screen in the dryer.
- Hang clothes, especially large items like sheets and blankets, outdoors to dry if the neighborhood allows it and there are not lots of birds and sappy trees nearby.
- Buy an old fashioned wooden folding laundry dryer rack and let clothes dry naturally on it in the house.
- Hang shirts, tops, skirts and pants on hangers to dry on a rack. It can minimize wrinkles and clothes last longer than with dryer use.
- Consider replacing an electric dryer with a gas one if possible. A new gas dryer does cost more initially but can save as much as $1,500 in energy costs over its lifetime.
- Buy only a clothes washer and dryer with an ENERGY STAR® label. The washer will use 35 percent less water, and both the washer and dryer will use 20 percent less energy than standard appliances.
- Choose a dryer with a moisture sensor that will turn the machine off when the clothes are dry.
- October is the month to be looking for new ones when appliance prices are often lowest. Read the government guide on choosing energy saving appliances. Read the 2015 Energy Star list of most efficient washers larger than 2.5 cubic feet. Read Consumer Reports ratings for switching to a more efficient washer.