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Beat the Heat, Wash in Cold!

It's a new month, Carbon Conscious Consumers, and with it a new challenge: Beat the Heat, Wash in Cold! We here at Center for a New American Dream encourage you to wash at least four out of every five loads of laundry in cold water.

Here are great facts to know:


  • About 90% of the energy used for washing clothes is for heating the water.

  • According to the Rocky Mountain Institute, water heating accounts for approximately 19 percent of total home energy use.

  • According to the US Department of Energy, there are two ways to reduce the amount of energy used for washing clothes—use less water and use cooler water.

  • Push the “cold/cold” button on your washing machine for 80% of the loads you do this month. By doing 4 out of 5 loads in cold water you’ll cut 72 pounds of CO2 emissions this month alone.

  • Keep washing 80% of the loads in cold for a year and you’ll save more than $60 in energy costs for the year ($100 a year if you live in regions with high electricity costs).

Carbon Conscious Consumer

More Energy Saving Laundry Tips


  • Air-dry clothes on clothes lines or drying racks.

  • Wash only full loads, but do not overload your machine. Wash smaller loads only when you have a small-load attachment or variable water levels.

  • Use the correct amount of detergent. Too many bubbles make your machine work harder and use more energy.

  • Use the cool-down cycle to allow the clothes to finish drying with the residual heat in the dryer.

  • Clean the lint filter in the dryer after every load to improve air circulation.

  • If buying a washer, look for the Energy Star label. Energy Star clothes washers clean clothes using half the energy and half the water compared to standard washers. Energy Star models also spin the clothes better, resulting in less drying time.

  • If buying a dryer, look for one with a moisture sensor. (Energy Star does not label clothes dryers because most of them use similar amounts of energy. However, moisture sensors will automatically shut off the machine when your clothes are dry—saving energy and prolonging the life of your clothes.)

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