Save Water and Save Energy when Washing Clothes and Dishes
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Save Water and Save Energy when Washing Clothes and Dishes

There are several ways to save water and energy while washing laundry and washing dishes.

There are several ways to save both water and energy when washing laundry or dishes.

Regular Laundry

  • Do a few large loads instead of several smaller loads.
  • Wash most laundry in cold water.  Many items labeled warm wash can still be done in cold (the reverse, however, is not true-- items labeled cold wash may be damaged or may shrink in warm water).

Hand-wash Laundry

  • Save pieces until there are several that need washed.
  • Wash items in the soapy water first, then set aside to be rinsed after all items are washed.
  • Rinse smaller items together, so that the tub or sink will have to be refilled less times with clean water.

All Laundry

  • Re-wear items like pants, skirts, sweatshirts (only if over a t-shirt), and sweaters (only if over another shirt) once before washing.  If the item is obviously soiled, however, do not re-wear.  Keep track of what has been worn once by designating a drawer or marking the hangers with ribbons or twist-ties.
  • Use bath towels for a few days up to a week before washing.  Generally, a new towel is not needed every day unless the towels are visibly soiled.
  • Line dry as many items as possible, when the weather allows.
  • Dry items on a clothes drying rack, if room, when it is not possible to dry them on a clothes line outside.


  • If purchasing a dishwasher, look for one marked with the Energy Star, or look for reviews that rate how much water and energy is used by the models available.
  • If there is a water saver or energy saver setting, use it as much as possible.
  • When pre-rinsing dishes, try to do several at once, as this cuts down on the water used for pre-rinsing.
  • If dishes do not need pre-rinsed, avoiding pre-rinsing will save even more water.
  • Only wash full loads.

Hand-washing Dishes

  • Avoid washing only a few dishes at a time.
  • In a double sided sink, or one large sink with two tubs, fill one side with soapy water and the other with clear rinse water. The rinse water may need replaced part-way through the load, but there will still be less water used than merely running the soapy dishes under running water.

All Dishes

  • Let air dry when possible, so as not to dirty any towels while drying.
  • Large pieces like pans can be placed on the stove top to dry when the stove top is not in use.  Do not place any plastic items on the stove top to dry, as these may melt.
  • When the dish strainer needs cleaned, wash before the dishes.  It can air dry while holding dishes to air dry.

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