What should I look for when buying a clothes washer?
Check the yellow EnergyGuide label.
Use this label to determine the model's energy use, compare the energy use of similar models, and estimate annual operating costs. Learn How to Use the Federal Trade Commission’s EnergyGuide Label and the Difference Between the Energy Guide and ENERGY STAR.
Think carefully about the size.
ENERGY STAR certified models are available in various product widths and drum capacities. Think about where you want to place your clothes washer and whether you typically run small or large loads. ENERGY STAR certified models are also available in stackable, under-the-counter designs, and combination washer-dryer designs which fit in smaller spaces.
Save the most by choosing a model with a high Integrated Modified Energy Factor (IMEF) and a low Integrated Water Factor (IWF).
Integrated Modified Energy Factor (IMEF) is a measure of energy efficiency that considers the energy used by the washer during the cycle and while on standby, the energy used to heat the water, and the energy used to run the dryer. The higher the IMEF, the more energy efficient the clothes washer.
Integrated Water Factor (IWF) is a measure of water efficiency in gallons of water consumed per cubic foot of capacity. The lower the IWF, the more water efficient the clothes washer. Both IMEF and IWF are provided for each model listed in the ENERGY STAR Product Finder.
Consider the benefits of front load.
ENERGY STAR certified front load washers use about 45% less energy and 50% less water than a top load agitator washer. In the past decade or so, top load impeller washers, which have a low-profile cone or disc instead of an agitator, have become popular as a more energy- and water-efficient option compared to traditional top load washers. However, compared to a top load impeller washer, front load washers are still about 25% more energy and water efficient.
In recent years, clothes washer technology has seen dramatic improvements in efficiency and functionality. Selecting an ENERGY STAR certified washer gets you all these premium features and functionality, with the following additional benefits:
• Get a shower of water savings.
New ENERGY STAR certified clothes washers use advanced technology to dramatically reduce water use. Full-sized washers that have earned the ENERGY STAR use 14 gallons of water per load, compared to the 20 gallons used by a standard machine.
• Long live your clothes.
Clothes washers with agitators can be rough on your clothes and put them through extra wear and tear. ENERGY STAR clothes washers have sophisticated wash systems that use a variety of methods to lift and tumble your laundry, lengthening the life of often-washed items. Additionally, because they are so gentle, many models can safely clean silk, wool, and other hand-washables.
• Take time out.
Without a bulky agitator, there is more usable space in the washer for laundry — especially larger items like comforters. More capacity means fewer loads of laundry each week. What will you do with your extra time?
• Save the environment.
About 60% percent of U.S. electricity is generated by burning coal and natural gas, which releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and contributes to climate change. ENERGY STAR certified clothes washers use less energy and help us reduce our impact on the environment. By reducing water consumption, they also put less strain on limited water resources. Learn more about other ways to save water with EPA's WaterSense.
ENERGY STAR Most Efficient
Products that are recognized as ENERGY STAR Most Efficient deliver cutting edge energy efficiency along with the latest in technological innovation. They represent the very best for energy savings and environmental protection. Find Most Efficient washers here.
Be sure to look for the ENERGY STAR when shopping for clothes washers
Current Specification Effective Date: February 5, 2018
Only front and top loading clothes washers meeting the ENERGY STAR definitions for residential clothes washer and commercial clothes washer, with capacities greater than 1.6ft3 are eligible to earn the ENERGY STAR certification. Combination all-in-one washer-dryers with air-only drying and laundry centers that meet the ENERGY STAR criteria for clothes washers and clothes dryers are eligible to earn the ENERGY STAR certification.
Clothes Washers Key Product Criteria: ENERGY STAR
- Fill it up. Unlike clothes dryers, clothes washers use about the same amount of energy regardless of the size of the load, so run full loads whenever possible. The size of dryer drums is usually larger than washer drums to allow for the clothes to tumble and hot air to circulate.
- Wash in cold water.
Water heating consumes about 90% of the energy it takes to operate a clothes washer. Unless you're dealing with oily stains, washing in cold water will generally do a good job of cleaning.* Switching your temperature setting from hot to warm can cut energy use in half. Using the cold cycle reduces energy use even more.
- Use a drying rack or hang clothes outside.
Where and when possible, air-drying clothes instead of using a dryer not only saves energy, but also helps them last longer.
- Avoid the sanitary cycle.
This super-hot cycle, available on some models, increases energy use significantly. Only use it when necessary to avoid using extra energy to heat the water.
- Activate the high spin speed option.
If your clothes washer has spin options, choose a high spin speed or the extended spin option when appropriate to reduce the amount of remaining moisture in your clothes after washing. This decreases the amount of time it takes to dry your clothes.
- Leave the door open after use.
Front-loading washers use airtight seals to prevent water from leaking while the machine is in use. When the machine is not in use, this seal can trap moisture in the machine and lead to mold. Leave the door ajar for an hour or two after use to allow moisture to evaporate. Make sure children do not climb into the machine while the door is open.
- Follow the manufacturer's maintenance instructions.
Some manufacturers recommend rinsing the washer each month by running a normal cycle with 1 cup of bleach and wiping down the compartments to help reduce the risk of mold or mildew buildup. Consult the product owner's manual and review other recommendations for regular maintenance.
* Consumers may wish to switch to hot water temporarily when members of their household are sick.