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Save Water with an Eco-Friendly Laundry Routine

March 5, 2024

Save Water with an Eco-Friendly Laundry Routine


Water is one of our most precious natural resources. As demands on freshwater supplies increase, it is more important than ever to be mindful of our water usage. An average laundry load can use up to 40 gallons of water. With some simple changes, we can dramatically reduce the amount of water our laundry routines require. In this article, I will provide tips for developing a more eco-friendly laundry routine that saves water.

Evaluate Washing Machine Efficiency

The first step is to understand the water usage of your washing machine. Front-loading washing machines are generally more water-efficient than top-loading models. When shopping for a new washing machine, look for models with a WaterSense label from the EPA. This indicates the appliance meets criteria for water efficiency.

Also pay attention to the machine’s load capacity and settings. Running smaller loads wastes water. Try to run full loads whenever possible. Washing machines may also have settings for different load sizes – make sure to choose the right one. Some machines have specific efficiency or water-saving cycles. Use these settings to save more water.

Wash in Cold Water

Heating water accounts for 90% of the energy used for washing clothes. Unless you have oily stains or very soiled items, cold water can clean just as effectively as warm or hot water. Make the switch to washing with cold water to save water and energy.

Pre-treat any tough stains beforehand. When using cold water, it helps to use detergents formulated for cold water washing. These contain enzymes that help break down soils in lower temperatures. With the right detergent, you can get clean clothes with cold water.

Reuse Wash Water

Here is an easy way to reuse wash water and get double usage from each load. First, run a load as normal. When finished, transfer the load to the dryer. Set the washing machine to do a rinse cycle. The rinse water can be used for the next load!

This technique works best with newer washing machines that use less water. The rinse water should not be overly dirty. Also, avoid reusing wash water if linens or undergarments were washed, for hygiene. With some planning, this can greatly reduce water usage.

Use Shorter Wash Cycles

Many washing machines default to longer cycle times than needed. The extra washing and rinsing uses more water. evaluate the shortest cycle that still cleans your laundry effectively. For lightly soiled loads, the shortest cycle is usually sufficient.

Also consider using accelerated wash settings, which use sensing technology and added mechanical action to clean efficiently in less time. These settings can finish loads quicker while using less water.

Load Size Matters

Only run full loads of laundry to maximize efficiency. Some washing machines have an automatic load sensing feature. This tailors the water level to the size of the load.

For machines without this feature, be diligent about only washing full drum loads. Split your laundry into smaller loads to avoid the waste of washing partial loads. This ensures you get the maximum usage from every gallon of water.

Be Strategic About Rinsing

Pre-rinsing laundry by hand is not necessary in most cases. Washing machines are designed to thoroughly soak and wash clothes without pre-rinsing. Unless you are dealing with a heavily stained or muddy load, you can skip hand rinsing.

If stains are a concern, try pretreating spots and stains rather than rinsing the whole load. You can also skip the rinse cycle occasionally when washing lightly soiled loads. Using these strategies minimizes unnecessary water usage.


With some adjustments to laundry habits and upgrading to more efficient appliances, I have significantly reduced my water usage. Simple changes like washing in cold water, running full loads, and shortening wash cycles have added up to major savings. An eco-friendly laundry routine takes a little extra planning but protects this vital resource. I encourage you to evaluate your current laundry practices and find ways to reduce your water footprint!

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