Washing your clothes is often a mindless task. You put all your dirty clothes in a washing machine, add some detergent, press start and walk off to do something a little more exciting..like vacuuming. Let’s not forget that the weekly washing (more often for some families) comes at a cost but with some extra consideration and knowledge, you can reduce that cost and lower your laundry energy bills.

Energy ratings

Most appliances come with an energy rating, that includes washing machines. They are labels with star ratings on them, explaining how many kilowatt hours (kWh/per year) the appliance needs to run.

Usually the more stars there are on the label, the more energy efficient. That being said, you don’t have to rush to the shops to purchase a washing machine with a five-star rating. Before you make any big decisions, think about your budget, how many people are in your house and how often you use the machine. This will help you understand what is best for you.

Want to calculate your machine’s running costs? Multiply your electricity rate by the washer's kWh per year energy rating. So, as an example, if your electricity rate is 25c and the kWh energy rating is 580, the running cost is $145.00 a year.

Front loaders VS top loaders


Front loader washing machines

  • Usually more energy efficient when washing your clothes in warm water
  • Front loaders use less water
  • Efficiently dry clothes using higher spin speeds
  • Usually quieter than top loaders

Top loader washing machines

  • Usually more energy efficient when washing your clothes in cold water
  • More capacity, allowing you to wash more clothes in one cycle
  • You can open the lid and add more clothes half way through a cycle
  • Top loaders can wash clothes faster, usually within 30 minutes


Front loader washing machines

  • Can cost more upfront
  • Front loaders typically take longer to wash clothes
  • Less capacity, which means you can’t fit as much in a cycle
  • Most models don’t allow you to add more half way through a cycle

Top loader washing machines

  • Usually, top loaders are not as energy efficient when using warm water
  • They can be loud, in comparison to a front loader
  • Top loader washing machines tend to use more water
  • There is a lot of friction during a wash, so top loaders can create a lot of lint

On top of the above considerations, think about how often you use your machine. If there are only 1 or 2 of you in the house you could keep your top loader. If you’re a family of 5 that use your washing machine a few times a week then spending more upfront on a front loader and saving in the long run could be a better option for you.

What about clothes dryers

We all love putting on a warm jumper straight out of the dryer, however this luxury can be quite costly since dryers are one of the most expensive appliances to use in a home. Don’t panic though, there are a few things you can do to help lower your drying expense.

When shopping for a dryer, look out for two things - a higher energy star rating and sensory technology. This great feature stops the machine from running when all your clothes are dry, which means you can save up to 10% on your drying costs and your clothes could have a longer lifespan.

Other easy things you can do include emptying the lint filter, sorting your loads by fabric since some dry quicker than others and lastly, if you’re not in a rush dry them outside on a sunny day or inside on a clothes horse.

A few more ways to save energy at home

  • If you’re not using your machine (or any appliance really), switch it off at the wall or unplug it. It will still use energy even though it’s not being used and yes that includes standby mode.
  • Try to wait until you have a full machine worth of clothes to wash or dry, if it’s half full it will still use the same amount of power to wash your clothes.
  • If any of your clothes are really dirty, hand wash them first so you don’t have to put them through your washing machine twice.
  • Warm or cold, not hot! Up to 90% of the energy used when washing clothes goes to heating up the water, so turn the thermostat down.

A tip - clean your machine by running some hot water through it every once in a while.

To wrap it up

There are many ways to clean up your yearly energy bill and save some money. Start by choosing an energy efficient washing machine and dryer that suits your lifestyle. Then, do simple things like only wash your clothes when you have to, using warm to cold water and take advantage of those sunny days by ditching the dryer and hanging your clothes outside.