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How Much Water Does a Washing Machine Use? It Depends

Find out how much water the standard washer uses. There might be some ways for you to save on your water bill.
In the past, standard washing machines required 45 gallons (170 L) of water per load, but modern designs get the job done far more efficiently with less than 40 gallons (151.4 L) per load. Today’s best models for water efficiency, generally high-efficiency washers (HE), have an average water usage of 14 gallons (52.9 L).
Let’s explore the different types of water-efficient washing machines and the simple steps you can take to decrease your water consumption.

Finding the Most Water-Efficient Washers

Though all HE clothes washers might be better than the average washing machine, how do you find the most water-efficient models? Here are a few comparisons that might help:

Front Loading Washers vs. Top Loading Washers

Front loaders are the better choice when it comes to water efficiency. Top loader units are usually more affordable, and their design makes it easier to load and unload clothing, but they have a higher water usage rating.

Impellers vs. Agitators

Washers use these two mechanisms to clean clothes and help remove stains. Units that use impellers are usually better at conserving water than those with agitators.

ENERGY STAR® certification

ENERGY STAR® certified washing machines use about 33% less water and 25% less energy than a standard unit but may cost slightly more upfront. 

Some models also offer water-level adjustability features, such as deep-water wash or auto-sensing load sizes. The Deep-Water Wash option lets you fill the wash basket to the maximum water level when you want. The extra water works with robust wash action to effectively break down and rinse away everyday tough messes. With auto-sensing, the machine automatically regulates the water level based on the size of the load.

How do HE Washers Clean Clothes With Less Water?

If you’ve been using a traditional agitator washer, you might be surprised at how little water an HE unit needs. These machines rely on wash action, gently rubbing clothes together to clean them with less water. Here’s a video from Whirlpool of an HE washer in action!
Want to make the most out of your HE washer? Here are a few tips that can improve your laundry routine:

1. Use the Right Detergent

HE washers work best with HE detergents. These low-sudsing, quick-dispersing products effectively trap dirt and dyes at lower water levels. We recommend trying out Swash™ Laundry Detergent, a concentrated HE washer-compatible detergent that gets clothes clean with less product.

2. Avoid Overloading Your Machine

We recommend loosely and evenly dispersing your garments around the impeller or wash plate for optimal performance.

3. Pretreat Tougher Stains

Spot treating mustard, wine, blood, ink, and other stains can help minimize wash time.

4. Read the Manual

You can learn the best ways to use and maintain a specific appliance by reading the manual that came with your machine.
If you’re in the market for a new washer, our Appliance Finder tool can help. Whether you need an HE machine that can save you money in the long run or a washer-dryer combo to save space, you’ll find a wide selection.
Keep performance at its peak. Give your washer the care it deserves beyond the manufacturer's warranty. Learn more.
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Keep performance at its peak. Give your washer the care it deserves beyond the manufacturer's warranty. Learn more.

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