STANFORD UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF EARTH SCIENCES - EARTH SYSTEMS PROGRAM

Sustainable Choices

Run Full Dishwasher & Washing Machine Loads

Simplicity:
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Carbon Impact:
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Money Savings:
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Health Helper:
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Overview
Why make more work for yourself? Run your dishwasher and washing machines with full loads. Most of the energy used by these machines goes to heating water. Since you generally can’t decrease the amount of water used per cycle, fill your dishwasher to get the most from the energy used to run it. Many washing machines come with small, medium and large load settings; nevertheless, running two half-loads will still use more energy than one full load, because the machine operates for twice as long. Simply put, save up the laundry until you have a full load.

Tips & Tricks
If you don’t have a dishwasher, use a basin. Instead of running the faucet while you scrub dishes, fill the sink with warm water and use this to clean with. Once the dishes are all scrubbed, they simply need a light rinse with cold water.

Use non-toxic soaps. Looks for dishwashing soap that is non-toxic, biodegradable, and does not contain chlorine or phosphates.

Run the washing machine on cold setting when possible. For most clothing, washing with cold water still does the trick. And it saves energy because you don’t have to heat extra water. Look for detergents that are designed to clean clothes most efficiently using cold water.

Use a front-loading washing machine. Front-loading washing machines generally use less water than top-loading machines. If you’re buying a new washer, go for an Energy Star front-loader.

Web & Print Resources
General water-saving information:
www.epa.gov/WaterSense/water/simple.htm#full
www.h2ouse.org/

Information about efficient washing machines:
www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=dishwash.pr_dishwashers

Non-toxic soaps:
www.seventhgeneration.com/

Fun Facts

The average washing machine uses 40.9 gallons of water per load. Source

Joel Houghton is credited with the invention of the mechanical washing machine—he invented a cylindrical machine with 'agitated water' and revolving paddles in 1858. Source