Here are ways to save energy as you do laundry.


LaundryUse cold water!

Rinsing – Rinse light clothes in cold water. Why waste heated water (and the energy and emissions needed to heat it) on rinsing? It’s true that light-coloured clothes benefit from a warm wash, but rinsing is just as effective with cold water. (1)

Washing – Dark clothes like cold water! Keep the water temperature “cold” for the entire cycle when washing dark-coloured clothing. Dyes are more prone to fading in warm water, making your favourite shirt look drab in much fewer washes than if you use cold water. (2) The washed out dye is more likely to stain your other clothes as well, giving them that dull, tinted look.



Use a clothesline outdoors. Do you really need to use a dryer? Passing on the dryer extends the lifespan of all your clothes and saves money.

You can dry your clothes outside year round – just as grandma did. Clothes dry in winter through sublimation.

Some clothes drying indoors on racks can add moisture to the home’s air. However, without proper venting and moisture control it can also cause mould and indoor air quality issues.

Shake out clothes

If you must use a dryer, shake out clothes before putting them in the dryer. Your dryer has to expend a lot of energy uncrumpling the compact, soggy balls of clothing before it can start drying them.

Clean out lint filter

Clean out the lint filter before every load. Even a little bit of lint in the filter clogs up the airflow in a dryer. Your appliance must expend much more energy to push hot, moist air out of the tumble drum. More moisture trapped in the drum means a longer wait for dry clothes, too.

Dryer venting

Use smooth dryer vent pipe – Don’t use flexible drier vent pipe. Use 4″ smooth vent pipe and tape the joints. Route the pipe simply so that there is no more than 180o total bend (i.e. 2 x 90o elbows or 2 x 45o + 1 x 90o) This will result in clothes drying much faster and will reduce the rate of lint buildup.

Clean vent pipe – At least once a year, dismantle the vent pipes and clean them.

Dryer lint is also a fire hazard. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there are about 12,700 clothes-dryer fires in residential buildings annually in the United States. (There is no comparable data for Canada.)


Iron outdoors during the summer. During hot weather, take the iron on to the patio, balcony, or porch. Not only is the ambiance unbeatable, but heat released from the iron also won’t get trapped in your home. Conversely, during cold weather do this chore where you need heat the most – in the living room, bedroom or kitchen.

Buy energy efficient appliances

Buy energy efficient appliances. Buying energy efficient appliance is easy with EnerGuide labels. Major electrical household appliances sold in Canada must meet minimum energy efficiency standards and are required to display an EnerGuide label. The labels show you how much electricity the appliance consumes in one year, and how the appliance compares to similar models in terms of energy consumption.

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