The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority has found that the worst washing machines use well over 25 gallons of water. That’s more than twice as much as miserly models, which use 10 to 12 gallons for an 8-pound load. Front-loaders are the most water efficient followed by HE top-loaders and agitator top-loaders. Five ways to save:

  • Replace your old washer. Energy Star washing machines use about 40 percent less water than a regular washer. Bonus: because high-efficiency models spin faster, the clothes need less drying time.
  • Pick the appropriate water level setting—often small, medium, large—for the load if that’s how your machine works. Front-loaders and most HE top-loaders have auto-load sensing, and a few of the latest agitator top-loaders have it, too. That feature automatically determines the load size and the amount of water needed.
  • Measure laundry detergent and use HE detergents for HE top-loaders and front-loaders. Regular detergents are too sudsy, and using too much can cause high-efficiency washers to use more water by extending the rinse cycle.
  • Do only full loads but don’t over-stuff. Use cold water!
  • Pick the right soil setting for the load. Choosing the heavy-duty setting can use more water and extend wash time. The normal setting works for most loads.