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How many watts does a washing machine use? Clean data

Have you ever considered the energy and financial costs hidden in your laundry routine? Let’s explore how much electricity a washing machine uses and see whether it’s possible to save some money on it.

Washing machine average power consumption

Power consumption of a washing machine primarily depends on the size, age and washing temperature. Bigger machines generally demand more power to handle larger loads. Older models, pre-dating energy-efficiency regulations, tend to be significantly less efficient than their modern counterparts. Hot water washes and intense cycles naturally require more energy than cooler ones.

How much electricity a washing machine uses changes with the stage. When the machine is washing laundry, it consumes about 50W, when spinning — about 200W. Heating water consumes about 2,000W, but only for a couple of minutes. Average consumption per run ranges from an economical 400Wh to a tangible 1,400Wh.

But these are just average numbers. How do you know how much your washing machine or the machine you want to buy consumes? To learn this, a yellow label on it.

Running costs of a washing machine

An example of a washing machine’s EnergyGuide label. Source: US FTC

The EnergyGuide label is a yellow tag you can find on household appliances. It tells how much energy an appliance consumes and helps to compare it to other models. Fridges, dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, air conditioners, and ovens, are required by the government to have an EnergyGuide label. More energy-efficient appliances are cheaper to run and lower your utility bills.

Above you can see an EnergyGuide label on a washing machine. It shows estimated yearly electricity use, energy costs and test conditions. You may notice that the consumption is based on six washes per week, which sounds like quite a lot.

Let’s calculate how much energy this washing machine needs per wash:

358kWh / (6 washes/week х 52 weeks) ≈ 1.14kWh/wash

Now we can calculate our approximate consumption based on our washing patterns. Let’s say we run our laundry four times a week. Multiply 1.14kW per wash by 4 times a week and then by 52 weeks a year and we get 237kWh per year.

To calculate how much one wash would cost, we need to multiply 1.14kWh by the cost per kWh. For example, if we live in California, where 1 kWh costs 19.90¢, one wash would cost us 22.68¢, making $47.16 per year. Running costs are one thing that EnergyStar labels often have outdated calculations on.

5 tips to save money on laundry

Financially speaking, you won’t save much money on laundry. But in creating an energy-efficient home every small step counts. Here are five tips for saving energy on laundry.

In the 1990s in California, a resourceful young man named Steven Robert Comisar began putting ads in national magazines selling a “solar-powered clothes dryer” for $49.95. But instead of solar equipment, customers received just an ordinary clothesline in the mail.

  1. Use cold water: Most modern detergents are formulated for cold washes, making them just as effective while saving you significant energy costs. Cold washes at 70 F typically use around 80% less energy compared to hot ones at 140 F.

  1. Fill it up, but not too much: Starting a wash for one shirt is not worth it as well as stuffing the drum full. Overloading your machine strains it, reduces cleaning effectiveness and forces it to work harder, using more energy. Aim for full loads without exceeding the recommended capacity, leaving enough space in the drum for tumbling.

  1. Skip the pre-wash: Unless your clothes are heavily dirty, the pre-wash cycle is often unnecessary. It adds extra time, water, and energy to your wash, all for minimal cleaning benefit.

  1. Clean the filter regularly: A clogged filter forces the machine to work harder, increasing energy consumption. Regularly cleaning the filter ensures stable performance and prevents potential damage to your machine.

  1. Air dry whenever possible: If your machine combines washing and drying functions, consider skipping the latter. Air drying is free, gentle on your clothes, and saves a significant amount of energy.

Using solar power for laundry

For a more proactive approach, consider harnessing the power of the sun. How many solar panels do we need to run a washing machine? Let’s do some math.

To calculate the number of panels, we need to take the peak consumption per wash, which falls on heating the water. This is about 2,000W. Let’s add 25% for the losses from converting the DC generated by the panels to AC consumed by the home appliances. Thus, the total output of the panels should be 2,500W. If we take 500W panels, we will need five of them.

If we run a cold wash, then the peak consumption will fall on the spin cycle and will be approximately 200W. In this case, even a single 500W solar panel will power two running washing machines.

Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about matching your solar systems to the peak demands of your appliances. In a grid-tie system, your house can always lean back on the grid if solar panels don’t produce enough. In an off-grid system, a solar system has to produce enough energy for your battery and the rating of our power storage has to be high enough for heavy-load devices.

Washing machines are just one piece of the energy puzzle. By implementing similar energy-saving strategies across your appliances and daily activities, you will lead a more sustainable lifestyle and can save a penny or two.

Start saving money with solar panels!

Check what solar panels we have in stock or get a quote for a system from our engineer.


Years of experience in translation and a love of nature help Julia find the right words to encourage going solar. She joined the team in 2023 and is happy to make her contribution to a greener future.

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