How much water does a washing machine use?

Ever wondered how much water your washing machine uses?

Depending on the model of your washing machine, as well as the cycle and water temperature you select, washing machines can use anywhere from 15 to 45 gallons of water per load.

In this article, we’ll discuss the different factors that affect a washing machine’s water usage, ways to calculate it, dispel some myths about water usage, and provide some tips on how to save water when doing laundry.

How much water does a washing machine use

Let’s get started.

Table Of Content

What factors affect how much water a washing machine uses?

There are a few different factors that affect how much water your washing machine uses.

1. The type of washing machine

The type of washing machine you have will affect the amount of water it uses. Typically, top-loading washing machines use more water than front-loading machines. So if you have a Top Load washer, you can expect to use more water than someone with a Front Load washer. The water usage will increase even further if your top-loader is a Non-HE model.

2. The cycle you select

The type of cycle you select also plays a crucial role in water usage. Generally, the shorter the cycle, the less water is used. So, if you have the option to select a “quick wash” cycle, your machine will use less water than if you choose a “normal” or “delicate” cycle.

3. The water temperature you select

Another important factor is the water temperature you select. Hot water cycles use more water than cold or warm cycles. So, if you use a “cold” cycle, your machine will use less water than if you choose a hot water wash.

4. The size of the load

Of course, the size of the load also affects the amount of water used. A larger load will require more water than a smaller load. Overloading the washer not only wastes water but can also damage your machine.

5. The age of your machine

The age of your machine can also play a role in water usage. Older washing machines are not as efficient as newer models and can use up to 30% more water.

6. The soil level

The soil level is the amount of dirt, stains, or other debris on your clothes. The higher the soil level, the more water is required to remove the dirt.

7. Type of Water

Lastly, If you are located in an area where there is a hard water supply, your washing machine may use more water to finish the wash cycle.

How to calculate the water consumption of a washing machine?

Now that we’ve discussed the different factors that affect a washing machine’s water usage, let’s talk about how to calculate the water consumption of your machine.

There are 3 ways to calculate the water usage of your washing machine:

1. Look at the manufacturer’s label

The first way to calculate the water usage of your washing machine is to check the manufacturer’s label.

Most washing machines have a label that lists the maximum water usage for each cycle.

For example, if the manufacturer’s label on your washing machine says that the machine uses 30 gallons of water per cycle, that means the machine will use no more than 30 gallons of water per cycle.

2. Use the Water Factor

The second way to calculate the water usage of your washing machine is to use the Water Factor (WF) Indicator. The WF is a measurement of how much water a washing machine uses per cycle.

To calculate the WF, you will need to know the:

  • The capacity of your washing machine (in cubic feet)
  • The amount of water your machine uses per cycle (in gallons)

Once you have this information, you can calculate the WF by dividing the amount of water used by your washer per cycle by the capacity of the washer.

For example, if your washing machine has a capacity of 3.5 cubic feet and uses 30 gallons of water per cycle, the WF score would be 8.6.

The lower the water factor score is, the more efficient the machine is.

The ideal Water Factor score for an efficient washer is anywhere below 4.5.

Using WF Score to figure out water usage in Gallons

In order to figure out the approximate water gallon usage by simply looking at the label, you can multiply the Washer’s Capacity by the WF score if it’s readily available.

For example, if your washer has a capacity of 3.5 cubic feet and has a WF score labeled as 3.2, your approximate water utilization will be around 11.2 gallons.

3. Manual Tracking

Manual tracking is considered to be the most accurate as it gives you the exact numbers based on the current setup at your place.

This will give you a realistic idea of how much water is being used by your washing machine and the real-time WF score.

You can use this technique if you don’t already know the WF score of your washer OR If want to test the efficiency of your washer.

In order to do the manual tracking, you can use anyone out of the two methods mentioned below.

Method 1: By Using Water Meter

In order to get an accurate water consumption in a single wash, you may track the water meters installed in your house that calculates the water consumption.

  • Start by turning off any other water supply in the household except the supply towards the washer.
  • Make a note of the water meter reading at this point.
  • Run your regular wash cycle as you do it on a daily basis.
  • At the end of the wash cycle, quickly capture the water meters reading count.
  • Once you have the reading in gallons, simply divide the number of gallons by your washer’s cubic feet.
  • This will give you the Water Factor score – In short, it is gallons of water used to wash each cubic foot of Laundry.

Method 2: Water calculating device

There are several devices that can be used to calculate the water consumption in gallons or liters.

These devices are easily available online or you may find one from the local hardware store.

  • You may consider fixing the device with the help of a plumber. These devices can be attached to the water supply connection that heads towards your washer. It can be fixed between the washer’s water inlet hose and the connecting water supply lines (pipe or a hose). The plumber will have more suggestions as per your washer’s installation.
  • Turn on the washer and wait for the cycle to complete.
  • This will get the accurate amount of water supplied to the washer during each cycle and load type.
  • Once you get the number of gallons used by your washer to complete the wash cycle, simply divide it by the capacity of your washer to get the WF Score.
  • The value that you get in form of a WF score is nothing but the amount of water used by your washer to wash each cubic foot of laundry.
  • Additionally, most modern-day water calculating devices are enabled with a smart feature that can alert you if there is any leakage or interruption in the water supply.

Our Water Consumption Test Results

We found the second method to be close to accurate based on the tests performed on 3 different washers.

Here are the test results for the water consumed by a washer over 4 days test.

Washing Machine ModelWasher CapacityWater consumption in gallons (single wash)WF Score
Whirlpool Front Load HE Washing Machine – WFW5620HW4.5 Cubic Feet14.4 Gallons per wash3.2
LG WT1501CW – Top Load Washing Machine4.5 Cubic Feet16.62 Gallons per wash3.7
LG Front Load Washing Machine – WM2501HWA3.5 Cubic Feet12 Gallons per wash3.4

Methodology used

  • The test was performed one after the other using the same water meter device so that the results are consistent.
  • We attached the water meter device near the water inlet hose & the water supply tube, and we used the supporting connectors at both ends.
  • The laundry was set with a full load according to the capacity of the washer.
  • We performed the wash cycle 4 times on each washer using the same device over a period of 5 days.
  • We took the average water consumption and then divided the water consumed by the washer’s capacity to get the WF Score.
  • The results are documented in the above table.

Also Read: How to Calculate Washing Machine Power Consumption?

Common myths about washing machines and water usage

There are many myths about washing machines and water usage.

Myth #1 – Washing machines use a lot of water

This is not true. Washing machines use less water than you would if you were doing laundry by hand. The average washing machine uses about 30 gallons of water per cycle.

Myth #2 – You need to pre-wash your clothes before putting them

Washing machines are designed to clean your clothes without pre-washing them. The pre-wash cycle is only needed when the clothes are extremely dirty.

For a normal wash, Pre-wash is not needed and you can save water by skipping this cycle.

Myth #3 – You should wash your clothes in hot water to get them clean

Washing your clothes in hot water is a good idea as it not only cleans the clothes but also kills any bacteria present in them.

However, washing your clothes in hot water all the time is not really required.

For a standard wash, a cold wash should suffice.

Myth #4 – You need to use a lot of detergents to get your clothes clean

This is not true. You only need to use the recommended amount of detergent for each wash cycle.

Using more detergent than required will not make your clothes any cleaner. In fact, it will only waste detergent and water.

Also Read: How to troubleshoot a portable washing machine?

Ways to save water when doing laundry

There are a few simple ways to save water when doing laundry.

1. Wash clothes in cold water

Washing your clothes in cold water can save you a lot of water.

When you wash clothes in cold water, the washer doesn’t have to use as much water to get them clean.

This is because the cold water will not dissolve the detergent as well as hot water does. So, if you are able to wash your clothes in cold water, you will be using less water overall.

2. Use the recommended amount of detergent

One of the ways to save water when doing laundry is to use the recommended amount of detergent.

This helps because using too much detergent can actually cause the washing machine to use more water overall.

This is because the detergent will not dissolve as well in cold water, so the washing machine will have to use more water to rinse it out.

3. Wash full loads whenever possible

Washing full loads of laundry is another great way to save water.

This is because the washing machine will not have to use as much water to wash a full load as it would to wash a smaller load.

So, if you can wait until you have a full load of laundry, you will be able to save water.

4. Choose the half load or smaller option when washing a small load

If your washer has the option to choose a half load or smaller option, you should choose this option when washing a small load.

This is because the washer will use less water overall to wash a smaller load.

If your washer does not have this option, stick to the full load strategy.

5. Skip the pre-wash cycle

If your clothes are not extremely dirty, you can skip the pre-wash cycle.

This will save water because the washing machine will not use the extra water required to complete the Pre-wash cycle.

6. Use a water-saving mode

If your washing machine has a water-saving mode, you should use it.

This mode will use less water to wash your clothes.

7. Fix any leaks

If you have any leaks in your washing machine, it is important to fix them.

Leaks can waste a lot of water, so fixing them can help you save water.

8. Don’t overdo it

It is important to remember that you don’t need to wash your clothes every day.

Washing your clothes too often can actually use more water overall.

So, if you can wait a few days in between washes, you will be able to save water.

9. Invest in a water-efficient washing machine

If the above tactics don’t save enough water for you, you can always invest in a water-efficient washing machine.

These washing machines use less water overall to wash your clothes.

So, if you are looking for ways to save water, investing in a water-efficient washing machine is a great option.

Also Read: How to fix E1 Error in Washing Machine?

Final Thoughts

You need to make sure that you select the appropriate wash cycle as per the fabric and load types.

This not only helps you to save water but also prolongs the life of your washer.

Water usage in a washing machine can vary depending on the type of fabric being washed, load size, and cycle selection.

If you want to document the accurate reading, the best approach is to use the Water Calculating device as it gives you realistic numbers i.e. actual numbers when you run the washer at home setup.

Also Read: How to fix no power no light issue in the washing machine?

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions related to water consumption that are frequently asked.

Which washer consumes less water?

Modern washers such as the front loaders and HE (High Efficiency) washers use around 30% less water compared to top loaders and older washer models. Washers are also rated on the basis of Energy-star certified, here washers rated 4 to 5 stars are said to be more efficient.

Why does the washer use more water?

If your washer is consuming more water then you must be using the wrong wash cycle. For e.g., if you have loaded garments suitable for heavy load wash, and the wash program is set to delicates then this may not give you the desired results, and may end up repeating the wash cycles.

Hence it is always recommended to use the correct wash cycle as per your fabric type to avoid repeated wash cycles and excessive water consumption by your washer.