How often do you run your laundry machine? Do you throw a load in every few days or wait until it really piles up and do it all at once? Do you have an ideal time for doing laundry? These are all questions to think about as we dive into how much energy your laundry uses and how to reduce your energy use by being a little more intentional about when and how you wash your clothes! 

How much electricity does a washing machine use?

Let’s start by exploring how much energy it takes to run a single load in your washing machine. How much energy your washing machine uses will depend on factors such as how old it is and if it was designed with energy efficiency in mind, as many more modern machines are; however, the average washing machine wattage is between 400 and 1,400 watts-per-hour of electricity. You can verify how many watts your washing machine uses by checking the manufacturer's label, which should define it. If wattage isn’t listed, you will likely see amps and volts listed; you can use these figures to calculate the wattage too! Keep reading to learn how.

How many amps does a washing machine use?

Much like the machine’s overall wattage, how many amps your washing machine uses also depends on what kind of laundry machine you have. However, on average, a typical washing machine uses between 5 and 15 amps. While it’s important to know the amperage, to understand overall wattage, you need the voltage as well. Let’s dive into that and then we can begin to calculate washing machine wattage!

How many volts does a washing machine use?

A standard outlet is 120 volts, so this is usually a safe bet for the voltage of your machine. It is always worth double checking, but for the sake of estimation, we will be using this figure for our calculations. Let’s review before we dive into any calculations—the average washing machine has an amperage of between 5 and 15 amps and a voltage of 120. For our example, let’s assume an amperage of 10 paired with a voltage of 120.

How to calculate washing machine wattage:

To calculate the washing machine wattage based on amps and volts alone, simply multiply these two figures by one another. Going with the example above, a washing machine using 10 amps and 120 volts would have a wattage of 1,200 watts per hour.

How many watts does a dryer use?

The washing machine is likely only half of your laundry process, your dryer uses energy too. Did you know your dryer likely uses more energy than your washing machine? Not only are dryer cycles typically longer than wash cycles, but they also use more energy per minute than a standard wash cycle. But how much electricity do dryers use? Standard dryers typically use between 1,800 and 5,000 watts, though the electricity usage for most dryers typically sits at around 3,000 watts. If the label on your dryer only lists amps and volts, you can calculate wattage the same way we did for the washing machine by simply multiplying the two together.

How much does it cost to do laundry?

We’ve broken down the wattage of your washer and dryer, but electricity bills are usually not measured in watts; instead, you are billed by the kilowatt hour. Let’s translate watts into kilowatt hours; then, we can dive into how much your laundry habits are costing you each month!

Translating watts into kilowatt-hours requires some simple calculations and an understanding of how long you’re running your washer and dryer for. For the sake of this example, let’s consider a 60-minute wash cycle and a 90-minute dry cycle.

How to calculate kilowatt-hours from watts:

To get from watts to kilowatts, you simply divide watts by 1000. So, a washing machine that uses 1,200 watts uses 1.2 kilowatts. To get to kilowatt-hours, you need to factor in how long you’re running your machine as well. For example, if your wash cycle is an hour, you would multiply wattage by 1, then divide by 1,000. If your wash cycle is half an hour, you would multiply wattage by .5, then divide by 1,000. This same calculation applies to your dryer as well!

How much does it cost to run your washing machine?

To estimate how much it costs to run your washing machine, calculate the kilowatt-hours used and multiply that by your electricity provider’s rate. We’re going to outline the cost of running your washing machine once a week, assuming a washing machine wattage of 1,200 W and a wash cycle that runs for an hour. The table below breaks down the approximate cost of running a washing machine per month based on the national average electricity rate as well as averages for several key states where Nexamp has community solar farms that could help you offset some of your electricity costs.

  Electricity Rate (Average per kWh) Energy Use (kWh) Cost per Month 
National Average $0.1573 1.2 kWh $0.76
Illinois $0.1498 1.2 kWh $0.72
Maine $0.2804 1.2 kWh $1.35
Maryland $0.1746 1.2 kWh $0.84
Massachusetts $0.2885 1.2 kWh $1.38
Minnesota $0.1394 1.2 kWh $0.67
New Jersey $0.1759 1.2 kWh $0.84
New York $0.2252 1.2 kWh $1.08

How much does it cost to run your dryer?

The table below breaks down the cost of running your dryer in the same key states, assuming a wattage of 3,000 and a 90-minute drying cycle.

  Electricity Rate (Average per kWh) Energy Use (kWh)

Cost per Month

National Average $0.1573 4.5 kWh $2.83
Illinois $0.1498 4.5 kWh $2.70
Maine $0.2804 4.5 kWh $5.05
Maryland $0.1746 4.5 kWh $3.14
Massachusetts $0.2885 4.5 kWh $5.19
Minnesota $0.1394 4.5 kWh $2.51
New Jersey $0.1759 4.5 kWh $3.17
New York $0.2252 4.5 kWh $4.05

How to save money on laundry:

Best time to do laundry:

To save money on laundry, consider that the best time to do laundry is between 11pm and 7am. These are off-peak hours when your electricity costs are reduced because demand is lower. When possible, running your washer and dryer during these times can help you save money!

Energy-efficient laundry machines:

Purchasing an energy-efficient washer and dryer can help you save on your energy costs in the long run! When possible, opting for an ENERGY STAR-certified machine can help you use less energy for your laundry, saving you money!

Water Temperature:

Washing your clothes in cold water can make a notable dent in the cost of running your washing machine, reducing costs by up to 50%. Consider opting for cold water and detergents designed for this temperature when possible.

Now that you’re armed with the necessary formulas to calculate how much energy your washer and dryer use, as well as some key tips for reducing the cost of doing laundry, we encourage you to take stock of your laundry habits and see if you can reduce your energy use while saving on electric costs!