Cost Of Running A Washing Machine [6 Easy Cost Saving Tips]

See how much power a washing machine uses, and how much it costs per load, month and year. And get 6 easy tips to reduce your running costs.

Washing machines are big, bulky appliances that can be running for several hours a day, every day. This can lead to concern around electricity costs. So let’s take a load off our minds (laundry pun!), and check out the cost of electricity for each load, month and year of running a washing machine.

On average, it costs 17 cents per load, $4.28 per month, and $51.35 per year to run a standard washing machine in the US.

In the UK, a standard washing machine costs 22p (29c) per wash, £5.60 ($7.24) per month, and £67.18 ($86.90) per year, on average, to run.

Continue reading to see how much it costs to run a washing machine across 24 different countries, where the US ranks in terms of electricity costs, and get 6 easy tips to help you reduce the cost of running your washing machine.

But first we need to take a look at how much power a washing machine consumes.

Cost of running a washing machine image from Eco Cost Savings with woman's legs hanging out of a washing machine

How much electricity does a washing machine use?

A standard washing machine consumes about 395kWh per year. While on average, modern, more efficient, Energy Star certified washing machines consume 316kWh per year.

Washing machine kWh has a direct impact on your electricity bills. Typically, a higher kWh rating results in higher bills. There are ways to reduce your bills despite having a higher kWh washing machine. I’ll get to these shortly, but first let’s take a look at how much it costs per load, month and year.

Washing machine electricity cost

According to Energy Star, the average American household uses their washing machine approximately 300 times per year. With this information, we can work out how much it costs in electricity to run a standard washing machine (395kWh). 

And out of interest, let’s do this for 24 countries to see we can see where we rank in terms of electricity cost.

CountryCost per yearCost per monthCost per load
Germany$130.35$10.86$0.43
Belgium$110.60$9.22$0.37
Italy$106.65$8.89$0.36
Portugal$102.70$8.56$0.34
Spain$94.80$7.90$0.32
Austria$90.85$7.57$0.30
Japan$86.90$7.24$0.29
United Kingdom$86.90$7.24$0.29
Sweden$82.95$6.91$0.28
New Zealand$79.00$6.58$0.26
France$75.05$6.25$0.25
Colombia$71.10$5.93$0.24
Netherlands$71.10$5.93$0.24
Finland$67.15$5.60$0.22
Poland$63.20$5.27$0.21
Turkey$59.25$4.94$0.20
Brazil$51.35$4.28$0.17
United States$51.35$4.28$0.17
South Korea$47.40$3.95$0.16
Canada$43.45$3.62$0.14
Indonesia$39.50$3.29$0.13
South Africa$35.55$2.96$0.12
China$31.60$2.63$0.11
India$31.60$2.63$0.11
Cost of running a washing machine for a year, month, and per wash across 24 different countries.
The source of average unit rates is Statista. All prices are in USD.

As you can see above, in the US, it costs $51.35 per year to run a standard washing machine. That works out at $4.28 per month and 17 cents per load.

The US is the 7th cheapest country in our list for running a washing machine. The UK is at the opposite end of the table, being the 8th most expensive country in the list.

In the UK, to run a standard 395kWh washing machine you can expect to pay 29 cents (22p) per wash, $7.24 (£5.60) per month, and $86.90 (£67.18) per year.

Germany, Belgium and Italy top the list of most expensive countries to wash clothes. On the other end of the table we have South Africa, China, and India.

While many variables do impact the cost, this table gives a good indication of how much you can expect to pay to run your washing machine in the 24 different countries.

But what can we do to reduce these costs? Here are 6 easy tips to help you keep your electricity costs low.

6 easy tips to reduce your washing machine’s electricity costs

  1. Limit water temperature. Most, approx. 90%, of your washing machine’s energy consumption is due to water heating. Spinning the drum uses significantly less electricity compared to heating the water. Consider reducing the temperature of your washes, and use cold water where possible. Significant savings can be made here.
  2. Fully load your washing machine. Half loads and even quarter loads use nearly the same amount of electricity as a full load. By filling your washing machine you’ll reduce the number of times you need to run your machine. The obvious result will be lower electricity bills.
  3. Put it all on the line. Don’t use a dryer. The washer-dryer combination is common, and automatic for many. To reduce your bills consider hanging your clothes out to dry rather instead of using an energy guzzling clothes dryer. A high spin at the end of your wash will help speed up clothes drying, while still costing a lot less in electricity.
  4. Extend the life of your washing machine
    • Leave the door open for a couple of hours after use so water evaporates from the door seal. 
    • Don’t overload your machine or try to wash solid bulky items (e.g. steel toe working boots).
    • Consider using High Efficiency (HE) detergent. These minimize sudding and increase its dispersal time. Modern washers may even require the use of HE. This is because less water is used in each cycle, so there’s less water to disperse suds. Excessive levels of suds can impact the performance of your washing machine, which can eventually lead to mechanical problems.
  5. Consider upgrading to a more efficient washing machine. Upgrading from a 10+ year old washing machine to a modern efficient washer could pay for itself in electricity and water costs in just 2 years. If you’re looking to upgrade, consider front load washing machines as they typically use less electricity compared to top loaders. However, even modern top loaders can be efficient. Look for Energy Star certified washers to help ensure you are getting the most efficient appliance.
  6. Consider changing your energy provider. This is a standard recommendation from me, as it can have the biggest impact with minimal effort (apart from the paperwork). Energy providers typically offer significant discounts to new customers. So, if you’re out of contract, shop around for a cheaper provider.

Final thoughts

Washing machines consume a lot of electricity throughout the year. So it’s worth considering the 6 simple steps to reduce your costs. The best way to reduce your costs and carbon footprint, however, is to use your machine less, or move to a more efficient model.

More efficient models can pay for themselves within 2 years (longer if you’re in Germany, Belgium or Italy!), and will reduce your carbon footprint.

As noted by Energy Star, if the US alone used more efficient washing machines, over 19,000,000,000 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions could be prevented from entering our atmosphere each year. That’s equivalent to removing over 1,800,000 vehicles from the road.