Save Water, Energy, and Money Washing Diapers with a Front-loading Washing Machine

Our old clunker of a washing machine came with our house.  A typical top-loader from the 1970s or ‘80s, it probably used about forty gallons of water per load.  Another downside of this appliance is that it did not even get the clothes clean.  Dark clothes (i.e., all my clothes) came out with streaks of lint, clumps of detergent, and the dirt and grime they had before “washing” them.

A positive pregnancy test motivated me to replace my washing machine.  I wanted to try cloth diapers and figured pre-baby was the ideal time to switch.  I knew a good front loader used just ten gallons of water per load, but I was disappointed that they cost so much more than top-loaders.  The cheapest one I saw advertised was $800.  Knowing I could save hundreds of gallons of water, not to mention all the energy used to heat the water, I convinced myself it would be worth it.

Then a weird thing happened: we got the washer for far less than we’d budgeted.  First, we just so happened to show up on a store-wide 10% discount day.  Also, the washer in question turned out to be on sale.  And, we got a tax credit and some sort of energy credit.  Ask around–someone may want to pay you for selecting an energy-conscious option.  To top it all off, the store offered a rebate on the delivery charge.  The strangest thing was, we did not ask about any of this stuff–the guy at Sears just kept handing us forms and coupons.  Our Kenmore washer–listed at $800 in the Sunday paper–cost us just $350 including delivery!  That’s about the same price as a standard water-guzzling top-loader.

I love my front-loading machine.  All of my clothes come out clean and fresh-smelling and take less time to dry due to the extra-fast spin cycle.  This machine has made cloth-diapering much more efficient.  I wash diapers every four days on the heavy cycle–no extra rinses and no wet pail.  This means I am able to use just 900 gallons of water a year washing cloth diapers.  I also use a third of the detergent I’d use with a top-loader.  Compare that to someone who uses a top-loader every four days: they’ll use 3600 gallons a year!  Add in extra rinse cycles, more frequent washes, and wet pails and they could be wasting as much as 10,000 gallons of water a year on their cloth diaper laundry alone.

My washer has already paid for itself and will continue to save water and energy years after my daughter is out of diapers.  If you are in the market for a new machine, hunt around for special discounts and tax credits.  You may find, as I did, that a new high efficiency machine is well within your reach.

For more Works for Me Wednesday tips, head on over to Rocks in My Dryer.

Comments

  1. I agree – ours is great! 🙂

  2. Wow! That’s amazing! I really wish I could own a washer/dryer in my apartment, unfortunately all we have are the coin operated machines in the basement. I hate those. If I had one, I’d be getting my laundry done so much more efficiently. I have an excellent tip for you Rebecca, have you ever considered switching from regular oil heat to bioheat? I think it’s an amazing alternative because it’s made from a b5 blend of oils which are derived from plant and vegetable oils like hemp, corn, and avocados among others. I also like it because it’s completely clean burning, and cost the same as regular oil heat. Which is a small step towards living in a greener home. If you want to read up more about it just go to http://oilheatamerica.com/index.mv?screen=bioheat 😀

  3. I LOVE my HE machine. I had the same experience on price. We weren’t going to get one because we were on a tight budget, but when we got to the store, we realized we could easily afford it. With Oregon’s tax credit and since we got a smaller kenmore instead of a bigger whirlpool (I have washed queen size quilts – it is plenty big) it really did not end up being more expensive than a new toploader. When you consider the energy savings, it was practically free! lol.

    And I have to say that even if I didn’t care about the environment, I would still prefer this machine. It just does a better job all around. Also, it is so fun for little kids to watch the clothes swish around.=)

  4. All of my clothes come out clean and fresh-smelling and take less time to dry due to the extra-fast spin cycle.

  5. I knew a good front loader used just ten gallons of water per load, but I was disappointed that they cost so much more than top-loaders.

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