Washing machine water usage depends on the age of your washing machine,  the model you are using, what you are washing, and how much you are washing. Generally speaking, new high-efficiency (HE) washing machines offer greater water efficiency than older machines. Many HE washers are ENERGY STAR certified, which means they use about 25% less energy and 33% less water than regular washers1.

ENERGY STAR states that, on average, an ENERGY STAR certified washer uses 14 gallons of water per load, while a standard washing machine uses 20 gallons of water per load1. Based on this, an ENERGY STAR certified washer could save you about 6 gallons of water per load compared to a regular washer.

What are the most water-efficient washing machines?

Although you can expect top-load and front-load HE models to be more water-efficient than traditional washing machines, some HE models use less water than others do.

  • HE front-load washers use less water than top-load washers2 with impellers or agitators.
  • HE washers with impellers use less water than HE washers with agitators.

Learn more about the different types of washing machines.

The drum inside a washing machine

What can affect washing machine water usage?

Wash cycles, load size and rinse settings can also affect your washing machine's water usage. 

  • Load size: Large loads (load size) require more water

  • Bulky items like bedding, coats and jackets may require more water for proper cleaning  

  • Wash cycles: Heavy duty cycles may use more water than normal cycles

  • Rinse settings: Fabric Softener or Extra Rinse settings3 will cause your appliance to use more water

NOTE: Wash cycles are designed for specific types of clothing and fabrics. Using wash cycles other than instructed could result in compromised performance. In addition, certain wash cycles can increase the time and energy used to complete a load, and may not meet Energy Star® standards.

Learn more about how to choose wash cycles.


How do HE washers get clothes clean?

If you have a traditional agitator model, you’re probably used to seeing more water in your washer. As a result, you may be wondering how using less water can provide the same clean. Although HE washers generally clean better than traditional dual-action agitator washers, there are a few tips to keep in mind to help achieve  optimal cleaning performance.

HE impeller washers use less water than traditional agitator-style washers.

1. One of the primary ways HE washers get clothes clean is through the wash action. Top-load washers with impellers and front-load washers use less water and rub clothes against each other. Lower water creates a higher concentration of detergent which improves cleaning.


2. Take care when loading an HE washer. To improve performance, load clothes loosely and evenly around the impeller or washplate, taking care not to overload the washer. Make sure to always use HE detergent in HE washing machines.


3. Make sure to always use HE detergent in HE washing machines. We recommend Swash™ Laundry Detergent from Whirlpool.4 Swash™ Laundry Detergent is 8x concentrated, so you need less than regular detergent. Plus, it’s safe for all washing machines, including HE.


4. Once the clothes are dampened and moved via the washplate, the level of items will lower and settle. Do not add more items to the washing machine after this process has occurred. The washer basket will not fill with water as with an agitator-style washer. Some of the load may appear above the water line. This is normal.

To learn more, Watch Video: How HE Washers Work.

If you would like to download or view product literature for your appliance, please visit our Manuals and Literature page. To learn more about Whirlpool front load and top load washers, click here.

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3 Available on select washer models.

4 Swash and the recommending brands are owned and distributed by Whirlpool Corporation.