Reduce washing machine costs at home

Last updated: 18 February 2021

Washing machines can last for more than 10 years, so it's important to buy the most energy efficient washing machine that suits your needs.

Choose an efficient washing machine

Compare star ratings

Energy rating

The energy rating label helps you compare the energy efficiency and running costs of different washing machines. Washing machines are rated for both energy efficiency and water efficiency, and this information is represented on separate labels.

Red band

The star rating is shown in the red band at the top of the label and can range from 1 to 6 stars. Every extra star could save you 25% of your washing machine’s energy use on a warm cycle. The more stars, the more energy efficient your washing machine will be, and the lower the running costs.

Energy consumption

Compare the star ratings at the top of the energy rating label, then use the number in the energy boxes in the middle of labels to find the annual energy use of the washing machine when used once per day on the normal warm wash cycle. When you buy a new washing machine, use the Energy Rating Calculator to help you choose a machine with as high a star rating as possible.

Minimum stars

To improve your household's energy efficiency, buy a washing machine with at least a 3.5 star energy rating and 4 star water rating.

Blue band

Some washing machine labels also have a blue box, and this shows the annual energy consumption of the washing machine when used once per day on the cold wash cycle. As 80–90% of the energy used by a washing machine goes toward heating the water, washing machines use a lot less energy on the cold wash cycle.

Compare water efficiency

The water efficiency rating label shows the efficiency rating in the blue band at the top of the label and can be from 1 to 6 stars. The more stars, the more water efficient the washing machine, the less water it will use and the less water you will pay for. The water consumption box in the middle of the label tells you how many litres of water the washing machine consumes each time you use it. If you're buying a new washing machine, make sure it has at least a five-star water efficiency rating and four-star energy rating.

What to look for when choosing a washing machine

  • Look for a cold wash cycle option: Many people now use the cold wash cycle for the majority of their washing, as this can reduce washing machine energy use by up to 80 per cent.
  • Consider a front loader washing machine: Front loaders use roughly 50 per cent less water than top loaders and are generally more energy efficient.
  • Look for both hot and cold water connections: Machines with both connections will import hot water from your water heater rather than heating it in the washing machine. This is more cost effective if you have a gas, off-peak electric or solar water heater.
  • Look for load sensing technology: These machines can adjust the amount of water they use to suit your load size.
  • Look for a programmable timer or delay start function: Especially if you are on a flexible electricity tariff, these models will enable you to run the machine at cheaper off-peak rates.
  • Look for brands that are designed for recycling: Recycling whitegoods will reduce landfill, conserve resources and reduce the amount of greenhouse gases created in the production of new materials.

Running costs for washing machines

The table below shows running costs for different types of washing machines based on three loads washed per week. You can also see a similar table for six loads washed per week further down the page.

The table below shows estimated running costs for different types of washing machines based on six loads washed per week.

Small 5kg capacity – cold only connect or electric water heater

Loading type Energy star rating Wash cycle Annual energy costs Annual emissions (kg)
Top 1.5 stars All warm $72 262
Top 1.5 stars Half warm/half cold $41 150
Top 1.5 stars All cold $9 33
Top 2.5 stars All warm $49 183
Top 2.5 stars Half warm/half cold $29 107
Top 2.5 stars All cold $9 33
Front 1.5 stars All warm $72 267
Front 1.5 stars Half warm/half cold $41 152
Front 1.5 stars All cold $10 38
Front 3.5 stars All warm $33 124
Front 3.5 stars Half warm/half cold $22 81
Front 3.5 stars All cold $10 38

Small 5kg capacity – dual hot and cold connect

Loading type Energy star rating Wash cycle Annual energy costs Annual emissions (kg)
Top 1.5 stars All warm $29 79
Top 1.5 stars Half warm/half cold $19 56
Top 1.5 stars All cold $9 33
Top 2.5 stars All warm $22 62
Top 2.5 stars Half warm/half cold $15 48
Top 2.5 stars All cold $9 33

Medium 7kg capacity – cold only connect or electric water heater

Loading type Energy star rating Wash cycle Annual energy costs Annual emissions (kg)
Top 2 stars All warm $83 308
Top 2 stars Half warm/half cold $46 171
Top 2 stars All cold $9 33
Top 4 stars All warm $38 139
Top 4 stars Half warm/half cold $23 86
Top 4 stars All cold $9 33
Front 2.5 stars All warm $69 256
Front 2.5 stars Half warm/half cold $40 146
Front 2.5 stars All cold $10 146
Front 5 stars All warm $25 91
Front 5 stars Half warm/half cold $18 65
Front 5 stars All cold $10 38

Medium 7kg capacity – dual hot and cold connect

Loading type Energy star rating Wash cycle Annual energy costs Annual emissions (kg)
Top 2 stars All warm $33 87
Top 2 stars Half warm/half cold $21 60
Top 2 stars All cold $9 33
Top 4 stars All warm $18 54
Top 4 stars Half warm/half cold $14 43
Top 4 stars All cold $9 33

Large 8.5kg capacity – cold only connect or electric water heater

Loading type Energy star rating Wash cycle Annual energy costs Annual emissions (kg)
Top 1 star All warm $147 545
Top 1 star Half warm/half cold $78 288
Top 1 star All cold $9 33
Top 4 stars All warm $45 168
Top 4 stars Half warm/half cold $27 100
Top 4 stars All cold $9 33
Front 3 stars All warm $69 255
Front 3 stars Half warm/half cold $40 146
Front 3 stars All cold $10 38
Front 5 stars All warm $30 110
Front 5 stars Half warm/half cold $20 73
Front 5 stars All cold $10 38

Large 8.5kg capacity – dual hot and cold connect

Loading type Energy star rating Wash cycle Annual energy costs Annual emissions (kg)
Top 1 star All warm $53 132
Top 1 star Half warm/half cold $31 83
Top 1 star All cold $9 33
Top 4 stars All warm $21 59
Top 4 stars Half warm/half cold $15 46
Top 4 stars All cold $9 33

Use your washing machine efficiently

Regardless of the type of washing machine you own, you can reduce your energy bills by running it efficiently.

  • Wash on a cold wash cycle as often as possible: Using the cold wash function can reduce washing machine energy use by up to 80%.
  • Only wash full loads: Even if you run the machine with small load settings, the machine is still using most of the water and most of the energy of a full load.
  • Spin the clothes on as high a speed as is possible: This will mean that your clothes are dryer, which can reduce energy use if you usually dry them using a clothes dryers.

Dispose of your whitegoods responsibly

Ensure that when you buy a new product to replace an old one, you take the necessary steps to dispose of your old product responsibly. Recycling whitegoods will reduce landfill, conserve resources and reduce the amount of greenhouse gases created in the production of new materials.