How to save money on your laundry bills

Clean modern laundry

Jessica Taylor Yates

Posted March 06, 2024

From detergents to hot water, laundry expenses can quickly add up. Here are some easy tips to lower your laundry costs and energy use when doing the washing at home. 

The ongoing household expense of doing laundry can quickly add up, especially if you're doing multiple loads of washing per week. 

From upgrading to energy-efficient appliances to embracing cold water washes and line drying; there are simple things you can do to save money in the laundry. 

If you’re looking to upgrade your laundry to increase your energy efficiency, and require plumbing, electrical, or a new heating and cooling system, get a quote from qualified professionals.

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How to save energy and cut costs on your laundry bill

Upgrade to high-efficiency appliances

Investing in an energy-efficient washing machine and clothes dryer might seem like a substantial expense at first, but upgrading your appliances can result in significant savings over time.  

According to Sustainability Victoria, a washing machine can last over 10 years, so it is important to choose one that is energy efficient for the long term. 

Energy-efficient appliances are designed to use less water and electricity while maintaining optimal cleaning performance. An efficient washing machine should: 

  • Have a cold wash option – saving on energy use by up to 80 per cent
  • Have both hot and cold-water connections – which can be more cost-efficient overall for gas, off-peak electric or solar connections
  • Have timers and load sensors – this helps to adjust to the off-peak time to do laundry with the right amount of water
  • Be a front loader – these use around 50 per cent less water than top loaders and can be gentler on fabrics.

Take note of the energy ratings

Look for the Energy Rating Label on your washing machine and dryer, which rates the energy efficiency of appliances on a star rating of 1 to 10. Every extra star can save 25 per cent of your washing machine’s warm cycle energy use according to Sustainability Victoria. 

Sustainability Victoria says to improve your household’s energy efficiency, you should look for a washing machine with ‘at least a 3.5-star energy rating and a 4-star water rating.’ You can also check the product’s water rating here.


clothes air drier

Airing clothes rather than using the dryer is a cost-free way to get clothes dry. Image: Getty


Look into the most cost-effective clothes dryer option

A clothes dryer can use up to 10 per cent of total household energy use for heavy users, according to an Australian Government guide. 

Using a clothes dryer with a high spin speed (1800 revolutions per minute or more) is faster and more efficient than one with low spin speeds. 

Australia's Guide to Environmentally Sustainable Homes also recommends dryers with ‘auto-sensing’ that stop when the clothes are dry.

You may wish to weigh up the differences in price, energy usage and bills for both condenser dryers and heat pump dryers – or decide if you need a dryer at all. 

Heat pump dryers are generally more expensive on initial purchase, but are cheaper to run - around 50 per cent less per load than condenser dryers. 

Over time, the reduced consumption will contribute to lower utility bills to save you money. 

Consider a heat pump hot water system

The type of hot water system in your household can impact the cost of your water bill, with water heating accounting for 15-30 per cent of household energy use in Australia. 

Both economically and environmentally friendly, a heat pump hot water system can use up to 80 per cent less energy to warm water in your home. 

While there is an upfront cost, Solar Victoria offers rebates up to $1,000 as part of the hot water rebate government initiative, and the Victorian Energy Upgrades for households program offering discounts up to $1,540 for eligible participants.

You can also investigate bundling a hot water heat pump with a solar power system

Embrace cold water washes

Heating up water accounts for between  80 to 90 per cent of the energy used by washing machines, according to Sustainability Victoria.

By switching to cold water washes, you can reduce energy usage and cut down on utility costs, saving from $40 to $80 per year. Cold water washes may also be better for your clothes and linens in the long run. 

Many modern detergents are formulated to work effectively in cold water, keeping the cleanliness and freshness of your clothes while helping you save money. 

Check for hidden energy users  

To further reduce your energy consumption in the laundry, eliminate hidden energy hogs like leaving your appliances on standby mode, leaving the lights on or not using LED lightbulbs, or keeping air vents open in the laundry when the room isn’t in use. 

Use the clothesline out the back

While the convenience of a clothes dryer is undeniable, it comes at a cost – both in terms of energy usage and your monthly utility bill, with the average load of washing costing 44 cents to dry each time. 

To save on costs, line dry your clothes whenever possible. Not only does this method save on bills, but it also extends the lifespan of your clothing, reducing the wear and tear caused by the tumbling action of the dryer. Fresh air and sun may also help kill bacteria and dust mites attached to your items.  

If outdoor space is limited, consider using indoor drying racks or clotheslines to enjoy the benefits of line drying year-round.


A front loader saves more water than a top loader. Image: Getty

A front loader saves more water than a top loader. Image: Getty


Only wash full loads of laundry 

Washing machines are one of the biggest water users in the home.

One of the simplest ways to save money on laundry costs is to be mindful of the size of your loads. Running smaller loads more often can lead to unnecessary water and energy consumption, as the washing machine will still use the water and energy needed for a full load. 

Choose the right detergent

Selecting the right laundry detergent is crucial not only for achieving clean clothes, but also for saving money. Consider using home remedies for fabric stains, or concentrated or high-efficiency detergents as they need smaller quantities per load. 

Laundry detergents often perform better in cold water, allowing you to cut down on the energy used to heat the water during the washing process. Be sure to measure detergent amounts accurately to avoid overuse.

Time your laundry wisely

On average, hot water makes up 25 per cent all household energy use. Take advantage of off-peak electricity hours to run your laundry appliances. Many utility providers offer lower rates during specific times of the day when overall demand is lower, such as late at night or early in the morning. 

If you already have solar panels, time your laundry to run when your panels are producing the most power. That way you can limit the amount of power you buy from the grid.

By adjusting your laundry schedule to align with these off-peak hours, you can capitalise on reduced electricity costs, making a positive impact on your monthly budget. Check with your utility provider for information on their off-peak hours and adjust your laundry routine accordingly.

woman in laundry

Always wash a full load, as the machine will use the same amount of water regardless. Image: Matt Harvey


Consider solar energy 

Households that use solar energy to power a range of devices, including hot water systems and appliances, save an average of $890 per year in energy bills, according to Energy Safe Victoria.

Homeowners may also qualify for a range of solar rebates and finance options, including government rebates up to $1400 to install solar panels and hot water systems. 

Get an energy monitor 

Using an energy monitor allows you to check your daily energy usage and find opportunities to reduce consumption, such as scheduling household tasks during off-peak periods.

Energy monitors are accessible to most households equipped with smart meters, and eligible individuals may qualify for rebates through the Victorian Energy Upgrades program.

Maintain your laundry appliances regularly

Proper maintenance of your washing machine and clothes dryer is essential for optimising their efficiency and extending their lifespan.

Regularly clean the lint trap in your clothes dryer to ensure best airflow, reducing energy consumption. Keep the washing machine's door and detergent dispenser clean to prevent mould and mildew, which can hinder its performance. 

By keeping your laundry appliances in top condition, you not only save money on immediate repair costs, but also ensure they run efficiently, minimising overall energy usage.


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