How Much Water Does a Washing Machine Use?

The average American family washes about 300 loads of laundry every year, which can account for up to 40 percent of the overall amount of water used in the home, according to the Alliance for Water Efficiency. The amount of energy and water usage for an individual washing machine depends on the type of washer -- front loader, top loader, high-efficiency -- and the age of the machine.

Washer appliance
credit: Jupiterimages/ Images
When doing laundry, only run full loads to save water and energy.

Laundry Water Usage

Standard top-loading washing machines use the most water -- typically 40 to 45 gallons per load -- because their vertical drum and agitator design requires a full tub of water to perform a wash cycle. High-efficiency washers -- both top and front-loading designs -- use 15 to 30 gallons of water per load,. They use less water because of the sideways drum design as well as using gravity instead of an agitator to toss the clothing during the wash cycle. For the highest efficiency and savings, select an Energy Star certified washing machine, which typically uses 20 percent less energy and 35 percent less water than an average washing machine, according to the Energy Star website.