How Much Does it Cost to Wash Clothes?

I’m always curious about the real answer to this question. How much does it cost to wash clothes?

Does it really make a difference in my financial bottom line if I’m washing 8 loads a week versus 14 loads a week?

Is there a noticeable impact in our bank account if I wash 4 loads of towels (on hot) or if I just wash two over the course of a whole year?

It’s difficult for the average person to pinpoint exactly how much it costs to operate a washing machine.  Each machine is different, has different lengths of wash cycles, uses different temperatures for water, etc.

However, Mr. Electricity has an excellent generalized chart to determine what it is really costing you to run your machine.

He takes into account every variable: top loader versus front loader, water temperature, price per gas in therms, and so on.  It’s extremely comprehensive.


How Do I Find the Current Utility Rates?

To get the most accurate result possible from this little experiment, you must plug in your exact utility rates.  You can guess from the default numbers, but your results will definitely  not be accurate. 

To obtain the price per unit of the gas, power and water simply go to your biller’s website and find their rates page.  In an effort to save my NC friends some time, linked here are the pages to Progress Energy in North Carolina and PSNC Energy in North Carolina if they happen to be your utility providers.  If not, just google: Company Name + Rates. You might have to do a little digging to find the actual rate per therm and rate per kWh.  I certainly did.


Hill House Laundry Costs

So I plugged in my numbers and here is what my chart looks like:

Laundry Costs 


Analysis of Laundry Costs

So essentially it costs me $0.30 per load to wash and $0.18 per load to dry.  And this equals $300 per year for me to wash our clothes.  That’s not bad!  In fact, that is considerably less than what I was figuring.  I’m not sure those are completely accurate numbers for my specific washer, but I’ll take them as great ballpark numbers!

So head on over and enter your laundry data.  It’s interesting to play around with the numbers and see where the true savings lie.  Then come back and tell me what your results are!


…And it saves me $25/year to wash only 2 loads of towels versus 4 loads by the way.


(I have no affiliation with Mr. Electricity.  I just think he offers a valuable tool in analyzing where my money flows.  While I agree with many of his cost-saving tips, he and I certainly differ on the wash-in-cold-water-only philosophy. Winking smile )


  1. I guess I need to save more towels and wash at once!

  2. christina says:

    What kind of washer and dryer do you have? I need a dryer that dries in 30 minutes.

    • Lauren Hill says:

      Hi Christina,

      I have a front-loading Kenmore washer and dryer that are 10 years old this Black Friday. The dryer dries in about 40 minutes, so that doesn’t quite meet your criterion.

      I suppose if you dry clothes on the hottest setting, they would dry faster, however it would also put a LOT of wear and tear on your clothes. I don’t suggest that. 😉

      -Lauren 🙂

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