Come Clean About Your Dirty Laundry: 6 Tips for Washing and Drying Clothes Efficiently

Levi Strauss & Co.
April 12, 2016

When it comes to conserving water, Levi Strauss & Co. knows every drop counts.
That’s why the company has invested in programs like the innovative Water<Less finishing process, which is leading the charge in reducing the amount of water used to produce your favorite pair of jeans by up to 96 percent. Since implementing this approach five years ago, we’ve helped save more than one billion liters of water!
Ultimately, everyone can – and should – play their part. Our research shows that nearly a quarter of the water used in the lifecycle of a pair of jeans comes from washing them in the laundry. By simply adjusting wasteful practices and replacing them with efficient ones, together we can help preserve our most precious resource.
Here are a few water and energy-saving tips to keep in mind when it’s laundry time:

  1. Get spot on! Instead of tossing your jeans in a washing machine, use a toothbrush or sponge to remove any visible stains. In fact, according to our vice president of sustainability, Michael Kobori, “If you wait and wash only after every 10 wearings, you can save 50% of the water that you use as a consumer to wash your jeans.” If you have items that can’t be spot cleaned, simply soak and subsequently hand wash them with detergent for an efficient cleaning.
  1. No item left behind. If you must use a machine to wash your clothing, avoid washing only a single item. Washers use about the same amount of energy regardless of the size of the load. Be sure to load enough clothes so that you aren’t wasting energy or water. For example, a small load usually fills about ⅓ of your machine; a medium load fills it to about ½ full and a large Load is around ¾ full.
  1. Keep cool. Before you toss your laundry into the washer, be sure that you’re cleaning them in cold water. This saves energy by eliminating the heating process of using hot water. According to Energy Star, water heating consumes about 90% of the energy it takes to operate a clothes washer.
  1. Get energized. Ditch your old washer for an energy efficient model, which can save up to 50 percent in water and electricity.
  1. Air Dry. Whenever possible, use a dry rack or clothesline to let garments air-dry. This approach saves energy and also preserves the quality of your items.
  1. Dryer Remorse. If you must use a dryer, throw in a towel or tennis ball to drastically cut drying time. The towel absorbs moisture while the ball bounces around to help circulate air between clothes.