Clothes Washers


Residential clothes washers include both top-loading and more efficient front-loading machines. Most clothes washers are classified as standard-sized.


The current standards for clothes washers took effect in 2015, though a second tier of standards for top-loading washers took effect in 2018. The standards, which were based on a consensus agreement between manufacturers and efficiency advocates, specify minimum energy and water efficiency levels.

In 2024, DOE finalized amended standards for clothes washers based on a joint recommendation from manufacturers and efficiency advocates. The new standards are based on new metrics, energy efficiency ratio (EER) and water efficiency ratio (WER) and are equivalent to the current ENERGY STAR levels for standard-size top-loading and front-loading washers. 

*EER (expressed in lb. of clothes washed per kWh per cycle) incorporates machine electrical energy consumption, hot water energy consumption, the energy required to remove the remaining moisture in the clothes, and any standby or off mode energy consumption. WER is expressed in terms of lbs. of clothes washed per gallon per cycle.


Clothes washer efficiency can be improved primarily through higher spin speeds to remove more moisture from the clothes as well as reductions in both hot and cold water usage. Front-loading washers, which are generally more efficient than top-loading washers, are subject to more stringent standards than comparable top-loading units.

Savings through what year?: 2044
Energy saved (quads): 2.04
CO2 savings (million metric tons): 113
Net present value savings ($billion) 3% discount rate: $31
Net present value savings ($billion) 7% discount rate: $13


Fact Sheets



ASAP Press Releases



Federal Date States
Potential Effective Date of Updated Standard 2024
Updated DOE Standard Due 2020
5th Federal Standard Effective 2018
5th Federal Standard Adopted (DOE) 2012
Test Procedure - Last Revised - Active Mode 2012
Test Procedure - Last Revised - Standby/Off Mode 2012
4th Federal Standard Effective 2011
4th Federal Standard Adopted (Congress) 2007
3rd Federal Standard Effective 2004
3rd Federal Standard Adopted (DOE) 2001
2nd Federal Standard Effective 1994
2nd Federal Standard Adopted (DOE) 1991
1st Federal Standard Effective 1988
1st Federal Standard Adopted (Congress) 1987
NAECA Initial Federal Legislation Enacted 1987

Timeline reflects state standards from 2001 to present; federal standards from inception to present.