Using water efficiently within your home can be as simple as how you load your washing machine or dishwasher.

Washing machines

  • Wash full loads. Running a full load is a more efficient use of water, energy and time than multiple small loads.
  • Fill the washer, but don't jam it. Items must still move freely in the water and detergent to break up dirt.
  • Leave a hand's width of space between the top of the drum and your clothes in a top-loading machine. Load your clothes to the top of the door in a front loader.
  • Check your pockets and pre-treat stains and heavily soiled clothing right away, so they won't need to be washed twice.
  • If you need to run a smaller load, and your washer has water-level controls, match the size of the load. Select the shortest wash cycle for items that are only lightly soiled.
  • Heavy-duty soil settings and extra rinse cycles use more water and aren't necessary for most loads.
  • The permanent press setting adds water at the end of the wash cycle and can use twice the amount of water as a normal load of laundry.



  • Using fewer dishes throughout the day means less dishes to wash. Re-use water glasses and double-up on dishes used for preparing meals.
  • If you have a choice, do use the dishwasher. They use less water than hand washing.
  • Pre-rinsing dishes isn't necessary with today's dishwashers, and uses a lot of water. Just tip remaining food into the compost.
  • Run full loads. A half-full dishwasher uses the same amount of water as a full one.
  • Allow enough room for water and detergent to flow between dishes.
  • Hand wash large pots that will use lots of space.
  • Place other larger items at the back and sides of the lower rack so they don't block the water flow.
  • Place items with baked-on food facing downward, towards the spray arm.
  • Check your dishwasher for water-saving settings such as quick wash or china/light, which work just fine for most loads. Settings like heavy wash use the most water.

 Download printable versions of this information, for washing machines and dishwashers.

If you are in the market for a new washing machine, BC Hydro and certain municipalities and retailers offer rebates on efficient models. Visit BC Hydro to find more information on water and energy efficient appliance rebates, and check out their do-it-yourself tutorials for fixing leaks and installing low-flow showerheads and aerators.