7 Eco-Friendly Washing Machines That Put The HE In Earth-Friendly
Get a load of this: you can do your next load of laundry in an eco-friendly washing machine.
We know, they’re not the most sustainable choice, period, but we also recognize that life without a good old washing machine is almost impossible to imagine. They’ve become a labor-saving appliance most can’t do without.
But even if we load them up with only natural laundry detergents and items from sustainable clothing brands, how clean are we keeping the environment every time we set the spin cycle?
Are washing machines environmentally friendly at all?
Trends toward energy efficiency have meant many washing machines have made leaps and bounds toward sustainability in recent years, but overall, the tech industry still has a long way to go.
Only a few eco washing machine makers have taken it the necessary steps further.
Enter: the next generation of sustainable washing machines. But which washing machine is the most eco-friendly?
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The Top Eco-Friendly Washers For The Greenest Laundry Day
Beko pushes the envelope in terms of eco washing machines by using recycled materials and designing machines to filter out microplastics.
Helping consumers reduce their carbon footprint at home, industry innovator Electrolux has patented a gentler, low water washing machine that helps clothes last longer and creates less waste.
For an express spin through how we chose these eco-friendly washing machines, head down to the bottom of the page.
The Full List Of Sustainable Washing Machines
- Bosch | Visit Store
- Miele | Visit Store
- Samsung | Visit Store
- LG | Visit Store
- Beko | Visit Store
- Electrolux | Visit Store
- Best Buy Refurbished | Visit Store
Price Range: $329–$3,896
Bosch has been a leader in the production of home appliances for more than a century—with an increased focus on eco-friendly appliances in the last decade.
That includes energy-saving and eco-friendly washers and driers.
Tested and quality controlled to the highest industry standards, these low-water and low-energy washing machines are ENERGY STAR certified.
Bosch’s Ethical & Sustainability Practices
As a pioneer in climate action, Bosch and its hundreds of worldwide company locations have been climate neutral since 2020. 89% of the electricity the company consumes is green.
Any remaining carbon emissions are offset using carbon credits, which, in 2021 amounted to an offset of 0.9 million metric tons. The brand’s ultimate aim is to lower Scope 3 CO2 emissions by 15% by 2030.
Bosch also aims to reduce absolute water withdrawal at company locations where water is scarce by 25% by 2025.
The brand is further reducing its ecological footprint by championing the circular economy principle. It continues to work on extending product life cycles and reusing components and materials from old appliances.
In terms of the supply chain, Bosch is taking clear steps to improve conditions, particularly concerning the extraction of raw materials.
They’ve provided support to nonprofit organizations and teachers in North America for the past ten years via The Bosch Community Fund, with focus on the enrichment of STEM education and the advancement of environmental sustainability initiatives.
Price Range: $1,499–$11,085
Family-owned Miele has built its business on the durability of its products.
Take their high-efficiency washing machines, which are tested and designed for 20 years of normal use.
You’ll only find a front load washer because they have the best water efficiency.
In the most recent sustainability report, Miele reports reducing energy consumption by as much as 72% for some of its low waste washers.
Whether you’re shopping for washers only or for an eco washer and dryer set, Miele’s will help you conserve energy at home and save money on your energy and water bills.
Miele’s Ethical & Sustainability Practices
“Immer Besser” is the company slogan for its sustainability goals, which it’s tackling by addressing the problems throughout the life cycle of all products.
The ultimate aim is to make products and services 100% carbon-neutral by 2050 at the latest.
The creation of a circular value chain is another goal. This includes net-zero waste for all materials used in appliances, which will re-enter the manufacturing loop when their lifecycle ends.
100% of metals used in some of their appliances can already be recycled.
Miele works with countless partners on projects tackling the climate crisis—like the (Minimal Input, Maximum Output (MIMO) project, which uses heat generated from kitchen appliances to warm or cool homes.
Miele manufacturing partners are all SA8000-certified as using no child/forced labor or discrimination and paying wages that match the local cost of living.
Price Range: $545–$1,435
One of the most recognizable names in technology and home appliances, Samsung is a South Korean multinational electronics company that’s more than five decades old.
In recent years, the brand has focused on producing more eco-friendly products, such as its range of green washing machines.
Those that are ENERGY STAR rated actually exceed energy efficiency standards.
The Bespoke line of eco-friendly washers have the option of monitoring and controlling smart appliances remotely through a Wi-Fi connected app.
Many are also equipped with Samsung’s Smart Care feature, which allows you to run a diagnostic check to accurately fix any problems that arise, helping consumers keep their appliances in working condition for longer.
Samsung’s Ethical & Sustainability Practices
Samsung’s goal is to reach net-zero carbon emissions and indirect emissions by 2050.
In 2020, the company achieved its goal of 100% renewable energy for worksites in the US, China, and Europe. They’re now shifting focus to accomplishing this in other regions, including South Korea.
Samsung has replaced plastic and shrink wrap with packaging made of renewable biomaterials, and all paper suppliers for their packaging and manuals are required to have FSC sustainable forestry certification.
In 55 countries, Samsung operates waste collection and recycling programs, with plans to expand its closed-loop recycling system to recover and reuse greater quantities of copper, iron, and plastics from e-waste.
They offer a breakdown of all their recycling programs, so customers know how to dispose of electronics from Samsung.
Samsung’s labor policies include the prohibition of forced labor, prohibition of child labor, employment of the elderly, working hours, wages, prohibition of discrimination, and freedom of association.
Price Range: $697–$1,800
When it comes to household appliances, most people have heard of LG.
It produces a wide range of appliances including vacuums, air conditioners, speakers, TVs, dishwashers, eco-friendly commercial washing machines, and energy-efficient washers and dryers for the home.
When it comes to each front and top loading washing machine, high efficiency is what you get with LG.
Between ENERGY STAR certification, TurboWash3D™ Technology (which provides an equally effective clean in less time), and SmartThinQ Wi-Fi connectivity to control your machine remotely, they want to make laundry as easy and energy-saving as possible.
All new washers are built with a NeveRust Stainless Steel Drum to reduce maintenance and increase machine functionality.
LG’s Ethical & Sustainability Practices
LG’s sustainability commitment is based on the ideology of “People-oriented Management” and “Creating Value for Customers.”
In 2018, LG was named Industry Leader by the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI), the first world index to track leading global companies based on analysis of environmental, social, and governance practices.
In 2021, the brand was named “2021 Eco-Leader” for championing sustainability and carbon reduction.
LG has a Zero Carbon 2030 initiative. So far, it has reduced greenhouse emissions from US operations by 50% by using over 80% renewable energy. The goal is 100% by 2050.
They also plan to achieve a 95% recycling rate of waste from production and ISO 45001 certification.
They have various social empowerment projects globally, like the LG-KOICA Hope TVET College that educates young people in Ethiopia or the Ambassador Program that helps global communities solve community problems.
Price Range: $2,307–$3,077
When it comes to washing machines, eco-friendly is a label Beko uses confidently.
Beko’s Aquatech washing machines, for example, use up to 30% less energy than A energy class limits.
Together with their sister company, Grundig, they offer a FiberCatcher® washing machine with a built-in synthetic microfiber filtration system to stop the one-third of microplastics in our waterways and oceans that come from washing synthetic fabrics.
Beko’s Ethical & Sustainability Practices
Per product, Beko has reduced energy consumption by 34% and water withdrawal by 31%, while increasing their recycling rate to 97%.
Some of their low waste washing machines join other new Beko appliances now manufactured using recycled materials such as PET bottles, fishing nets, eggshells, and coffee grounds.
Beko’s parent company, Arcelik A.Ş. Group, has implemented policies to combat slavery and human trafficking across the supply chains of all brands under their umbrella.
Positive steps are being taken to reduce the gender pay gap, according to the recent Gender Pay Gap Report.
They also bear recognition for sustainability efforts and energy management from the DJSI, Terra Carta, and ISO 50001.
Price Range: $938–$1,549
Electrolux is a Swedish multinational manufacturer of home appliances, second only to Whirlpool in terms of the number of units sold.
Electrolux sells its eco-washing machines and other appliances under a variety of brand names including Electrolux ICON, Frigidaire, Philco, Tricity Bendix, AEG, and Zanussi.
Whether you want a water saving washing machine, top-loading machine you can control from your smartphone, or a machine with an efficient sanitization system for those who wash cloth nappies, Electrolux makes it.
Most of their washers are equipped with all the bells and whistles, like express wash settings, stain treatment, and stream treatment—perfect for those looking for dryer sheet alternatives.
A few are certified in compliance with NSF allergen reduction Protocol P351.
Patented Core Drum technology provides significantly gentler fabric care, reduces wear and tear on garments, and increases the lifespan of your clothes.
Electrolux’s Ethical & Sustainability Practices
Recognized as an industry leader in the Household Durables category in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, Electrolux was awarded an A score for its actions on Climate and Water, as well as a Supplier Engagement Leader by the non-profit CDP.
You can read their sustainability reports by year. Their latest one provides a detailed view of their “For the Better 2030” sustainability framework.
Last year, they achieved an 8% reduction in total CO2 emissions and water usage in water-risk areas, and increased use of recycled plastic by 25%
The brand’s most energy and water-efficient products account for 19% of total units sold, with plans to grow this in coming years.
All components and materials used are ROHS-free and comply with REACH standards.
A target for the company is to obtain ISO 14001 and ISO 19001 certifications for its logistics, manufacturing, and R&D operations. Its three largest manufacturing sites which cover two-thirds of production are already ISO 50001 certified.
Part of Electrolux’s commitment to a diverse and inclusive workplace, there is zero tolerance for bullying and harassment. Suppliers and facilities must adhere to policies in accordance with ILO conventions and OECD guidelines.
7. Best Buy Refurbished
About Best Buy Refurbished
Price Range: Various
The best eco-friendly washer and dryer set is one you can save from the landfill.
That’s why you might want to consider Best Buy Refurbished before opting to buy new.
Their huge range of pre-owned or open box ethical electronics includes everything from personal electronics (cell phones and computers) to major home appliances like sustainable washing machines from a wide variety of brands.
If you’re nervous about the prospect of buying used appliances, know that Best Buy fully repairs (if needed) and strictly tests each one.
They’re guaranteed to work when you get them home, and some come with additional Geek Squad repair and warranty protection.
Best Buy’s Ethical & Sustainability Practices
Offering the option to buy used helps keep precious metals and materials from the landfill—not to mention reduces the need to source materials for the manufacturing of new machines.
Beyond that, Best Buy’s Trade-In Service ensures you can properly recycle or resell a range of electronics.
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Why Choose An Environmentally Friendly Washing Machine
Inherently wasteful in terms of the energy and water, a conventional washing machine’s environmental impact is huge.
HE washing machines are becoming more common, even among non-sustainable washing machine brands—but there are still many hurdles to overcome.
The appliances you use in your home contribute to carbon dioxide emissions. In the US, 8% of carbon dioxide emissions are from laundry—and that’s something simply switching to zero waste laundry detergent can’t fix.
When it comes to your washing machine, high-efficiency models reduce emissions by saving 25–30% total energy (on average)
Manufacturing processes—from raw material sourcing to end-of-life—also have environmental implications. Most materials are either metal or plastic, which involves mining at some stage in the process.
Appliance production calls for millions of tons of raw materials and while improvements in the use of recycled materials are being made, there’s still a long way to go.
Even if you opt for a water-saving washing machine, that still doesn’t stop the tremendous amount of water used in the manufacturing of laundry appliances—which then gets contaminated with heavy metals and must be disposed of.
Human rights concerns further muddy the water when it comes to your 5-star energy-rating washing machine.
First, as we already established, they’re made using mostly mined materials and mining is one of the most abusive and dangerous industries globally.
And because most appliance brands are based in Asia, products are often made in sweat-shop conditions in countries with few safety and wage regulations in place.
So how can we find the most energy-efficient washing machines with the least dirty laundry behind them?
A Guide To Buying Eco Washing Machines
If you’re looking for the best eco-friendly washer and dryer for your home, you need to first consider what sort of machine your home needs.
You want to ensure the washer is one that can handle your laundry demands, so you can keep using it for as long as its life allows.
But first, if your current washing machine is not too outdated, check whether it can be repaired before you shop for a new one.
Then check out second-hand options, but check the energy use of the appliance to see how much saving you’ll be making before you commit to the purchase.
When buying a new washing machine, consider these things:
Look for the EnergyGuide label which shows the annual energy consumption and operating cost of an appliance. New appliances reduce water and energy use and cut your utility bills. The associated ENERGY STAR energy label means the product meets specific standards.
Should you buy a top or front load washer?
Top-loading machines are generally less sustainable. Not only do they possess an agitator that drastically increases the wear-and-tear on clothing, but they use an average of 30–35 gallons of water per load.
Now compare that to an energy efficient model of a front-loading low water washing machine that uses only 7–14 gallons.
Do you spend a lot of time away from home? Is it hard to make time for laundry day?
You might benefit from a machine you can control remotely via your smartphone.
This feature also allows you to program wash times for non-peak demand hours, during which your machine will operate more efficiently—and depending on your power provider, you might pay a lower rate, too.
Quality and longevity:
The best eco-friendly washing machine is one that lasts, so ask yourself:
Are quality materials used in the manufacturing process? Have components been designed to last longer? Is there a warranty with your purchase? Can the appliance be repaired or parts replaced?
Even the most energy-efficient washing machine will eventually reach the end of its days.
What do you do then? Is there a nearby appliance recycling program? Are there any toxic materials that might end up in a landfill?
How We Found These Eco-Friendly Washing Machine Brands
Finding environmentally friendly washing machines means more than looking for those with an ECO mode—though speaking of, what does eco-friendly on a washing machine mean?
The ECO button usually triggers a setting that will save energy and wash time by delivering a more efficient (but still thorough) clean of your smelly sustainable socks and organic underwear.
Fantastic—but not alone indicative of sustainability.
That’s why we referred to our sustainable technology criteria to look for the following traits:
For a washer or drier to be considered environmentally friendly, the ideal is to be made from recycled or easy-to-recycle materials. These include aluminum, brass, steel, and glass.
To get a place on our list of most eco-friendly washers we’ll also look for minimal plastic content, non-toxic materials, recycled materials, and innovative natural materials. Eggshells and coffee grounds are innovative options but not used on a wide scale yet.
- Certifications: ENERGY STAR, Restriction of Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (RoHS), Forest Stewardship (FSC)
Supply chain and labor practices:
The key is transparency. Companies need to understand the intricacies of their supply chains and not be afraid to let consumers know.
We search for brands demonstrating efforts to pay a living wage, improve conditions during the sourcing of raw materials, and use audits and third-party manufacturing certifications to back up their claims.
Unfortunately, there is plenty of room here for companies to further clean up their act, as some on the list above still have reported ethical issues. There have been concerns about forced labor for LG and tax avoidance issues for Beko’s parent company.
As always, we’ll touch base directly with these brands to see if they can provide any further information regarding their efforts to protect workers.
- Certifications: Social Accountability International (SA8000), ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 45001, ISO 50001, International Labour Organization (ILO)
Carbon commitments & green practices:
The design of an energy and water-efficient washing machine is important, but aiming for carbon reduction also shows companies making the needs of the planet a priority.
We appreciate those using carbon offset programs, but especially love brands tackling emissions at the source, with things like renewable energy, water recycling, and circular product design.
Final Thoughts On Eco-Friendly Washing Machines
Are there actually any legit eco-friendly washing machines?
Compared to the sustainable strides made by the sustainable beauty and fashion industries, not really.
But compared to appliances of even a decade ago, absolutely.
Sustainable living is all about progress, not perfection, and the tech sector certainly faces more challenges than other industries.
So, while it’s still a horribly long ways away from actual sustainability, progress has been made toward offering sustainable washing machines. Still, we should be applying the necessary pressure to encourage companies to continue innovating and reforming.
You can do so by voting with your dollar in support of sustainable brands and their most sustainable products.
Interesting innovations, technological gizmos, and smart gadgets can be attractive, but before you ditch your traditional washers, remember to only buy new when your old machine is no longer functional.
More than 80% of households in the US own a washing machine, so we know you know at least a few people who could benefit from reading this article. You’ll have us all spun up if you share.