A washing machine with a 3-cubic-foot drum holds 22.4 gallons of water. Such machines use up to 50 gallons of water per wash cycle, and the average family operates such a machine up to 300 times per year.
Machines with ENERGY STAR certification have larger tubs but use 15 gallons or less per load, a reduction of 35 percent over standard washers. They are available as units that look like traditional top-loading washing machines and as front-loading machines. These machines flip or spin clothes through a stream or puddle of water for cleaning instead of filling the tub. They also require less energy to operate.