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Wait to wash laundry until you have enough dirty clothes to fill up an entire load. Do not wash only two or three items since this wastes water. If you must wash one or two items, hand wash them in a sink.
Avoid using the "Permanent Press" wash cycle, since this uses more water in the final rinse. Choose a wash cycle with only one rinse for the most water conservation.
Set the washer to the lowest water level, which is typically "Low" for most washing machines. Insert the dirty laundry into the machine and wait until the tub stops filling with water. Examine the laundry to see if it is totally submerged under water and floats freely. If so, add laundry detergent and start the wash cycle.
Turn the water level dial to the next highest level, usually "Medium," if the clothes are not totally submerged or do not move freely. Allow the tub to continue filling and examine it again when the water stops. Continue this process until you achieve the minimal amount of water necessary for the amount of laundry you are washing.