In the UK, washing machines account for approximately 15% of the water that we use at home due to the fact that their water consumption, per wash, stands at about 50 litres of water! Most people will easily recognise that this is rather a lot of water and energy to be used each time we wash our clothes.
It is therefore incredibly important that we realise and make use of, all the different ways that we can make our washing machines a lot more energy efficient; not only to do our bit for the environment but to also cut down on how much money it is actually costing to run the machine.
Treat stained clothes before washing them
It’s really important to make sure any clothing with deep or tricky stains is soaked before you put it in the washing machine and also scrubbed by hand. This helps loosen the stain and makes it more likely that the washing machine can remove all signs of the stain, without you having to wash the item again, or put it on a rinse cycle. You should try to avoid using rinse cycles unless you are really stuck.
Use a full load every time you use the washing machine
So many people choose washing machines that have a huge capacity but then don’t put on a full load of washing, which is a huge waste of both energy and water. Try to make sure that your laundry loads are as full as possible in order to make efficient use of the amount of water being used. If you’re desperate for certain items to be washed but don’t have enough to make a full load, a lot of machines have a half load setting, so make sure you use it.
When buying a new washing machine, try to consider what capacity you actually need, there’s no point going for a model with the largest capacity if it is just you and your partner, however, if you have a large family, then it would be much more fitting.
Lower the temperature of your washes
You would be surprised at just how much of a difference lowering the temperature of your washes makes to your energy use. Just lowering the temperature from 40°C to 30°C for instance, reduces the amount of electricity being used by about 40% and will also save you money, approximately £10 per year. In the same manner, it is also worth using a cold water wash wherever possible, in order to save on the energy that it normally takes to heat the water. Cold water washes work very well on clothes and you can also find some very good cleaning detergents that will work better with cold water than hot.
Shorten the length of your washes
The longer the wash cycle, the more energy and water being used, so if your machine has a short cycle or reduced time setting, try to use it. The results are often the same so you don’t need to worry about clothes not being cleaned properly and plus, using more short cycles can mean that the lifetime of your washing machine is extended because it has been subject to substantially less wear and tear.
Use alternative cleaning products
There are numerous alternative cleaning products on the market that will produce the same clean clothing results whilst being a lot better for the environment too. For instance, laundry balls are a popular alternative and are simply popped into the washing machine along with the load of clothes and are said to add extra cleansing action, which means that you do not have to use as much detergent as you might normally do. It is best to do your own research with these products as some people find them more effective than others.
Before buying a washing machine, check its water efficiency rating
The water efficiency of washing machines on sale these days has much improved from what it used to be a few years back, however, some are better than others. They should always have an efficiency rating on display, so make sure you check this before making your purchase. You can also work out the machine’s efficiency yourself, should you wish to. An easy way to do this is to divide the washing machine’s water consumption (litres used in a standard cycle) by its capacity (kg). You’ll then be able to choose the most energy efficient model that fits all your other requirements.
Laura Marshall writes for The Wash House (A Worcester washing machine retailer) about how to be more efficient in the laundry room with your white goods. She’s passionate about eco friendly strategies around the home that can save your wallet and the planet!