96% of UK homes have a washing machine and they are made to work hard, going through an average of 250 standard wash cycles each year. As much as 90% of the electricity used by a washing machine is used to heat the water, EcoFrenzy will show you how to save money, energy, water and the environment when using your machine.
Money saving tips
Reduce the washing temperature
Reducing the wash temperature dramatically reduces running costs.
An A rated machine run on a 40C program will cost about 17p (150g CO₂). The same machine using a 30C program will cost about 10p (88g CO₂)
If you run your washing machine 5 times a week, over the course of 1 year on the lower setting you will save about £19 (17kg CO₂)
Efficient washing machines use less water
The most efficient washing machines use about 33 litres of water per wash cycle whilst the worst use 72 litres. Using a standard 40C washing programme 5 times a week for a year (filling the drum to 80% capacity) the difference in water used amounts to nearly 9,750 litres, a saving of about £20 (1.5kg CO₂) on your water bill.
Think about buying a more expensive washing machine
Sometimes paying for a more expensive washing machine can be financially beneficial over its lifetime. For example, a £400 machine, which uses 150kWh of electricity a year may last 20 years, however a £200 machine which also uses 150kWh of electricity a year may only last 5 years. Over a 20 year period, this could save a total of £600 or an average of £30 a year.
Large or small loads
A single large washing machine load saves between 25% and 50% of the energy used in 2 small loads.
Soft water and detergent
If you live in an area with soft water or you have a water softener you can use up to 6 times less detergent. Contact your water utility company and check the water hardness in your area, your appliance manual will tell you how much detergent you need for your water type.
Are your clothes dirty enough to wash
Be sure your clothes are dirty enough to really need washing! There is a sensible trade-off between smelly clothes and washing things unnecessarily. Minimise washing by hanging clothes to air after wearing them.
Choose the correct capacity machine for your family
Drum sizes range from 5.5kg to 11kg but as a machine runs most efficiently when full, it’s worth checking you have chosen the correct machine. A 6-7kg capacity washing machine will normally be sufficient for a couple, a 7-8kg for a family of four and 9kg for a larger family.
Air dry washed clothes
After clothes have been washed, try to air-dry them. Avoid the dryer function of the washing machine, it’s cheaper and more environmentally beneficial to hang your clothes inside or outside to dry.
Percentage of carbon footprint to manufacture and deliver a machine
The manufacture and delivery of an appliance accounts for 10% of the total carbon footprint of each washing machine.
Detergents and stain removers frequently contain alkylphenol ethoxylates (APE’s). These are surfactants (surface active agents) which help water penetrate under dirt and grease on fabrics to help carry the dirt away.
Unfortunately APE’s can damage the immune system, and they’re suspected hormone disruptors, ie they mimic hormones in the body that regulate reproduction and development.
Avoid synthetic softeners, try adding a 200ml cup of distilled white vinegar to the wash, this helps wash the soap out of fabrics, leaving the fluffy goodness of your clothes!
Avoid washing in hot water
If we washed all our clothes in hot water, they would soon look pretty shabby. Hot water damages some fabrics such as wool and shrinks others such as linen.