How to be energy efficient when doing your laundry

Washing machines, cookers and in particular, tumble driers, are big energy guzzlers.

Here, we’ll help you explore a few ways that you might be able to save money on the household laundry.

If you’re buying a new appliance

These days, machines are thankfully much more energy efficient than they used to be. If you’re buying a new one, it makes sense to get one that will help you save on your future electricity bills too, as appliances don’t come cheap!

The most energy efficient machines will carry a blue Energy Efficiency Recommended logo, but all machines are graded to help you choose. Since 2014, all new washing machines, tumble driers and combined washer driers are graded from A+++ to A, where A+++ is the most efficient, and plain old A is the least efficient.

The energy rating label shows you the number of kilowatt hours (kWh) that you could expect the machine to use over a year based on its performance on full and partial 60˚C cotton loads and a 40 ˚C partial cotton load. This doesn’t mean that this is the amount you will use, and you might be able to save on that amount by following some of our tips below.

So, let’s take a look at some energy saving ideas.

saving energy on laundry

Energy efficient washing tips

There’s no escaping the household laundry so it’s worth making sure you do it as efficiently as possible in order to save money.

  • Wash clothes less often. We’re not advocating not washing them at all you’ll be pleased to hear, but airing something you’ve only worn for a few hours rather than throwing it straight in the washing basket will save on the number of wash cycles you need to run. Less washes may also be better for the state of your clothes themselves!
  • Washing at lower temperatures can help save on your bills. Modern washing machines and detergents work well at low temperatures so you shouldn’t need to wash most clothes at more than 30 degrees Celsius. You can also consider using the Economy setting. If you do practice this tip, it’s still worth doing the occasional hotter wash to clean the machine and keep it smelling fresh.
  • Soak stains first before putting them in the machine. If you’ve an oily or greasy stain, soak it in stain remover first. If it’s just some good old mud splatters for example, a rub with some household soap before putting it in the machine will make a difference.
  • Wash full loads rather than half loads. One full cycle will use less energy than two half loads and if there’s an economy cycle, use it.
  • Turn it off when you’ve finished. This might sound obvious, but we mean really off and not just on standby. Machines left on standby will still be consuming electricity.

Energy Efficient Drying tips

  • Do you need to use the drier? It might be convenient but if you want to save on your electricity bills, ask yourself each time you come to use it. In warmer weather are you able to hang clothes on a washing line? If you’ve only a few items can you use a clothes horse inside, particularly if the radiators are on.
  • Use the highest spin cycle on your washer before you tumble dry items. It’s more energy efficient to spin the water out than to use the drier.
  • Always keep the drier well ventilated so that it doesn’t overheat.
  • Dry full loads together but don’t over-cram it or there’ll be no space for the air to circulate.
  • Untangle items that may have become joined during washing and pull out any rolled up sleeves and legs so that they dry quicker.
  • Dry similar items together. A cotton blouse is likely to dry much faster than your towels so don’t waste energy tumbling dry clothes waiting for the biggest, wettest items to dry.
  • If you’ve more than one load, do them one after the other. The drum will be hot after your first batch and this heat will help dry the clothes in the second batch. If you leave the drum to cool, you will use more energy than if you’d done them one after the other.
  • Beware of timed cycles, they may keep going longer than you need them to. However, they might be preferable if you’re leaving the machine unattended for a while.
  • Keep it clean. A drier that’s outside vent, filters and lint screens are kept clean will function more efficiently than one that’s becoming clogged up so make a point of cleaning them regularly.

We all want to save money on our energy bills. Have a look at our other energy saving tips, or if you think you could save more by switching supplier, start comparing deals today.