An average washing machine will use 350 watts of energy for one 30 minute cycle. This translates into 36,400 watts per year. There are some simple ways to save energy when doing laundry.
- Wash at a cooler temperature
- Hand wash
- Wash full loads
- Use a high spin speed
- Air dry clothes
- Don’t use timed cycles
- Clean your dryer
- Use dryer balls
- Turn off your machines
- Make sure your machines are energy efficient
Wash at a cooler temperature
Lower washing machine temperatures use less energy, and most laundry detergents work perfectly fine in temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius or cooler. There are times when you will need to use a hot wash, such as when washing heavily soiled items or disinfecting clothing, however, for your average wash, 30 degrees or lower will work just as well.
If you only have a couple of items to wash, and they aren’t heavily soiled, then save energy by hand washing them. Fill a basin with lukewarm water, add your detergent, and submerge your items. Use kneading and swishing motions to ensure that the detergent has been adequately worked into your items, before rinsing them off in clean water, and leaving them to dry. Hand washing works just as well as its machine alternative and uses a lot less energy.
Wash full loads
It can be tempting to wash your clothes as soon as you notice your laundry piling up, but it’s best to wait until you can fill your washing machine. Doing half loads of washing throughout the week will use more energy, and more time, than doing one or two big loads once a week. If you need an item of clothing washed urgently, hand wash it instead.
Use a high spin speed
Increasing the spin speed of your washing machine will extract more water from your clothing and decrease drying time. Before selecting a higher spin speed, check that it won’t cause any damage to your clothing. High spin speeds should not be used on delicate items, such as silk, but are best for heavier materials, such as denim.
Air dry clothes
There are many benefits to air drying your clothes besides saving energy. Drying clothes in their original shape reduces the number of wrinkles on the item, therefore meaning less, or even no, time spent ironing. Avoiding putting your clothes in a dryer can also help with their longevity. Rather than being tumbled in a machine until dry, air drying is much gentler on the fibres of your clothing, causing less risk of rips and tears. Additionally, if you dry your clothes outdoors, you will be left with the smell of fresh air every time you put on a new item.
Don’t use timed cycles
Despite the benefits of air drying, there are reasons why you may need to use a tumble dryer. If this is the case, save energy by avoiding timed cycles. Timed cycles work based on a time scale rather than whether your clothes are dry or not. For example, your clothing could be dry in 30 minutes, but if the cycle is running for an hour, the dryer won’t stop until that hour is up. Instead, use an automatic cycle, which uses moisture sensors to determine whether your clothes are dry. If your machine does not have an automatic cycle, keep checking the dryness of your clothes throughout the cycle.
Clean your dryer
Tumble dryers only work if they are regularly cleaned. If you do not regularly clean your tumble dryer then air can become trapped and your clothing will not dry as quickly, meaning that you use more energy. Make sure that your dryer has been adequately cleaned before putting clothing in it, and if it hasn’t clean it. Not only will it be more energy-efficient, but it could also prevent a fire.
Use dryer balls
Dryer balls are small, round, balls of wool, rubber, or plastic that you put in your tumble dryer to reduce drying time by up to 25%. They work in a similar way to dryer sheets, however are much more environmentally conscious as they are reusable. If you don’t want to buy dryer balls you can easily make them. For single-use dryer balls, you can scrunch up tinfoil into a ball shape, or, for multi-use dryer balls use felted wool and follow this method.
Turn off your machines
One of the easiest ways to save energy when doing your laundry is to make sure that your machines are turned off. Even if your machines aren’t running a cycle, if there are lights on then they are still using energy. After using your washing machine and tumble dryer, make sure that they are switched off and, for extra precaution, switch them off at the plug. This way, you will know for certain that they are using no energy at all.
Make sure that your machines are energy efficient
Due to technological advances, most modern washing machines are much more energy efficient than older models. If your washing machine and tumble dryer are slightly older, you may want to invest in newer models. When shopping for a washing machine and tumble dryer, look out for a blue Energy Efficiency Recommended logo. These won’t be the cheapest machines so it will be an investment, but they will run much more efficiently and save you money in the long run.
At Laundryheap we are constantly improving the way we work to be more efficient and environmentally conscious. To book your Laundryheap order, simply head to the Laundryheap website or download the free Laundryheap app.