Washing and drying advice to help you reduce your electricity bill and minimise the impact on the environment
Halving the wash temperature can save up to 55% of the energy used by your washing machine.
- Wash at lower temperatures
Most laundry can actually be washed clean at 20º C or less. House dust mites are already dead at 60 º C so it is not necessary to wash at 90º.
A family that washes laundry at 20º C instead of 40º can save 33 kWh – or almost 9 Euros per year. Halving the temperature from 40º to 20º, for example, can save 55% of the power used. When you wash laundry at low temperature you should use washing powder designed for the purpose. This ensures that the wash quality remains high. Cold water washing powder can clean clothes at only 20º C.
- Fill the washing machine up
A machine is pretty much full when you can put your clenched fist above the laundry in the drum without compressing them unnecessarily. In fact, a recent survey by the Danish consumer magazine Tænk ("Think") showed that clothes wash cleaner in a full machine compared with those washed in a half-empty one.
When you buy a new washing machine, choose one which corresponds to needs of your household. Today, small washing machines can handle 3-4 kg; medium-sized ones handle 5-6 kg, while the biggest ones take 7-9 kg.
- Look for the Energy Saving Label
Look for the Energy Saving Label when purchasing a new machine. The label is your guarantee of low electricity consumption.
- Skip the pre-wash, and choose a short programme
Most laundry will be clean on a short programme without pre-wash.
- Choose a washing machine and tumble dryer carefully
Look for AAA-rated machines with the Energy Saving Label and an A-rated tumble dryer. A-rated tumble dryers use 25% less power than C-rated machines.
- Let fresh air clean your laundry
Air laundry once in a while instead of using the washing mathem. It saves a wash and doesn’t damage the clothes.
- Use a drying line outdoors
It costs around 85 Eurocents every time you use the tumble dryer. You can save 212 kWh per year – or approximately 57 Euros – by not using the tumble dryer 3 times a week in the summer months and once a week in the winter.
This is why it's a good idea to use the drying line outdoors as often as possible. And remember to open the windows when drying laundry indoors. About 2.25 litres of water evaporates when drying a typical wash, and this can have an impact on your indoor environment.
- Spin thoroughly before using the tumble dryer
Spinning removes excess water from the laundry, which results in less time in the tumble dryer and lower energy consumption. You can save 125 kWh (circa EUR 33) per year if you tumble dry laundry 3 times a week which have been spin dried at 1,600 rpm instead of 1,000 rpm.
- Do not overfill the tumble dryer
Too large a load prolongs the drying time, leaves creases in the laundry and results in higher energy consumption.
- Clean the lint filter
Clean the lint filter every time you use the machine. This shortens the drying time and avoids the risk of fire. A filter covered in lint prevents the circulation of hot air, which means that more hot air needs to be produced to dry the laundry. Vacuum the lint filter thoroughly a couple of times a year, or when it requires to be cleaned.
- Avoid having laundry folded or compressed in the machine
Make sure that clothes and bed linen are not folded or tightly compressed in the tumble dryer. The drying time will be longer if they are.
- Use a drying ball
A drying ball is a specially made ball that lifts and separates laundry during drying, and allows hot air to circulate more efficiently, thereby reducing drying time. Research shows that a dryer ball can reduce the drying time in certain tumble dryers. Test whether this applies to your tumble dryer. A dryer ball can be purchased on the Internet and from other outlets.
- Sort laundry
Sort laundry by textile type, and dry it at the correct temperature. Wool and acrylic materials should be dried at a much lower temperature than cotton for example. You can both reduce drying time and extend the life of the clothes by sorting your laundry.
- Empty pockets
Avoid leaving paper tissues and other similar materials in the pockets of jackets and trousers. This results in even more lint in the filter.
Page last updated 23.08.2010