Come rain or shine, the washing machine is one appliance in the home which is in almost constant use, so it may come as no surprise that it accounts for roughly 7% of your energy bill. But, there are ways you can save money when using yours – without hindering the overall performance of the appliance.
If you’re looking for a new washing machine, buy wisely – and to do this, we recommend you follow the following checklist.
□ Is it energy efficient? Previously washing machines were rated from A+++ to D, however since 2014 the ratings have changed from A+++ (most energy efficient) through to A++, A+ and A (least energy efficient).
□ What’s the drum size? A myth is the bigger the drum size, the better the appliance – but this isn’t necessarily true. To get an energy efficiency wash from your appliance you need to make sure the drum is full – if your drum capacity is too big, this can be difficult. Generally, for the average UK household a 7kg capacity washing machine will suffice.
□ How fast is the spin? The spin of your washing machine is responsible for removing water from your clothes and leaving it as dry as possible – but a faster spin doesn’t automatically mean drier clothes, yet it can mean a costlier appliance. It’s recommended to opt for a spin between 1200rpm and 1400rpm. [source: John Lewis]
□ What features are included? The features offered by washing machines will vary from model to model, so ensure you’re selecting one which includes those features you’ll require. Some of the features you should look out for are: delay start, child locks, wool programmes and quick wash.
Using Your Washing Machine:
90% of your washing machine’s energy is used up on heating the water. When you consider the average washing machine uses 11 litres of water for every kilogram of cottons it washes on a standard 40⁰C wash programme it’s understandable to see why using your washing machine can account for so much of your annual energy bills.
But there are steps you can take when using the appliance to make it more energy efficient and to ensure you continue to get a great clean of your laundry, including:
- Always wash a full load. When you consider the amount of water and energy needed to run your appliance, it’s more energy efficient to wash a full load rather than half loads.
- If your clothes are only lightly soiled, opt for a shorter wash cycle such as a quick wash. On the other hand, if the clothes are heavily soiled soak them before putting them in the washing machine. It’s also recommended to rub stubborn stains with everyday soap to help lift them out of your clothes.
- Opt for a cotton wash cycle rather than a synthetic one. Due to synthetic wash cycles helping to prevent creases, they use 50% more water – costing you more on your utility bills. [source: Which?]
- Whilst it may be required if you have extremely sensitive skin, if you don’t avoid using an extra rinse function as this will waste water.
- Consider the amount of detergent you’re using. Using too much detergent can result in internal parts becoming reduced in efficiency and hinder the appliance’s performance. To use the correct amount of detergent, it’s recommended to follow the instructions on the detergent packaging.
- Don’t wash clothes for the sake of it. Whilst many of us opt to throw our clothes into the laundry bin after a couple of hours wear, hanging them up to air can help us get the maximum wear out of our clothes and also reduce the amount of time our washing machine is needed – saving us money.
Along with following the points above, consider lowering the temperature at which you wash your clothes. For many wash cycles a 30⁰C wash will suffice – and this will not only save you money on your utility bills, but it’ll also ensure your clothes are coming out clean.
Cleaning your washing machine is as important as selecting the right one for your needs and requirements, as it’ll remove the build up of any limescale and detergent, whilst also preventing gunk from building up in various crevices of your appliance.
The cleaning of your washing machine should begin as soon as the wash cycle finishes, by leaving the door and soap dispenser slightly ajar. This enables the appliance to air dry naturally, preventing mould and mildew from building up.
In addition to leaving the door of your washing machine ajar at the end of each wash cycle, it’s also recommended that a maintenance wash is carried out on a monthly basis. Such a wash involves placing the appliance on its hottest wash cycle and incorporating a limescale and detergent remover too.
Such a cleaning agent will help remove the build up of limescale and detergent from the internal components of your appliance, keeping the appliance working at its optimum performance – helping it to run efficiently too. At the end of your maintenance wash, clean your door seal using a clean damp cloth and where possible lift the seal away from the frame of your appliance to provide it with a thorough clean.
A final component to ensure you clean regularly is the dispenser drawer. You may be surprised by the amount of mould which can build up within this part, but cleaning it is a straightforward task – as explained in the video below.
By choosing the right washing machine for your needs and requirements, using it effectively and keeping it clean, you will be able to reduce your energy bills whilst still being left with brilliantly clean clothes.