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Five ways you’re not getting the best out of your washer-dryer

Try our easy switches to help you use less energy per cycle, and clean and dry your clothes more thoroughly

If you own a washer-dryer, it’s probably been working hard over the past few weeks.

Chances are it could be going even further, though – whether that’s by using less energy per cycle, or cleaning and drying your clothes more thoroughly.


Find out who makes the best washer-dryer.


We’ve tested hundreds of washer-dryers, so we know how to get the best from them. Follow these five tips to get the most from your machine.

1) Stop using longer programs than you need

Most clothes don’t need a several-hour-long specialised cycle if they’ve only been worn a couple of times and aren’t stained.

Almost all washer-dryers have some form of ‘quick wash’ cycle that will get your clothes washed in 30 to 40 minutes at 30°C.

These quicker cycles should be perfectly sufficient for the usual laundry load, and will save you plenty of time and money.

Find out more about temperature programs in our guide to washer-dryers features explained.

2) Start cleaning your filter

At chilly times of year like this, when fleeces and fluffy jumpers get more use, it doesn’t take long for the filter in your washer-dryer to get clogged up with fluff and debris.

Although not the most exciting task, cleaning the filter is a must if you want your clothes to be properly washed and dried.

It’s also key for the safe operating of your dryer.

Most manufacturers recommend that you clean the filter after each use. We agree.

Read more on tumble-dryer tips and maintenance.

3) Take time to load your washer-dryer properly

Although it can be tempting to stuff your whole mountain of laundry into your washer-dryer, doing so will likely result in clothes that will need washing again.

For the detergent to spread to all the clothes and for the spin to work properly, you should only fill your washer-dryer to about 75% of its capacity.

There should be an indicating line or something similar on the inside of the door or drum, to help you know how full it should be for each load.

If there’s not, try doing a thumbs up between the top of your laundry and the ceiling of the drum. If you can’t do it, the machine is too full.

And remember that the drying capacity of washer-dryers is never the same as the wash capacity. You should take out some clothes after washing if you want to run a drying cycle.

Our washer-dryer reviews tell you the capacity for washing and drying for each machine.

4) Stop wasting energy and water

Some washer-dryers use more electricity or water than they should, or have a condenser unit that doesn’t work very well.

You might just need to give the filter or condenser a good clean, but it could be because it’s a poorly made machine.

Our expert tests have found a massive difference in energy use among washer-dryers, ranging from roughly £16-51 a year for washing, and £54-170 a year for drying.

Read our guide on energy-efficient washer-dryers to help keep your bills low.

Condenser units in washer-dryers take moisture from the hot air used to dry clothes, and turn it into water. This function itself uses water, so if the condenser unit isn’t very good it can use a lot more than it should.

Poor condenser units will also leak damp air into your home, heightening the risk of mould growth and respiratory diseases.

Find out which are the most reliable washer-dryer brands.

5) Pick a machine with a good spin

You’d expect a strong spin cycle to be better for removing excess water after washing, and a faster spin to remove more water than a slower one.

Less water in the clothes means faster drying, which in turn means less time on the pricier-to-run drying cycle.

The revolutions per minute (rpm) of washer-dryers can range from 1,000-1,600, but our tests have found that a higher spin speed doesn’t always do the best job.

Look for a washer-dryer that we award a full five stars for spinning.

Or pick from one of our top five washer-dryers for 2019.

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