When doing your weekly washing and tumble drying you probably aren’t thinking about it costing money, each and every load you do. But all the energy and detergent used adds up to around £160 a year.
Making small changes can reduce these costs and turn into big savings down the line, saving you around £100 per year.
Video: Save £100 per year in laundry costs
1. Wash at 30°C or 20°C when possible
- Total saving: £24
We tested a range of washing machines in 2020 to see how washing at lower temperatures effects cleaning and energy use.
On average, switching from 40°C to 30°C saved 38% energy, and going down to 20°C saved 62%.
The average washing machine costs about £38 a year to run four washes a week. So switching to 30°C would cut £13 off of this, while 20°C will cut £24.
Lowering the temperature doesn’t mean you need to compromise on stain-busting power, either.
Our snapshot test revealed that, unless you’re washing really soiled clothes, modern machines (particularly our Best Buys) will still do a good job most of the time.
Follow our tips for cleaning at lower temperatures:
- If you can’t find a 30°C or 20°C program on your washing machine, you may be able to manually reduce the temperature of a 40°C wash using the temperature button.
- Switching to a liquid detergent will help shift stains. We found that tough stains lifted more easily with a liquid than a powder at 30°C and 20°C.
- Pre-treat tough stains with a drop of diluted detergent for the best chance at removing them.
- Make sure to run a monthly hot maintenance wash (60°C with the machine empty and washing machine cleaner in the detergent tray).
According to NHS and government advice, the normal washing of clothes will reduce the risk of germs spreading such as coronavirus. Although there are some cases where you might want to wash at a higher temperature – read our story on how to wash clothes and kill germs to find out more.
2. Maintain your dryer properly
- Total saving: £20
When we tested how a range of heat pump dryers performed over 20 loads, we were shocked by the findings.
Some ended up using 50% more energy than at first. The average heat pump dryer costs around £39 per year to do three loads a week, so you can quickly see how this could add nearly £20 to your annual laundry costs.
The reason for this is the filters getting blocked up with dust and lint from your clothes.
To avoid your dryer becoming inefficient, follow these easy steps:
- Find your filter at the bottom of the dryer – it can be hidden behind a flap. You might need to push two small levers inwards to unlock it.
- Once unlocked, remove the filter, taking out any larger pieces of fluff and hair from both the exchanger and its casing.
- Rinse the filter under a cold tap until it’s completely free of any dust or debris. Only begin cleaning the lower filter when the dryer has cooled down from its last drying cycle.
- Make sure the filter is completely dry before you insert it back into the machine.
Find out more by reading our full story on how to keep your heat pump tumble dryer drying efficiently.
If you’re in the market for a new dryer, you could save as much as £60 a year on average buying an Eco Buy rather than a condenser model. Head to our tumble dryer reviews and filter for Eco Buys.
3. Stop doing daily small washes
- Total saving: £7
It’s all too easy to stick a couple of items in the wash, putting it on a quick program.
These quick programs or speed-up buttons do reduce how much energy is used in the wash slightly, but not by the same amount that the capacity is reduced.
As such, it’s much more economical to do fewer big loads than daily little ones.
When we checked what effect speed-up functions have on cleaning and energy in May 2019, we found dramatic differences between the three we tested.
One only reduced the energy used by close to 20% while another cut it in half. But this isn’t enough to justify a daily wash.
Doing a bigger normal wash four times a week still ended up using 17% less energy than the average of the three fast washes, done daily.
This would add up to an annual saving of around £7 for the average washing machine. This may not sound like much, but remember, you’ll also be saving by using up your detergent more slowly – more on that below.
4. Make the switch to a Best Buy detergent
Total saving: £50
It doesn’t pay to spend more on a detergent. We’ve found cheap Best Buys that cost as little as 7p per wash.
Compare this to some of the most expensive on the market, that can cost 31p per wash.
Add that up over a year and you’ll be saving close to £50, based on four washes a week.
Best of all, of course, is that because it’s a Best Buy you’ll still be getting top-notch stain-busting cleaning power.
You can find out which cheap detergent wowed in our testing by going to our laundry detergent reviews.