WITH a surge in UK gas prices expected this winter, people will be looking for ways to save on their energy bills over the colder months.
Washing machines use up a lot of power, so it’s worth taking a look at what small changes you could make to your weekly laundry routine to significantly lower your overall energy bill this winter.
Here, laundry expert Deyan Dimitrov, CEO of Laundryheap, shares his tips on how to save money and energy by getting savvy about laundry.
Run your machines at night
There are certain times at which running your washing machine or tumble dryer can eat up your energy bill, as increased demand can make electricity more expensive depending on your tariff.
The most expensive time for you to wash or dry your clothes is between 4pm and 7pm, so try to avoid using your machines between these hours, if possible.
A handy way to cut costs when it comes to running your washing machine, is to make use of its time delay setting, which enables you to control when a cycle starts.
Putting your washing in during the evening and setting the machine to run into the early hours of the morning could greatly reduce your electricity costs, as energy prices are lowest between 10 PM and 5 AM.
If you need to dry your clothes during the day, the timing of your tumble drying cycles can also help save you money. Switching loads while the dryer is still warm from its previous cycle can conserve the remaining heat inside the dryer for your next load of clothes.
This can help shorten drying time, as the machine won’t need to work as hard to dry your clothes!
The colder the cycle, the better
Washing your clothes at cooler temperatures, and for less time, can greatly increase your machine’s energy efficiency: a 30 degree cycle can cut your washing machine’s energy use in half, in comparison to a 40-60 degree cycle.
It’s more cost-effective to save your hot washes for any bedding, towels and sportswear, as these items are most likely to host a multitude of bacteria. For even further savings, use the eco setting on your washing machine, if it has one.
When it comes to drying your laundry, it’s also more efficient if you run a cooler cycle. Even if this means it’ll take longer to dry your laundry, your overall energy consumption will be much lower and you’ll also be less likely to over-dry your clothes. If your clothes come out warm to touch, they’ve been in for too long!
Fill your basins with the right loads
It’s much more efficient to do a large load of laundry rather than lots of smaller ones, so make sure you fill your machine with a suitable load. An overfilled washing machine may not wash your laundry thoroughly enough, and an overpacked dryer can take too long to dry your clothing.
A good way to ensure that your machine will run as efficiently as possible is to check if you can still touch the top of the basin after filling either machine with your laundry. If you can’t fit your hand in and amongst your clothing, the machine is overpacked.
Also, make sure to untangle your laundry before putting it in the washing machine or dryer, as smaller items could become stuck or wrapped up in larger items, (such as duvet covers or pillow cases) which can prevent them from getting properly washed or dried.
Maintain your machines
To keep your washing machine in top condition, it’s best to clean it every 3 months. Pour two cups of white vinegar into your machine’s detergent drawer, and run your machine on its hottest cycle. After the first run, add half a cup of baking soda directly into the basin and run a hot cycle again.
Alternatively, running a hot cycle with a limescale removing product is just as effective. This can help to get rid of any build-up that could affect the performance of your machine, to keep it working efficiently for as long as possible.
For your dryer, remember to regularly clean its lint filter for maximum efficiency, ideally after each cycle. A lot of lint and hair can accumulate from just one load, which can hinder your machine from properly drying big and dense items.
Use bio capsules for more effective stain removal
If you would like to start washing your clothes at cooler temperatures, it’s best to buy bio capsules or bio laundry detergent, as they contain enzymes that can be activated at lower temperatures than non-bio products.
These detergents will be better at breaking down your clothing’s dirt and stains during a colder wash. There are even detergents specifically for cold water washes! However, it’s worth noting that non-bio detergents are better for sensitive skin, as they contain less harsh enzymes.
Invest in some dryer balls
Adding wool or rubber dryer balls to your dryer during a cycle, will help to separate your clothes and increase their exposure to airflow, which can overall reduce drying time and the length at which your dryer needs to run for, saving you energy.
Wool balls can even soak up some of the moisture in your machine and cut down drying time even more!
Air dry when possible
Your tumble dryer uses the most energy out of all standard household cleaning appliances, so, if possible, drying your clothes on a drying rack in front of a radiator would be much more energy efficient.
Equally, you could make the most of any crisp and sunny weather this autumn and hang your laundry outside, as outdoor breezes are great for drying clothes.
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