Washing machines and tumble dryers are among the most energy-consuming home appliances, but money can be saved by running them as efficiently as possible.
It comes as households across the UK are facing a cost of living squeeze with energy bills set to rise by £693 on average.
While Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a funding package to mitigate the worst effects of the 54% hike, millions of us will still see our bills increase by hundreds of pounds this year, reports the Daily Record.
So chief executive of on-demand laundry company laundry heapDeyan Dimitrov, has shared how to save money by reducing energy consumption, including the cheapest time period to use your washing machine in the day.
1. Run your machines later in the day – but not while you are asleep
There are certain times of day when running your washing machine or tumble dryer can rack 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.
Energy prices are at their lowest between 10pm and 5am – perfect for night owls and early risers. But make sure you follow fire safety guidance and never put a load in and head to bed for the night.
Drying multiple loads of laundry is best done consecutively so the tumble dryer stays warm between cycles.
2. The colder the cycle the better
Washing your clothes at cooler temperatures for less time can greatly increase your machine’s energy efficiency.
A 30C cycle can cut your washing machine’s energy use in half compared to a 40-60C cycle.
It is 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 is also more efficient if you run a cooler cycle, even if this means it will take longer to dry.
3. Fill your drums with the right loads
It is much more efficient to do a large laundry load rather than numerous smaller ones, so make sure you fill your machines with suitable loads.
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 cannot fit your hand in and among your clothing, the machine is overpacked.
4. Maintain your machines
To keep your washing machine in top condition, it is best to clean it every three months.
Pour two cups of white vinegar into your machine’s detergent drawer and run the 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.
For your dryer, remember to regularly clean its lint filter for maximum efficiency – ideally after each cycle.
The jump in the cost of living is putting household budgets under pressure, with some having to choose between heating and eating.
Here are some resources available if you need help.
Citizens Advice is an independent charity offering free, confidential support with legal, consumer, housing, debt and other problems. its site details what help is available and where your nearest bureau is, for face-to-face advice.
Help line: 0800 144 8848 in England / 0800 702 2020 in Wales (open 09.00 – 17.00 Monday-Friday)
The Trussell Trust
The Trussell Trust supports a national network of more than 1,200 food banks, providing emergency food for free to those who need it. You can use it site to locate support wherever you live.
Helpline: 0808 208 2138 (open 09.00 – 17.00 Monday-Friday)
Turn2us is a national charity providing practical support to people who are struggling financially. its site includes a benefits calculator and details of schemes and grants in your area, including for energy and water bills.
Helpline: 0808 802 2000 (open 09.00 – 17.00 Monday-Friday)
5. Use bio capsules for more effective stain removal
If you wash your clothes at cooler temperatures, it is 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 dirt and stains during a colder wash.
Note that non-bio detergents are better for sensitive skin as they contain fewer harsh enzymes.
6. Invest in some dryer balls
Adding wool or rubber balls to your dryer during a cycle will help separate your clothes and increase their exposure to airflow.
This can overall reduce drying time and the length at which your dryer needs to run for, saving you energy.
Wool balls can soak up some of the moisture in your machine and cut down drying time further.
7. Air dry when possible
Tumble dryers use the most energy out of all standard household cleaning appliances.
But we are still in the grips of winter, so drying clothes outside is not really an option either, although it is by far the best for cost-effectiveness and giving clothes that unique ‘line-dried’ smell.
When the heating is on and you have clothes to dry, pop them in front of a free radiator, preferably with doors closed to create a small heat vacuum.
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