Laundry: how washing machine programs affect your electricity consumption

We all have the power to change our habits. Here’s how to push the right buttons…

We all have the power to change our habits.
Here’s how to push the right buttons…

Energy savings have become a priority for most households. In addition to environmental concerns, the current economic climate urges us to curb our energy bills. Most of us are willing to change our household routines, but we also want to make sure our efforts are worthwhile. With regard to laundry, the washing machine is a good place to start.
How should we use it? What temperature and what program should we choose?

To find the right answers actions, GINETEX (the International Textile Care Labelling Association) launched a survey conducted by Testex*, to examine which factors influence our electricity consumption when we turn the wash on.

Choosing the right temperature

Looking at Testex’s figures, the washing temperature impacts electricity consumption the most. Reducing the washing temperature from 40°C to 30°C increases energy savings by 30%, while washing at 60°C uses 50% more electricity than at 30°C. Using the 90°C programs (the highest temperature on washing machines), doubles the energy consumption of washing at 40°C.

The lower the wash temperature, the greater the savings!

The use of washing temperatures higher than 40°C may help to remove difficult stains but leads to significantly higher energy consumption.Heavily soiled items may need a higher temperatre wash setting, (if authorised by the care label), which will mean higher energy consumption. However, this will preserve the durability of your textile!

Manage your spin speed

The same goes for the spin cycle. Higher speed use more electricity but is more effective in eliminating excess water, and the drier your clothes come out of the washing machine, the less time they will spend in the dryer.

In other words, if you’re not using a dryer, reduce the spin speed to save energy. If  you are using a dryer, you may want to increase the spin speed – remember that spin + dry will increase  your total energy bill.


Laundry load capacity, don’t do things by half

With the same program, a half-loaded machine will use 50 to 70% more energy per kg of textiles than a full load. Remember:

Use the washing machine less often and only with a full load. It will also preserve your textile quality as mechanical shocks will be avoided.


Quick wash programs may save energy consumption

If you’re used to selecting the pre-wash button, bear in mind that it increases energy consumption by 15 to 20% – in addition to using more water! Consider using it only for occasional heavy-duty washes.

Testex also reveals that “quick wash” programs, when used at low temperature (30°C), offer almost 20% energy savings. At high temperatures (90°C) however, the savings are less significant.

If your laundry isn’t too dirty, the recommendation is to do a quick wash at 30°C instead of 40°C.

The occasional hot wash is still acceptable, as it will help keep your machine clean and will extend its lifespan.

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