Don't Get in a Spin: Washing Machine Temperature Tips to Save You Energy & Money

Posted by capitalrepairs on August 12, 2014

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Image by: Andrew Kelsall 

The washing machine is one of the most frequently used domestic appliances in the house – but chances are you’re not using it to its full, practical, money-saving potential. 

People are generally having to tighten their belts, so cutting back on unnecessary spending will be a welcome prospect. The reality is that you could be spending over £130 every year just to keep your clothes clean – and that's not even including any detergents.

The average household does more than five washes every week, but there are plenty of things you can do to cut back on costs and use less energy when you click the machine onto a hot wash.

Temperature Guide

Washing your clothes at 20°C can reduce the running costs by up to 66%, compared to washing at 40°C.

A 60°C wash increases running costs considerably compared to 40°C, but is good for removing greasy stains.

20°C

From December 2013, all washing machines had to have the 20°C option visible on the control panel. But the question, of course, remains:  how are the cleaning power and running costs affected when it runs at this temperature?

Tests conducted using a variety of washing machines found that turning the temperature down to 20 degrees Celsius significantly reduced the overall running costs by an impressive average of 66%.

30°C

Running a washing machine at 30°C reduces costs by approximately 46% compared with the 40 degrees program, and more heavily soiled clothes will come out cleaner than at 20 degrees.

40°C

This is the most commonly used temperature as it's suitable for a variety of materials including cotton, linen, acrylics, viscose, wool mixtures and wool/polyester blends – the majority of everyday items, on the 40% cotton and synthetics wash programs.

50°C

This wash temperature is most suitable for cotton mixtures, polyester, cotton, nylon and viscose, but most people find that modern detergents with a 40 degree C wash is perfectly fine for their requirements.

60°C

This temperature normally provides a marginally better clean than the 40 degree wash, and is particularly good  for cleaning towels and bedding, although some tests have concluded that two thirds of washing machines didn't actually hit this temperature at all.

90°C

This is the maximum temperature you'll find on the majority of modern machines, and is only suitable for white cottons and linens you can see any stains or dirt. However, the proliferation of contemporary detergents and synthetic fabrics means most people rarely wash at this temperature.

It doesn't stop there either. Some washing machines have as many as 20 programs for washing, rinsing and spinning.

 

Useful Tips for Reducing the Energy Costs of Your Washing Machine

The Logo of Excellence

If you're buying a new washing machine, look out for one with the Energy Saving Trust Recommended logo, as these machines are A-rated for energy efficiency, spin efficiency and overall washing performance.

30 is Best

The best washing temperature is 30°, as this uses around 40% less energy than programs at a higher temperature. Today's detergents and powders work very effectively at lower temperatures, so you don't need a higher setting – unless your clothes are exceptionally dirty.

Pop in a Full Load

Wait until you have enough clothes for a full load before putting on a wash, as two half-loads use considerably more energy than a single full load.

Switch it Off

Make sure you turn the machine off at the wall socket when you're not using it. If any of the machine's lights are it, it will be using electricity.

Give Clothes an Airing

Cut back on unnecessary washing by hanging up clothes to air after you've worn them. This way you can get the maximum use out of every item before you need to wash it.

Of course, there will be unfortunate times when your washing machine, washer dryer or tumble dryer breaks down – in which case you'll need the expert help of one of Capital Repairs' top engineers.