Helen Chambers, Eco Communities Director
If you are anything like me the washing machine is a daily occurrence. At a
time when we are all looking to save money on our energy bills and protect our planet any way we can, I wanted to share a couple of small changes to an everyday activity that could make a positive impact on our money and planet saving status!
Research from Clothes Doctor says we are washing our clothes too often, they recommend washing cottons every 3-4 wears and your everyday jeans just once a month. This obviously makes the clothes last longer and saves energy so worth considering if you are the type of person to chuck everything into the laundry basket after one wear.
When clothes do need washing just by running your machine at 30C it uses 40% less electricity than hotter washes and cleans your clothes just as well,
according to detergent manufacturers. Since most new synthetic fabrics
are actually derived from plastic, they’re unable to withstand high
temperatures and so reducing the temperature will also mean that your clothes last longer.
Save plastic and chemicals
This might not be for everyone, but a couple of years ago a friend
challenged me to stop using fabric softer and see what difference it
makes. I can report that I found no difference! My clothes didn’t smell
any worse and were no more static, as I believed they would be. I am not
alone either as fabric softer sales have been in double digit decline in recent
years and the Wall Street Journal reported in 2016 that Millennials don’t know
what it is or what is it really for.
Save money, energy and carbon
Finally we need to dry our clothes. Tumble dryers are usually one of the most
energy intensive appliances in your home. So cutting back will save energy,
money and carbon emissions. Even a relatively efficient tumble dryer can
generate almost 1kg of carbon emissions on every cycle, about the same as
leaving the hairdryer on for 2 hours. Drying your clothes naturally is the best
way either outside or on a balcony or airing room, but if you need some help
then I can highly recommend a heated airer, you can plug it in to give a
helping hand when the weather is not on your side. If you do need to use a tumble dryer then follow these top tips from Giki to make sure it is operating as efficiently as possible. Make sure it is de-fluffed (apparently a quick hoover around the drum and door will make you realise how much there is), don’t be tempted to overload and use a dryer ball to separate any clothes.
Hopefully there is something you can take away and try this week to help
reduce some costs and carbon, I am off to hang my washing out while there are no rain clouds…yet!