Cleaner, greener washing

How to choose an eco-friendly washing machine
Washing machines

Washing machines are rated on energy, spin and wash so choose AAA designs.

Washing machines are rated on energy, spin and wash so choose AAA designs.

A+AA is also becoming available, meaning you get even greater energy savings.

It’s worth choosing the highest spin speed you can (1,400 rpm +) because an A-rated spin cycle will leave 3 kg of dry clothes with no more than 1.3 kg of water. 

By comparison, a wash from a C-rated design would take much longer to dry on the line because it will still hold up to 1.89 kg of water.

It may take a little more energy to spin your clothes but this would be considerably less damaging than having to leave the heating on for an extra few hours to get your clothes dry.

Energy-saving tips

Wash everything at 30-40°C – you won’t notice the difference in cleanliness because most of the time clothes only need a quick refresh rather than a deep clean. 

Some machines has fuzzy logic sensors that adjust the amount of water used for each wash. If not, your machine will use the same amount of water and energy if it’s cleaning six or 16 shirts.

Tumble dryers

If you really can’t live without one, spend a little more and choose one of the few A-rated designs such as the AEG T59800.

This uses condensing technology and a heat pump to save half the energy that would otherwise be wasted – 2.1 kWh compared to 3 kWh or 4 kWh for C-rated models.

But remember: the cheapest, most energy-efficient clothes dryer is a clothes line.

Think very carefully before installing a dryer in your home because few items use so much energy to do something that can be done naturally.

Top tip

90% of the energy that washing machines use goes to heat the water, so switch to a cooler wash. Today’s washing powders work just as well on low temperatures.

This article is based on an extract from Friends of the Earth's book How Can I Stop Climate Change?

For more top tips on green living see our other articles.