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Laundry tips for saving energy, detergent and cash

Laundry tips for saving energy, detergent and cash

Laundry tips for saving energy, detergent and cash

Using too much washing powder and only filling up half of the washing drum wastes detergent and energy.

But washing your clothes is a lot about habits which we can change in order to protect the environment and save money, says Indra Enterlein from Germany’s Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU).

Here are her five tips on how to do your laundry in an environmentally friendly and economical way.

1. Efficiency

Let’s start with the acquisition of a washer: “You should choose the device with the best energy efficiency level,” says Enterlein. Even though these machines are usually the most expensive, it pays off in the long term because of the energy costs saved, she explains.

2. Programmes

In principle, the water and power consumption of new appliances is perfectly optimised. Nevertheless, you can do without some programmes – a prewash, for example, is rarely necessary, says Enterlein.

The expert generally recommends running the Eco mode, which, despite the fact that it takes more time, uses less energy than a short-time programme, because the laundry soaks longer. The washer therefore requires less energy to remove stains and clean the clothes.

3. Keeping cool

Running the washing machine at lower temperatures, for example at 20 degrees Celsius, can save you up to 70 per cent energy costs, according to consumer initiatives. Even washing at 40 degrees instead of 60 degrees saves up to 50 per cent energy.

But why can so much energy be saved via the temperature? “When heating up the water, the washing machine consumes up to 90 per cent of the energy,” explains Enterlein. Therefore, the higher the temperature, the more energy the appliance consumes.

However, washing at 30 degrees is usually enough to clean your clothes, the expert says. Nevertheless, “you should regularly schedule a 60-degree wash cycle – every two to three weeks – to prevent germs from forming in the machine.”

4. Less is more

“Many detergents nowadays are very compact and high-yield,” Enterlein says. “That’s good for the environment.” But it often leads to people using too much washing powder, she adds.

The dosage depends on the hardness of the water, the size of the washer and how dirty the laundry is. You can try asking the local waterworks about water hardness in your area, or even just searching for your area online.

“The less hard the water, the less detergent you need.” By the way, fabric softeners are generally not necessary, according to the expert.

5. Naturally dry

“The most energy can be saved when doing without a dryer,” says Enterlein.

The savings potential is enormous. For example, the electricity consumption of a very energy-efficient dryer is 156 kilowatt hours per year. By comparison, a similarly efficient washer consumes around 90 kilowatt hours per year.

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