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Five ways to cut the cost of your laundry and washing bills

Your Money
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Your Money

Lab tests using a washing machine, tumble dryer and detergents reveal how you can save as much as £162 this year on your laundry bills.

Despite the cost-of-living crisis, we can’t stop doing our laundry, but there are ways to make that weekly (or more frequent) wash less costly. The consumer advice charity Which? found that small changes could mean more money in your pocket even as inflation takes a bite out of your household budget.

“A lot of people are already feeling the pressures of the cost-of-living crisis,” said Natalie Hitchins, Which? home products and services editor. 

“By making changes including washing your clothes at a cooler temperature, doing a larger load rather than smaller daily washes and switching to a cheaper detergent – you could potentially save more than £150 this winter”, she said.

1. Load up big time

It’s more energy-efficient if you fill up the drum in your washing machine instead of doing smaller loads more often. Which? found that those quick programs – or speed dials – slightly reduce how much energy you use but not as effectively as if you ran larger loads less often.

Its tests found that one larger cycle four times a week consumed 17% less energy than three fast daily washes, adding up to annual savings of around £13 for the average washing machine. And that doesn’t count the savings you get from using less detergent.

2. Go for the cold

Just like with the home thermostat, lowering the water temperature each cycle saves money. Which? discovered that the average washing machine costs about £77 a year to run four washes a week. But switching from 40°C to 30°C saved, on average, 38% of the energy typically used, for a savings of £29 without compromising cleanliness. Going even lower to 20°C saved 62 per cent energy, or £48 per year.

3. Using a dryer? Keep the filters clean.

In its tests on 20 loads in heat pump dryers, Which? said it found that some machines used 50% more energy on the 20th load than on the first, mainly because the lower filters could clog with dust and lint. Unblocking and cleaning the filters could lead to a savings of £34 a year for people drying three loads a week.

4. Switch to a good but cheaper detergent

Those big brands aren’t necessarily better at getting the grime out of clothes. Which? said it tested 36 detergents and while the most expensive cost 40p per cycle, one of the top-rated supermarket brands cleaned just as well for as little as 8p per wash and that swapping could save you nearly £67 per year on washing four times a week.

 5. Choose your machine wisely

In the market for a new washer or dryer? Which? ranks both – as well as detergents – and singles out which of its Best Buys category it also labels as Great Value options.