Washing Machine Water Efficiency

Different models of washing machines can vary greatly in energy use, water use and operating costs.

When buying a new washing machine:eco friendly washing

  • Buy a front loader if you can. Front loaders are usually more water efficient and energy efficient than top loaders and use less detergent.
  • Choose a size that matches your needs. You might not always need to do large washes, so look for a model that can wash smaller and larger loads.
  • Look for a model that has separate hot and cold water connections, or that uses a cold water connection and internal water heater.
  • Look for a model with a cold water cycle and wash with cold water whenever possible.
  • Look for a model that has an economy cycle, auto load sensing and high spin speed to help prevent unnecessary energy and water use.
  • Use the Energy Rating website to compare different washing models.
  • Use the WELS water rating website to compare the water efficiency of washing machines.

Source: Living Greener (Australian Government)

For your existing washing machines…

Wash full loads

40oC cotton washes are designed to take a full drum’s worth of laundry, so always try to wash the maximum amount in each load to get the most value from the water and energy you’re using.

If you find you’re not able to fill the drum of your 8kg washing machine on a regular basis, it might be worth considering a washing machine with a smaller drum size.

Avoid using extra rinse

If you have very sensitive skin you may find it necessary to use the extra-rinse function on your washing machine to remove more detergent from laundered clothes. But try not to use this function unless you really need to, as it’s another water waster.

Source: Which? Reviews

eco-friendly washing powder

Environmentally friendly washing powder

Washing clothes is a mundane human activity that can consume large amounts of good water.  It also has the potential to pollute the environment when harsh detergents are used.  Clean clothes are necessary to maintain human health but we can reduce or recycle the water we use for this process.  A previous post examined a new ‘waterless’ washing machine; these will become available in the near future.  If you are in the market for a new conventional washing machine, try to choose a model that is both energy- and water efficient; an average machine uses about 10 litres of water per kilogram of clothing.  There are still many well-known makes & models that consume up to 30 litres water per kilogram! The water efficiency of your existing washing machine can be improved by following the above tips.  To reduce your environmental footprint, use phosphate-free laundry detergents such as Eco-Soft (similar in price to equivalent conventional washing powders).  Other environmentally friendly cleaning products such as from the Enchantrix product range are recommended. The above products are readily available from most supermarkets around South Africa, even in White River.  Once you have implemented these small changes, you can further reduce your water consumption by re-using grey water from your washing machine (and kitchen, bathroom basins, shower & bath) to irrigate your garden.  Water Rhapsody grey water systems recycle water which would normally be flushed down the drain, putting unnecessary pressure on our sewage plants. See our grey water frequently asked questions for further information.

Over 500 washing machines are compared in a recent independent water efficiency rating; have a look before you buy a new one.

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