There are wash days… and there are wash days.
It’s not so much about hand washing a few of your favorite delicates – it’s the big old loads of heavy laundry that negatively impact the environment with the waste of water and energy, and increase your carbon footprint.
Here, Will Ashton Smith, Director of Sustainability at Domestic & General, shares his top tips for making your laundry less harmful to the environment…
1. Wash clothes at 30°C
Washing your clothes at 30°C, instead of 40°C, could reduce the amount of water and heat needed, suggests Ashton Smith.
“If your laundry has larger stains, avoid opting for a wash at 40°C and instead try to treat these stains before washing to save energy.”
2. Load your washing machine to about 80% capacity for best efficiency
Making sure to maximize the amount of laundry washed in a single cycle will help save energy as it simply limits the number of washes needed, he explains.
“However, there is a limit to the amount of laundry you can load into a washing machine. Overloading the drum puts a strain on the machine, making it difficult to clean clothes effectively, which may require a second washing.
Ashton Smith always recommends loading your washing machine to around 80% capacity for best results while making efforts to be more durable.
“An easy way to check this is to place your hand in the top of the washing machine drum – if you can’t do this easily, remove a few items.”
3. Avoid using the prewash cycle on your washing machine
“Generally, the pre-wash setting on your machine is there to tackle large, stubborn stains, such as grass or food. Many people still use this setting out of habit, but this step can lead to more consumption. water and energy”, warns Ashton Smith.
“Not only that, but modern appliances – and laundry detergents – have become so technologically advanced that this step is often no longer necessary.
“Instead, I would recommend skipping this step and treating the stains before washing with a stain remover, or even an eco-friendly dishwashing liquid.”
4. Choose eco-friendly detergents
It’s not widely known, but Ashton Smith says many popular, cheap detergent choices can be filled with chemicals that could collectively harm the environment: “The big supermarkets these days have plenty of eco-friendly brands of the environment in terms of laundry detergent, such as method or Ecover.
“Making this simple change, where you can, could help reduce the negative impact on the environment caused by your weekly laundry routine.”
Eco-friendly options will often also come in recyclable packaging, which is another quick and easy way to make your laundry habits more sustainable,” suggests Ashton Smith.
5. Use an energy-efficient washing machine
If you’re planning to replace your washing machine in the near future, he says it’s important to choose one with good energy efficiency.
“The devices will be accompanied by an EPC (energy performance certificate). Anything above a C is a good choice when considering environmental impact. Not only that, but it can help you pay less on bills while running the machine. »
6. Clean your washing machine regularly
One tip, which is overlooked by many, is to clean the washing machine regularly, notes Ashton Smith. “While the machine itself is used to clean items such as clothes and bedding, it also benefits from a deep cleaning once a month or two.
“Skipping this step could result in clothes that are not properly cleaned and need another hot wash. If this happens frequently, that’s a lot of unnecessary extra cycles. »
7. Select the correct spin speed for drying
When it comes to the correct spin speed to dry your clothes, Ashton Smith says there are some popular misconceptions. Many believe that faster is better, while others argue that a slower speed is more environmentally friendly.
However, understanding the most durable speed depends on the drying method chosen.
“If you plan to dry your laundry using a dryer, it’s a good idea to select a faster spin cycle on the washing machine.”
He keeps on. “A faster spin often uses more energy, but for a shorter period of time, and leaves your laundry damp rather than soaked. This then means you can choose a shorter time setting on the dryer.
On those hotter, drier summer days when we can take advantage of the ability to hang laundry to air dry, he recommends opting for a slower, more eco-friendly spin cycle. environment.