Exact temperature to run your washing machine to save money and clean your clothes
BILLS are rising prompting many people to cut down on their energy use to save cash.
Turning the heating down, plugging draughts and even bubble wrapping curtains are some of the tricks billpayers are using to slash costs.
Such energy and money saving measures needn't be a slog either.
One simple step for cutting your energy bill is reducing the temperature at which you wash your clothes.
We've already explained the perfect temp for saving cash on bills and staying warm when it comes to setting your thermostat.
But tweaking your laundry settings could also help save you money too – and you'll still get your clothes fresh and clean.
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According to the Energy Saving Trust switching from a 40 degree wash to a 30 degree one could shave on average £12 a year off your energy bill.
But if you use your washing machine a lot you could stand to save even more.
If you usually wash your clothes on an even higher temperature than this, then you'll save even more by turning the dial down.
Uswitch energy expert Will Owen previously told The Sun: "Use a cold water or 30°C cycle where possible.
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"It's only for particularly dirty clothes, bad stains or underwear that you are likely to need warmer temperatures."
In fact you could even go lower than 30 degrees to save more cash and you'll still get a good wash.
According to Which? all washing machines in the UK have been required to have a 20°C option visible on the control panel since 2013, to help save energy.
In tests by the consumer expert it found that cutting the temperature from 40 to 20 degrees reduced running costs "dramatically" and by an average of 62%.
It said: "While cleaning power was slightly worse at 20 compared with 40 degrees, we found that switching to a liquid detergent helped, and should still be enough for everyday cleaning".
Washing at this lower temperature can also help better preserve clothes colours.
But it does note that if you do this lower temp wash, it's more important to do a monthly maintenance wash to keep the machine clean.
You'll still reduce your energy use by 38% moving from 40 to 30 degrees though.
And there are some items that you're better off washing at higher temperatures than 20, including cotton bed sheets, baby clothes, towels and sports clothes.
And for items that are heavily soiled a 30 or 40 degree wash is likely to be more effective.
One top tip for getting stains out at a lower temp though is to pre-treat it before washing with a drop of detergent which you can rub in gently.
The exact amount you can save by reducing the temperature of your laundry wash will depend on your machine, how often you use it and how much you turn it down.
More ways to save on your laundry and reduce bills
Most models of washing machine now come with an eco-mode that can be used to save the environment – and some cash.
This setting will use less water and means you'll use less energy to heat it when washing your clothes.
These are usually set to 30 degrees too, but may also run for a shorter time.
According to British Gas engineer Joanna Flowers, you could save £10 a year from dialling your machine to this setting.
If you're shopping for a new machine, consumer group Which? says choosing a more efficient washing machine could save up to £55 a year.
It might cost more upfront but you will spend less over the lifetime of the product.
An extra washing machine spin before you tumble dry your load could shorten the time you have the dryer on.
Tumble dryers use far more energy, so reducing this cost can add up, and of course in better weather avoid it altogeher if you can hang it out to air dry.
Reducing the number of loads you do can cut your usage and bill, and making sure your doing a full load each time is one way to do this.
The Good Housekeeping Institute reckons you should wash jeans, jumpers and towels after every three uses. But if they look and smell OK, hold off for the sake of the planet — and your wallet.
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Meanwhile items like jeans can be washed less often than you think, as long as they are aired and not seriously stained, and even then you can try spot washing them by hand.
An Economy 7 tariff could make it cheaper to run your machine at night than in the day.
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