The Queen of Easy Green™: Save energy and money on your laundry
With rising energy bills continuing to be a hot topic in the press and the cold days of winter nearly upon us, taking charge of our energy consumption has never been more crucial.
This week, as part of Energy Saving Week 2011, the Energy Saving Trust is urging us all to “take back control of our bills” and sign up to making small changes that will have a positive effect on our household energy bills and the environment too.
If you visit the Energy Saving Trust’s website, you will see there are many simple switches we can all do, ranging from no cost to low cost, including fitting insulation, switching to energy saving lightbulbs and not leaving our appliances on standby.
But what everyday activity can busy mums easily make more energy efficient, and eco-friendly, whilst saving money? The simple answer – laundry.
If you are anything like me, then your washing machine is probably one of the hardest working appliances in your home. With two young boys, my machine is on most days, tackling muddy knee-d jeans and food/pen/soil/goodness-knows-what stained t-shirts.
Heating water up to 60ºC, and having 90 minute-long cycles and several loads in a day, doing my laundry was the most energy inefficient act I was guilty of. But not any more.
Fortunately, there have been many developments in the world of laundry, including more energy efficient machines and detergents. However, it is not all high-tech – some changes are incredibly simple and can still save you pounds. To give you the low-down on how you can make the chore of doing laundry more energy efficient and kinder to your purse, here’s are my top tips:
- If you are thinking about buying a new washing machine, make sure it has the Energy Saving Trust’s Recommended logo. Any appliance bearing this label means it is in the top 20% of the market for energy efficiency.
- Look for the energy rating of the appliance. These go from A to G, with A being the best. The higher the energy rating, the more you will save on your energy bills. All ESTR washing machines are A-rated for energy efficiency, spin efficiency and wash performance.
- Some manufacturers have made their appliances even more energy efficient, which is better for you and the environment. For example, Samsung have recently launched their A+++ rated Ecobubble washing machine. I am very lucky to have had the chance to review one of these, courtesy of Appliances Online, and I can honestly say the Ecobubble is the best washing machine that I have ever used. Not only is it super efficient, it saves energy, is eco-friendly and family-friendly to boot. Energy efficient, using the power of bubbles (clothes absorb detergent 40 times faster in bubbles, removing stains immediately) it can operate at 15°C and still gives the same wash results as a standard 40°C cycle, whilst using 70% less energy!
- Eco-friendly, the WF1124XAC also has a 12kg drum, meaning that my daily piles of washing have been reduced to one pile every other day. A saving on my energy usage and detergents! Plus, it has an Eco Drum Clean setting, which cleanses the machine without the need for harmful detergents or bleach. Family-friendly, as the machine is so quiet, I can use it at night, saving a little more on my energy bills.
- Most detergents are now developed to be equally effective at lower temperatures. Therefore, by washing clothes at 30°C, you will use 40% less energy than at higher temperatures. To be even kinder to the environment, try products like Ecover, which are specially developed using natural raw materials for maximum biodegradability. Even their packaging, made from sugarcane, is renewable, reusable and recyclable!
- Whenever possible line-dry your clothes. It cost-free and your clothes will feel and smell fresher too.
- If you absolutely have no alternative but to tumble dry, again look for an ESTR tumble dryer.
- To maximize efficiency, make sure the filters are fluff free and reduce energy usage by switching the tumble dryer off before the garments are completely dry, take clothes out and fold.
- To save time and energy (that includes yours too!), always fold or hang washed clothes straight away after drying. This reduces the need to use your iron’s energy-guzzling steam setting, plus it will cut the ironing time in half.
- Oh, and if you are like my mother, save yourself even more time by… NOT IRONING UNDERWEAR!
What energy and money saving laundry tips have you got, do you have a secret washing tip you’d like to share. If you have, please let me know. Until next time…
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About the author
Lyndsey Young, The Queen of Easy Green™, is a busy working mum and inventor. Her passion is eco easy design, inventions, innovative products and ideas that can help save time, money and waste in the home. Every fortnight, Lyndsey will be sharing her fun, practical easy-green tips and advice, as well as reviewing her latest green-living product finds. Eco-curious? To find out more, pop over to her website at www.queenofeasygreen.co.uk, follow her on Twitter @mummypreneur, become a fan of Queen of Easy Green on Facebook or visit www.countonit.co.uk.