Saving Money In The Laundry
According to SaveWater.com.au, 15-20% of water consumed in the home is used in the laundry. There are many ways to reduce your water and energy bills and the amount that you spend on detergent.
CHOICE Tips For Your Laundry
The style and size of the washing machine and dryer you buy can have a major impact on your household energy bills.
- CHOICE’s Energy Efficient Home Guide explains why star ratings only tell you part of the story. We recommend Green Buys and other environmental winners.
- Our Washing Machine and Clothes Dryer reviews (content exclusive to CHOICE members) provide in-depth analysis on every aspect of our testing.
How can laundry 'grey water' save money?
Losing your garden in a drought can be a costly experience. So why not use the leftover grey water from your washing machine?
- Before you install a grey water system, call your local council or water authority to make sure that there are no restrictions on using grey water in your local area.
- You can divert untreated grey water for use on your garden as long as it's safe for public health and doesn't run off into your local storm water system or into neighbouring properties.
- When it comes to using water from your laundry, you need detergent that's low in sodium and free of added phosphate. That ingredient can harm or kill your plants.
- When it comes to the rinse cycle of your laundry wash, just collect the rinse water in a bucket. It will keep your garden green and save you from buying new plants!
- You can buy grey water diverters from hardware stores or have them installed by plumbers.
- Bunnings video tip: How to use grey water around your home
- CHOICE have a very good guide to grey water at this page.
Do Something! / Bunnings
How can you save money when buying a washing machine or dryer?
When it comes to washing and drying your clothes, the type of machines you use can make a real difference to your energy bills:
- If you're in the market for a new washing machine, and want to reduce your running costs, buy yourself a front loading washing machine.
- You can check out the available washing machines and their energy running costs on this page at the EnergyRating.gov.au web site - you can also check out the water ratings of these machines at the WELS web site.
- You can check out the available clothes dryers and their energy running costs on this page at the EnergyRating.gov.au web site.
- At the very least, buy a washing machine that has a WELS rating of at least 4 stars. You can check out and compare the WELS rating for washing machines at this web page.
- Compared to top loaders, front loaders can use significantly less water, energy and detergent. So using a front loader helps to save you money!
- Front loaders are also gentler on clothes, which means less wear and tear on your clothing purchases.
- Many water utilities and local governments offer rebates to people who purchase water efficient washing machines. Check out this web page to see if you're eligible in your local area.
What laundry detergent will help the environment at no extra cost?
We all like to do our bit for the environment, so how can you do the right thing when buying detergent?
- Back in the mid-nineties, America phased out the use of phosphates in laundry powders and liquids. The reason for their ban was the impact that phosphate-bed detergents had on America's waterways.
- New research by Unilever also shows that phosphates have a 30% bigger greenhouse gas impact than alternative phosphate-free ingredients. If every household in Australia switched to the new phosphate-free OMO, Unilever estimate that it would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85,000 tonnes. That's equivalent to taking 33,000 cars off the road.
- In April 2011, ALDI joined with Do Something to announce that none of their laundry detergents would have phosphates in them by the end of 2013. Further lobbying by Do Something led to Coles and Woolworths announcing their own phosphate phase-outs in their home brands.
- Other leading brands have now also announced a move to going phosphate-free or have already gone that way: OMO, Surf, Drive and DUO have all gone phosphate-free and Radiant laundry liquid has also gone phosphate-free (but Radiant powder still uses phosphates but will become phosphate-free before the end of 2012).
- During Australia's phosphate phase-out, there are still phosphate-based detergents on shelf. If you want to switch to a phosphate-free detergent, look out for the NP symbol on the front of the pack.
- There are now many products to choose from - you'll find that they don't cost any more money and the wash is just as good as it used to be!
Do Something! / Unilever
What's the best way to save money on detergent?
Australians carry out 1.9 billion washes every year. That's a lot of washing! Here are some tips on how to reduce the costs associated with your detergent:
- The best way to save money is to firstly look at the 'cost per wash' and buy the best value product that washes your clothes to a quality you're happy with.
- Avoid overdosing with your detergent. This is a waste of money and can leave residue on your clothes. Laundry detergents are far more concentrated than they used to be so a little bit of detergent can now go a lot further.
- Whatever you do, avoid the temptation to add 'just a little bit more'!
- For more tips on how to wash clothes better, go to WashWise.org.au
What's the cheapest way to iron your clothes?
When you switch on an iron it needs lots of electricity to generate the heat that it needs to iron your clothes. Here are some tips to reduce the costs associated with ironing:
- If possible, hang up your clothes after you wash them. This can help to save money as it reduces the amount of ironing that you have to do.
- You might also want to buy 'iron-free' clothes that don't need ironing before you wear them.
What's the cheapest way to use your clothes dryer?
Many people are unaware of the amount of money that they can save when drying their clothes. Here are the basic tips that you need to follow:
- The best money saving approach is to avoid using your clothes dryer and dry your clothes outside on the clothes line.
- If you only use the sun to dry your clothes, this can save you up to $150 a year. Drying your clothes outside is not just free of charge - it's also far gentler on your clothes. That will save you money because your clothes will last longer.
- If it's a rainy day and you do have to use the clothes dryer, firstly try and give your clothes an extra spin in the washing machine to remove as much water as possible.
- Drying your clothes at off-peak times such as 6am will save you money - this is cheaper than drying clothes in peak-times such as 6pm.
- You should also keep the dryer's lint filter clear to ensure that it works with maximum efficiency.
What's the cheapest way to use your existing washing machine?
Many of us cannot afford to buy a brand new washing machine. Here are some tips to reduce the running costs of your current machine:
- Firstly wash full loads. This reduces your electricity bill as it minimises the amount of times that you need to use your washing machine. This saves water and energy and ensures that you're getting the most out of your machine.
- Wash your clothes in cold water. This saves you having to heat the water with expensive electricity or gas. Washing in cold water saves you money as a cold water cycle uses up to 90% less energy then a warmer one. You can make the choice simpler by leaving the machine's hot water hose unattached.
- If you can't wash a full load, you can save money by reducing the water level to match the amount of clothes being washed (some machines do this automatically - check your machine's manual if you're not sure).
- Washing your clothes at off-peak times such as 6am is also cheaper than washing clothes in peak-time at 6pm.