Go Green, Save Money
Being more efficient and saving cash isn't always about just buying "green" stuff
We often get asked about the best ways to go green with laundry especially and appliances in general and much of the advice we give people is to help them maximise the life of their appliances and also get the best performance out them possible. Browsing through the site and the articles here you will find ways to save money and help you choose and use your appliances but one thing that we haven't covered too much is how you can help the environment quickly, practically and at the same time save yourself a lot of hassle and quite possible money.
This is meant as a quick guide of the do's and don'ts and how to get the best for your wallet and the environment and most don't need you to change your machine or detergents, they just require a little effort on your part and a touch of common sense.
Buy decent appliances and not cheap throw away rubbish!
Every year thousands of tonnes of appliances are sent to scrap just because they were too expensive to repair, people can't be bothered to get them repaired or they don't perform well enough. It really is very sad that we have this throw away mentality which, long term, actually costs us more in our pocket and does massive damage to the environment. You not only cause the pollution in recycling the old one but also the creation of the new one as well as all the packing and transportation carbon cost, it's not clever and it's not good.
Buying good appliances avoids this as they will have a far longer lifespan and therefore don't get thrown away after a few years as good ones can last decades.
Feed Your Appliances
Next we have what you feed your appliances, water and electricity primarily.
You can't really choose where your water comes from or alter the cost of it but, with electricity, you most certainly can. You can choose on price primarily and save some money or as we recently found out, you can often save money and use greener energy through one of the green energy programs available at Money Supermarket or such. So, there's no excuse, you can be green from the get-go and at the same time save money as well, can't be bad can it?
Doing It Right
This is the first and most important thing to remember when you go to do a wash and, we apologise if this seems a little brutal but it is true, is to do the washing properly and don't cut corners! Let's look at the main points here to illustrate things that are bad.
- Incorrectly washed items need rewashed = waste & cost
- Often incorrectly washed items are thrown away = waste & cost
- Incorrect cycle use uses more energy = waste and cost
- Incorrect cycles damage clothing = waste & cost
- Incorrect detergent use = waste & cost
- Too little detergent won't clean correctly and means re-washing = waste & cost
- Too much detergent is just sheer waste = waste and cost
- Not doing it right can damage your machine or lessen the life of it = waste & cost
- Overloading causes poor results and leads to rewashing or damage = waste & cost
The short of it is that, if you use a washing machine, washer dryer or dishwasher correctly then you can save a lot of money, we reckon this can easily save you over £100 a year in detergent alone leaving aside electricity and clothes you may throw away!
So please, please read the instructions and read through the various articles on the site to ensure you get the best results for your wash and your wallet.
Washing Machine Detergents
You need two, three if you do handwash or woollen items. This doesn't cost any more at all than having just one as you use the appropriate one for the appropriate fabrics.
Normal Bio or Non-Bio Powder or Tablets
Use this for whites and lights, do not use on coloured items or delicate items. Do not use a liquid replacement as no liquid contains bleach so they wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do anywhere near as good a job or offer any sterilisation at all.
If you want the most effective and environmentally friendly detergent then we recommend Simply Laundry products which is the only detergent currently carrying the EU Eco Flower Mark. But it's hard to find.
We strongly advise not using other "alternative" detergents as they frankly, don't work. See this article for more.
Colour detergent contains no bleach, just like all liquids do not and so won't fade coloured clothes. This is good as they will last and look better for longer so you don't throw them away before their time.
If possible use a liquid colour as this will allow you to “pre-treat any bad stains and get rid of the need for all those extras (that you don't really need) like Vanish and the horde of other stain removers that the supermarket tries to sell you.
Delicates & Woolens
Let us put it simply, if you use the wrong detergent on these items you WILL destroy them, quickly!
Delicate and woollen items require special detergents like Woolite which are very gentle and are specially made to clean without damaging these fabrics.
Don't Just Chuck It Out Because The Lights Blink
Every year many appliances are tossed out simply because they throw up an error fault. People think, “Oh, that'll be the controller and it'll cost a fortune" and scrap the appliance. We've had them back with a coin in the pump under two years old, with no other fault. So for something like a £30-50 engineer's visit or even some free advice in the forums that machine would still be in use.
The moral is, before you decide to throw it away find out what the actual problem is, don't just take a guess at it as very often it's not what you think and, in any event, at least get some advice from someone that knows.
But A New Appliance Is More Efficient... Right?
Possibly, but more often than not it won't be to the degree the PR companies spin it to be.
What they appear to do is this...
They compare the new machine against one from over a decade ago, often a C rated one or under and then tell you that it is XX% more efficient. But then, when you want a great headline figure this is the way to go even if it isn't entirely accurate it is true, or at least, it meets the advertising standards even if it is misleading.
Whatever you do, don't think that the figures are like for like, they're not.
Every time we've requested information to validate the claims being made none has been forthcoming. Not once. Not one single scrap of evidence to support the "save 30% of energy costs" type claim. But we always ended up speaking to the manufacturer's PR company, not technical people.
But even if these figures were accurate, to offset the carbon used in production (not including transportation, energy generation and packing) it would take over two years use of an "A" efficiency rated appliance to offset the carbon used producing it. And, that' in an ultra-modern plant in Europe running clean with a mandate to reduce carbon emissions, most plants are nowhere near that efficient in this area and it would take much longer to offset the carbon used in production.
With many poor quality machines it is highly likely that the supposed carbon saved would never be offset as the machines don't last long enough.
If you replaced a machine produced after 2000 it is highly unlikely you would ever offset the carbon.
Now add in the bits left out and you can see why we advice people to never believe the PR spin on sheer face value.
But then, when you see what you can actually save in energy use in a washing machine, fridge freezer, dishwasher etc., you may well just not bother as it's really not that much at all.
If you're unsure on any of this please feel free to browse the site, read the articles and ask in the forums if you like, we will be happy to answer any questions that we can to help you get the best from your appliances.
We hope this article helps you and that you perhaps understand the main points a little better but, in the end, you have to think about this for yourself as we can't make your mind up for you. All we'd ask is that you perhaps think a bit more about environmental issues and also to look behind the marketing spin on many of them as, a lot of it just isn't true.