Mistake 1 – Washing half-full
The washing machine should only be switched on when the drum is actually full. Using a half-full washing machine wastes energy, water and washing detergent. Instead, collect coloured and white laundry separately and only wash once the machine is full.
Mistake 2 – Washing too hot
For normal laundry such as jeans, t-shirts and sweaters, 30 to 40 degrees Celsius is quite sufficient. Washing at 60 degrees is only recommended for underwear, towels and heavily soiled (baby) laundry.
Mistake 3 – Using too much washing detergent
The more washing detergent, the cleaner the laundry? Not at all: the laundry won’t be cleaner and too much washing detergent harms the environment. After all, even the best ecological washing detergent still needs to be manufactured, packaged and removed from the waste water. To reduce costs and environmental impact, it is therefore important to be as sparing as possible with washing detergents and cleaning agents. What’s more, newer washing machines can tell when too much washing detergent has been used and compensate for that with additional wash spins and more water. This unnecessarily prolongs the washing cycle and wastes more energy. It is a good idea to follow the dosage instructions on the washing detergents.
But even if the water is considered “hard”, you don’t always have to choose the dosage stated on the packaging. For normal and lightly soiled laundry, you can use a dose of washing detergent according to “medium” water hardness. This is easier on the environment and on your wallet. The dosage for “hard” water only makes sense for heavily soiled laundry.
Mistake 4 – Pre-washing
The pre-washing program is almost never necessary. Any modern washing machine will get normally soiled everyday laundry clean even without pre-washing- Pre-washing may only be worthwhile for very heavily soiled laundry.
Mistake 5 – Washing too often
Of course, we don’t at all recommend wearing dirty clothes. But sometimes, people can be excessive when it comes to washing laundry. A pair of jeans can usually be worn for a few days. And not every t-shirt needs to be washed after wearing once. It can often be enough to let clothes air for a while.
Mistake 6 – Using too many different detergents
One detergent for colours, one for whites, another for black clothes, woollens, delicates, sports garments, down laundry, as well as stain remover, descaling agent, softener, liquid detergent, washing powder and so on. As you can imagine: a lot of these products are redundant.
Focus on the essentials and you will save packaging waste, chemicals, money and your nerves. By the way, the most environmentally friendly option is ecological washing powder that comes in a box: little packaging with little to no plastic.
Mistake 7 – Selecting the wrong program
Modern washing machines offer a range of washing programs, temperatures and spin speeds. Choosing the wrong program or temperature for your laundry can damage or even ruin your clothes. So it’s important to note the operating instructions for the washing machine and the washing labels on the textiles.
Mistake 8 – Impatience
Washing machines sometimes offer quick washing programs. At the press of a button, the washing cycle can be cut by half or even more. However, this does not save any energy – in fact, the opposite is true. When laundry is in the washing machine for a few hours, it can soak for longer and the washing detergent has more time to work. With quick washing programs, the machine needs to heat up the water much more to achieve the same results.
Refraining from using quick washing programs can save up to 50 percent of the energy for a wash cycle. Modern washing machines sometimes also allow you to set the start time, so you can wash at night when a cheaper energy tariff applies.
Mistake 9 – The wrong washing machine
Modern washing machines offer many advantages over older models. A new appliance consumes almost 30,000 litres of water, 200 kilowatt hours of energy and nine kilograms of detergent less than a machine 25 years ago. Despite that, modern appliances deliver even greater results. Today, a 40-degree washing program cleans just as well as the 60-degree program in the past.