As the years go by, more and more people are becoming environmentally conscious about their daily routines.
One way that many people are trying to cut down on their energy and water usage is by changing their laundry habits.
Washing machines have come a long way since they were first invented, with many different settings and cycles now available to suit your needs.
Most now have an eco mode that can be used to reduce your carbon footprint. But what is an eco cycle on a washing machine? Why is it better for the environment? And when should an eco wash be used? Read on to find out!
What Is an Eco Wash?
Believe it or not, an eco wash is exactly what it sounds like: a wash cycle that is more ecologically friendly than the other wash cycles on your machine.
Although there is no standard eco wash setting, every washing machine will alter the temperature, water usage, and length of the wash to make the cycle more energy efficient.
First off, we have water temperature. Roughly 90% of the energy used when doing your laundry is used to heat the water.
To drastically reduce the amount used, eco cycles use a lower water temperature than your standard wash cycle.
They also reduce the amount of water used during each wash as this allows the water to be heated quicker.
One thing that confuses many people about eco washes is that the cycle is much longer than a typical wash.
On the surface, this seems counterintuitive, but a longer cycle actually gives your machine enough time to effectively clean your clothes while using less water. The energy saved from heating less water makes up for the fact that the cycle is longer.
What Are the Benefits of Eco Wash Cycles?
The most obvious benefit of using an eco wash for your laundry is that it is better for the environment. However, reduced temperature and water usage don’t just lower your carbon footprint! Using your eco cycle also offers the following benefits:
- Lower energy bills: As previously stated, most of the energy used when running a washing machine is used to heat the water. Eco washes heat the water to a lower temperature, meaning less energy is required, and your electricity bill will be reduced.
- Reduced water bills: Eco washes also use less water than standard cycles. Not only does this mean less energy is required to heat the water, but reducing the amount of water also lowers your water bill. This means you’ll be saving even more money!
- Stain removal technology: Lots of washing machines now use technology that means that an eco cycle can still remove stains from your clothes. For example, Hotpoint’s ActiveCare technology claims to remove 100 different stains from your clothes at just 20 degrees! This means you can maintain the effectiveness of your machine when choosing an eco wash.
Should I Use Eco Mode on My Washing Machine?
According to The Guardian, the eco mode on white goods (including washing machines) is “almost always worth using”, and we agree!
The eco cycle on your washing machine will do a perfectly good job of cleaning your laundry in the majority of cases. However, there are a few instances in which the eco mode is better avoided:
- Stained or soiled clothes: If your clothing is particularly dirty or stained, we advise against using an eco wash. In these instances, a hotter wash is likely needed for your clothing to become fully clean. Running an eco cycle is a waste of time and energy if you then need to wash the clothes a second time at a higher temperature.
- Cold washes: On the other side of the coin, we have cold washes. In general, a cold wash will save more energy than an eco wash as the temperature of water used is lower, and the cycle length is shorter than that of an eco wash. However, this difference will depend on your machine. When a cold wash is at a lower temperature, it is more eco-friendly.
Hannah is a freelance content writer with a passion for cleaning. She worked her way around Australia by cleaning hostels in exchange for free accommodation and used her cleaning skills to bag her a job as a chalet host for a luxury ski company in France.