Internal view of water in washing machine

How Much Water Does a Washing Machine Use? (UK)

These days many of us are concerned about how much water we use in our homes and with good reason. Water is the most precious resource on our planet, and it’s essential for human survival, but the fresh, clean water that we need isn’t an endless resource. We’re now using fresh water supplies faster than ever before, so it makes sense for us all to do our best to try and reduce how much water we consume in our homes.

On a personal level, saving water also saves us money. Over one third of UK homes now have a water meter installed, where customers are billed for the amount of water used. Even if you don’t have a water meter, you will still pay local utility charges, and the greater the demand for water, the greater the price.

How Much Water Does a Washing Machine Use?

In the past, washing machines could use a staggering 150 litres of water per cycle – that’s as much water as most people now use in an entire day. The good news is that this has reduced significantly due to advances in technology in the last 20 years.

Most modern washing machines still use around 50 litres of water per wash during an average cycle, but some models are certainly better than others at saving water.

The amount of water used by modern washing machines can vary considerably between different appliances, from 33 litres for the best machines and 72 litres for the worst (based on washing a similar-sized load on a 40 C cotton wash). In an average household, switching to a more efficient machine could save thousands of litres of water per year. Not to mention the money-saving opportunities too!

It’s also worth noting that front-loading washing machines almost always use less water than top-loading appliances.

How to save water when using washing machine

How Else Can We Save Water When Doing Our Laundry?

In addition to switching to a more efficient machine that uses less water per cycle, you can also reduce water consumption by running fuller loads each time you do your laundry.

If you do need to only wash a few items, choose a half-load setting on your machine if one is available. This will ensure that only a necessary amount of water is used. If the items can wait for a full-sized load, then this is preferable. Using your machine less often also helps to lower water consumption, saving you money and helping the planet.

Synthetic wash cycles tend to use more water to avoid creasing, so it may be worth using cotton wash cycles as much as possible and then grabbing the iron to do some manual crease control afterwards.

Finally, avoid using the extra rinse setting unless absolutely necessary.