Washing machine

What’s the Cheapest Time to Use a Washing Machine in the UK?

Most of us try to save money when and where we can, but when it comes to using a washing machine we may not be getting our money’s worth. This is where we can help. We’ve done quite a bit of research to help you understand when the cheapest time to run your washing machine is.

Should you wash your clothes at night to save money?

Many people assume that washing your clothes at night is the best way to save money. However, this is only the case if you are on a tariff known as ‘Economy 7’. This tariff gives you cheaper energy at night. However, it’s quite an old tariff, and most of the UK isn’t on it.

If you are lucky enough to be on Economy 7, it’s likely that you could halve the cost of running your washing machine at night. However, if you’re not on Economy 7, it’s unlikely that you’ll save any money running your machine at night.

What if you’re not on Economy 7?

A recent Treasury-commissioned report stated that if families changed their habits and started using appliances at night fewer power stations would be needed, which could result in a £75 a year saving on each household’s energy costs.

If you’re not on Economy 7 you won’t save any money immediately, but it will help reduce the strain on the UK’s power infrastructure and contribute a tiny bit to making electricity cheaper for everyone.

The demand for power in the UK typically increases when people get home from work, but this demand for power does not seem to have had an effect on the cost of electricity for the better or for the worse at the moment. In the future energy companies might change tariffs to encourage people to use less electricity at peak times.

What about smart meters?

You have probably heard murmurings here and there about smart meters and how they have the potential to save us all a bit of energy. The UK government has previously stated that households with smart meters could save money by using less energy at peak times (when people get home from work, for example) and more at off-peak times.


GEUK has recently launched a tariff known as TIDE that offers homes in England (and with a view to offering the service to other parts of the UK) the chance to make use of varying energy prices that depend on the time of day. You can see estimates of TIDE’s charges on MoneySavingExpert.com here.

Using a smart meter and switching to GEUK can save you a lot of money. However, you will have to remember when to put your washing machine on to save money.

So, if you are lucky enough to be on Economy 7 (households that have storage heaters are usually on this tariff), or GEUK is your provider, you could find that the night time is the best time to use your washing machine.

If you’re using other tariffs, you may have to wait until your energy provider catches up, or simply use the economy wash/quick wash option on your washing machine to save money. You could also consider replacing your washing machine with a more economical model.