Summer: the season of sunshine, warmer temperatures and a bulging laundry bin, with 30% of Brits claiming summer is the season they do the most laundry loads.

According to new research by Smart Energy GB, the warmer weather sees households undertaking more washing, due to more time outside resulting in dirtier clothes (43%), washing holiday wardrobes (41%) and removing seasonal summer stains (30%).

And it turns out Brits are struggling to remove all kinds of summer soils, with grass (25%) revealed as the trickiest to remove, closely followed by sweat stains (23%) and sun cream (21%).

In fact, the average household will complete 5.5 washing cycles* and 3 tumble dryer cycles** per week, amounting to a combined 440 uses over the course of 12 months – costing UK households approximately £220 a year. 

And it seems Brits are resorting to methods to remove stains which could end up costing them more, including putting on longer cycles (27%), washing garments twice (14%), and even getting rid of items – by throwing, donating or selling them – if their normal wash setting doesn’t do the trick (8%).

For many Brits, energy usage when doing laundry remains front of mind. The past 12 months of rising energy prices have led almost three-quarters of households (74%) to re-evaluate their energy use around the house, with 27% admitting to doing their washing less frequently since energy bills have increased. While 60% say that a smart meter has helped them monitor their energy use at home.

To help Brits lighten their laundry load and better manage their energy usage when washing and drying their clothes, Smart Energy GB is working with Energy Saving Trust to offer simple and effective laundry energy saving hacks that households can implement this summer:

  • Rise, shine and wash – lots of washing to do? Whether you’ve just returned from holiday or are prepping uniforms for the return to school, make sure to put on short cycles as soon as you wake up in the morning. This allows you to maximise the amount of time during the day you can hang your washing to dry outside or on a rack indoors by an open window, avoiding the use of a tumble dryer which can cost £1.06 per cycle.

  • Get a smart meter – available at no extra cost from your energy supplier, a smart meter allows you to monitor your household energy use in near real-time via the in-home display and is a great way to encourage more energy efficient habits. Having one means you get accurate energy bills and what’s more, four in 10 Brits (41%) say a smart meter helps them monitor their laundry energy consumption in particular.

  • Say no to standby – while a washing machine isn’t the most glamorous of gadgets, it’s still a household appliance and will continue to use energy in standby mode. Make sure to always switch it off at the mains when you’re not doing laundry – a simple and effective way to reduce household bills in the long run.

  • Keep it sparkling clean – a little maintenance goes a long way to ensure you can keep washing your clothes efficiently. After all, a poor clean increases the chance of a second wash, meaning more energy used. With rising laundry demands over summer, regularly cleaning your machine drum, seal and filter can make sure every wash you do counts.

  • Pair your clothes (and socks!) together – unpredictable British weather means it’s not always possible to dry washing outside, or perhaps you need the item clean and dry urgently. In these instances, pair similar weighted items together to speed up drying time in the tumble dryer. T-shirts and delicates dry quickly ​​so pop them on a shorter, cooler cycle and save the longer ones for towels and jeans. Even better if your tumble dryer has a sensor-based drying cycle!

  • Be smarter with your settings – got a pesky stain you need to get rid of? Don’t panic and put it on the longest, hottest wash as the higher the heat the more energy-hungry the cycle. Remember to pre-soak, but also choose your cycles wisely. Modern detergents work well on lower heat settings and shorter settings are always more energy efficient – and just as effective – as longer cycles.

  • Embrace the spin – Do you find that drying your laundry is just taking too long? Check your washing machine’s spin speed and length. Spinning helps to remove water from the fabric’s fibres without heat, so increasing the spin cycle will dry your laundry faster, and it’s cheaper than using your tumble dryer, saving you between £48 and £170 depending on energy efficiency.

  • Don’t leave your washing hanging – with the days starting to get shorter as we approach September, it can be easy to leave your washing hanging out long after it’s turned dark. Remember to bring it in as soon as the sun goes down to avoid it going damp and having to use unnecessary energy putting it in the tumble dryer.

  • Prioritise energy efficiency – while there’s no need to buy a new washing machine and simple hacks are a great way to reduce energy usage when doing laundry, if you are in the market for a new one, take time to consider more than price and aesthetics. Look at the energy efficiency rating and purchase the highest rated one you can afford – choosing an A rated washing machine over a D rated one could save you £115 over the lifetime of the machine. If you need a new tumble dryer, choosing an A+++ rated tumble dryer over a B rated one could save you £870 over the lifetime of the dryer.

  • Be savvy if you have solar panels – if your house has solar panels, make the most of your free solar electricity by doing your washing during the day – with the panel’s peak power production typically in the early afternoon. You can use your smart meter to monitor your usage, just to make sure you’re not using more than you’re generating. 

Victoria Bacon, Director at Smart Energy GB, said: “Summer is a busy time for laundry – particularly in August when the final weeks of the school holidays are upon us and families are preparing for the return to school. A rise in laundry demands means increased energy usage, and many households can feel overwhelmed by the impact their loads will have on their bills.

“This is why we’re working with Energy Saving Trust to offer top tips to wash and dry your clothes more efficiently. They’re all small, actionable steps that – when paired with a smart meter to monitor energy usage – can help families feel more in control of their usage and bills.”


For more information on the Super Smart Home Hacks campaign head to smartenergygb.org and to find out more about getting a smart meter installed, search ‘get a smart meter’.