How much water does a washing machine use?

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We all owe Hamilton Smith for saving us a great deal of manual labour by having invented the first electricity-powered washing machine. Still, every modern convenience has its price and washing machines are no exception. If your family fills up the laundry bucket quickly and you need to do the laundry a few times a week or even daily, then the water consumption of your washing machine is something you may want to be aware of.

Thankfully, present-day washing machines use roughly half the amount that the early models consumed: the mind-blowing 150l per load! Both the environment protection policies and technological progress set the average standard of 6 - 10 litres per kilogramme of the recommended load. For example, an efficient washing machine with the capacity of 6 kg will use 6 x 6l = 36l of water per cycle.

Obviously, water consumption depends on whether you choose the ‘extra rinse’ option and on a particular program you choose. Its a good idea to familiarise yourself with your washing machine’s manual. There, you should find the information about water usage for each of the programs. Divide the number of litres by the capacity of your model: if the result comes close to 6, then the given program is comparatively water-efficient.

When buying a washing machine, remember that an A+++ class model may not necessarily use up small amounts of water. The EU efficiency stickers inform you about energy efficiency; water consumption is a separate issue.

Did you know?

1. What you may not be aware of is that ‘synthetic’ wash may use up to 50% more water than cotton wash. That is because synthetic fabrics are more prone to damage in comparison to cotton and the extra amount of water protects against excessive friction.

2. Washing machines are the most water-efficient when you wait for the full load of clothes. Some washing machines have a ‘half load’ feature, however, two half loads may use more water and energy than one full load.

3. Doing the laundry accounts for about 13% of the total water consumption in UK households. To compare, 30% of water is used for flushing the toilet, 33% for personal hygiene and 8% for washing-up.

How much water does your washing machine use per cycle?